People: Secure Trust Bank Commercial Finance; DWF; Aberfield Communications; and more

Secure Trust Bank Commercial Finance (STB CF) has bolstered its regional presence, with the appointment of Will Duxbury as portfolio and structuring director in its Leeds office.

He joins from PwC where he spent almost a decade in the regional deals team advising on large corporate and restructuring assignments across a broad range of sectors including retail, energy and manufacturing.

At STB CF, Duxbury will be responsible for supporting businesses in the local region through the bank’s range of flexible asset-based lending and invoice finance solutions.

He will work with management teams and other stakeholders to help them achieve their strategic objectives.

The expansion of the team follows the appointment of Dominic Castle in 2023, who joined the asset-based lending specialist as regional managing director for Yorkshire and the North-East.

Duxbury said: “I’m looking forward to joining the Commercial Finance team at Secure Trust Bank.

“The North continues to be an exciting place for businesses to grow, and the team is well known in the industry for its supportive, creative and flexible funding solutions, across a range of sectors.

“I look forward to working closely with our existing client base and supporting Dom and the team to drive the business forward.”

Dominic Castle, regional managing director for Yorkshire and North-East at Secure Trust Bank Commercial Finance, said: “Will’s analytical skills and hands-on experience of working with large, corporate entities will be invaluable as the size and complexity of our portfolio grows.

“His appointment will ensure we are able to support more businesses in the region and continue to provide our client base with the highest quality of service.”


DWF, a provider of integrated legal and business services, has made 18 promotions in its Leeds office.

Based at Bridgewater Place in the city centre, the global legal business has promoted insurance lawyer Malcolm Rogers to partner.

Meanwhile, Claire Ramage and Stephen Symington who are also insurance lawyers were promoted alongside real estate lawyer Eleanor Buxton to the position of director.

Additionally, commercial services partners James Moore and Mary Kelly were both promoted to a more senior level in the partnership this year. 

Office managing partner in Leeds, Andrew Batterton, said: “Having recently taken on the role as managing partner of DWF in Leeds, I am pleased to see 18 well-deserved promotions this year.

“This highlights our commitment to excellence in serving clients across various sectors. Well done to all on this recognition of your hard work and achievements.”

The full list of promotions are: James Moore, partner; Mary Kelly, partner; Malcolm Rogers, partner; Claire Ramage, director; Stephen Symington, director; Eleanor Buxton, director; Harina Jagdev, associate; Hardeep Singh Lall, associate; William Stobart, associate; Karen Hulbert, claims manager; Arif McLeish, senior claims adjuster; Daniel Ramage, senior claims handler; Andrew Robinson, senior claims handler; Kelly Eccleston, lead paralegal; Gameli Aguadze, lead paralegal; Emily Lamb, paralegal; Sabah Shah, paralegal; and Yue Qian Siew, paralegal.


Leeds-based PR and brand communications agency, Aberfield Communications, is structuring for further growth with the appointment of Rebecca Lockwood as PR consultant.

She joins the team from ReachPLC’s social-first brand, Curiously Media, where she worked as a content creator, producing a mix of short and long form video for platforms including Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat and TikTok.

She helped oversee the growth of Curiously’s TikTok channel from zero followers to over 270,000 in just over a year.

On Instagram, she was responsible for scripting videos with up to 1.7 million views.

Lockwood also has a range of broader communications experience. She was previously a reporter at LancsLive as well as communications manager at Support the Goals, an initiative to reward businesses for supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

She said: “I’m really excited about joining the team at Aberfield. Their progressive approach and emphasis on positive influence is something I’ve been wanting to part of since moving to Leeds almost a year ago.

“Having worked in social media, I was eager to broaden my skillset. I’m looking forward to embarking on this new role to develop professionally and work across an exciting range of clients and industries.”

Tim Downs, director at Aberfield Communications, added: “It’s great to welcome Rebecca on board as we’re primed for growth following an incredibly strong 2023, which included grabbing six awards at the CIPR Yorkshire and Lincolnshire Pride Awards.

“We’re looking forward to using Rebecca’s significant social media experience to add further value to our existing clients, while providing her with an opportunity to further develop her PR, writing and content creation skills.”

Rebecca will be working on a variety of clients, including The Compleat Food Group, BHP, Lincoln & York and Wellington Place.


SmartSearch, a provider of digital compliance and anti-money laundering (AML) software, has promoted Andrew Booth to the position of vice president of technology – one of 16 promotions across its team.

Booth joined the firm more than five years ago and has served as its head of technology.

In his new role of vice president, he will have greater responsibility over company infrastructure and its wider technology strategy.

His promotion recognises his role in the development and deployment of the company’s next generation digital compliance platform.

The platform is now trusted by more than 6,500 client firms and 60,000 users, enabling them to complete detailed checks in seconds and comply with strict AML regulations.

Booth said: “I am really pleased to be taking this next step in my career with SmartSearch.

“The company has long been synonymous for innovation and cutting-edge compliance technology and I’m incredibly proud to continue playing my part.

“Across the team, we are hugely ambitious and deep in development on future enhancements that will not only deliver greater efficiencies for clients, but further protection from serious financial crime.”

His appointment is one of 16 promotions across the team at Ilkley-based SmartSearch, as it approaches 200 members of staff.

Alongside promotions in its technology division with a new head of service delivery and service desk manager, SmartSearch has recognised colleagues across marketing, sales and market engagement, business support and customer success.

Collette Allen, chief operating officer, said: “Andrew is a clear example of the fantastic talent found within the team and along with our 15 other promotions, I congratulate them on their new roles.

“All have made tremendous contributions to our business and our overarching objective to deliver an exceptional product with a first-class service.

“Our people and our technology are two of the key pillars behind our continued growth and success.

“We are big believers in recognising and developing talent, with many of our senior roles held by those that have risen through the ranks.

“This is great news for our clients with real experience and expertise at every touchpoint across the business.

“We then complement this with talented external hires who challenge us with a fresh perspective and new ideas to improve our service, as we continue to protect people and businesses globally from money laundering and fraud.”