People: Irwin Mitchell; Wilkin Chapman; Holden Smith; and more

Sheffield-headquartered Irwin Mitchell’s financial planning business, IM Asset Management Ltd, has appointed experienced wealth manager Stewart Sanderson as its new chief executive officer following his predecessor, Richard Pott’s retirement.

Sanderson joins from Brooks Macdonald where he was a senior director who led the UK Private Client proposition and advised key clients on their broad wealth management needs.

He has over 25 years’ experience of UK wealth management gained at institutions such as Seven Investment Management LLP, Lloyds Private Banking and Coutts & Co. He has also developed and led other private client businesses across London, Edinburgh, and Jersey.

Sanderson holds several industry qualifications, is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (Chartered FCSI) and is a recommended wealth manager in the Spears 500 guide.

IM Asset Management has around £1.2bn assets under management with clients including those who have received damages following serious injuries as well as high net worth clients from sporting and business backgrounds.

Potts has led IM Asset Management Ltd for 20 years and was instrumental in growing the business from a small start-up business to about 75 colleagues.

Simon Hynes, chair of IMAML, said: “We want to thank Richard for his outstanding service to IM Asset Management.

“His legacy is in building the strong business we have today. Net Promoter Scores are truly impressive and the financial contribution to the Irwin Mitchell Group has become increasingly significant over Richard’s tenure.

“Stewart has tremendous experience in growing private client businesses and his expertise will be invaluable as we seek to grow our share of the broader wealth management market.”

Sanderson said: “It’s an exciting time to join IM Asset Management Ltd. They have a strong flow of assets under management coming into the business.

“The team has expanded in recent years through M&A activity and there is a great opportunity to bring all of our expertise together and grow the business significantly.”


East Yorkshire and Lincolnshire-based private and commercial law firm, Wilkin Chapman, is welcoming a new senior partner following a period of growth.

Chris Grocock, head of recoveries and member of the management team is a former professional footballer.

He has been with Wilkin Chapman for 34 years and is succeeding Andrew Holt who is stepping aside after six years in the role. Holt will continue as a partner in the dispute resolution team.

Before joining Wilkin Chapman in 1989 and later qualifying as a solicitor, Grocock played for Grimsby Town Football Club.

After making his Football League debut while still at school he enjoyed two full seasons with the Mariners before making the transition from football to law.

He has decades of experience in dealing with debt recovery litigation and insolvency work in the utility, commercial and public sectors. He will officially take over as senior partner on 1 April.

Grocock said: “I’m pleased to be taking over the role from my colleague Andrew, who has helped to steer the business through a very successful period notwithstanding an especially turbulent economic climate, navigating the challenges of Covid and the cost-of-living crisis.

“The role of senior partner is to provide leadership and to be an ambassador for our firm. I’ll be working alongside our chief executive officer, Robin Simmonds to help drive the business strategy forward as well as supporting our people and maintaining relationships with our clients and contacts.”

“Wilkin Chapman has enjoyed an incredible, sustained period of growth and I think the business is in a strong position to continue that progression.”

Holt said: “Chris is a natural successor, having proven leadership and management qualities.

“Over the last 30 years we have spent time together, he’s shown to be a people person through and through.

“Chris already has the trust and confidence of over 420 free-thinking people within the business. He will engender that same trust and confidence of our client base, referrers and stakeholders.”

Simmonds added: “I have worked with Chris for the last three years in his capacity as a member of our management team and I have no doubt he will be an exceptional senior partner for Wilkin Chapman.

“I look forward to working with Chris to drive our strategy forwards and achieve the ambitious goals we have set ourselves.”


Law firm, Holden Smith, has appointed Andy Norton as head of private client.

Norton – who will be based at the firm’s Horsforth office – joins from another Leeds-based firm, where he was an equity partner.

James Smith, co-founder and director at Holden Smith, said: “Andy’s experience, knowledge and contacts will be instrumental to the continued growth of our private client services.

“His particular experience lies in delivering tailored legal advice to high-net-worth individuals and families around the areas of tax, wealth, and estate planning.”

Norton said: “I have followed the Holden Smith journey since the firm was established in 2019 and have been impressed with its growth and ambition to do things differently.

“I am pleased to be joining the firm at an exciting time with further growth on the horizon, and look forward to working closely with James Smith, David Bancroft and the senior teams to build on their successes.”

In February, Holden Smith confirmed it had recorded a £7m turnover for its financial year ending October 2023.

The firm was founded by property solicitor James Smith and business development specialist, David Bancroft, after the pair worked together at law firm Ison Harrisson.

It has since grown to a team of more than 100 people across four offices in Huddersfield, Leeds, Horsforth, and Elland.


Halifax-based, Han Law Co has bolstered its team with the appointment of Natalie Saunders, an HR director and employment lawyer with nearly 25 years of experience.

Saunders has worked with a range of businesses from start-ups to global household names, in financial services, professional services, higher education, food and drink, and manufacturing. She also has experience of running her own businesses.

Her work-related passions are strategy, culture, people experience, leadership development and equality, diversity and inclusion.

Hannah Strawbridge, founder and CEO, said: “I’m thrilled to welcome Natalie to Han Law, and I’m very excited about what she can bring to the table.

“Natalie has a huge depth of HR knowledge, particularly in the field of equality, diversity and inclusion, that will add so much value to our clients.

“She’s also a naturally curious and empathetic ‘people’ person, making her the perfect fit for us and our clients. She’s a brilliant addition to the team.”

Saunders said: “Hannah and the Han Law team are disrupting the market for employment law and HR advice, reimagining the relationship between providers of professional services and their clients.

“It’s a truly exciting business to be a part of and I’m happy to supplement their legal advisory services with my HR expertise, making our offer even more compelling.”