Movers & Shakers: Continued growth at Bury St Edmunds-based Beckett Investment Management Group

From left, Lynne Clark, Jonathan Law, Helen Johnson, Melana Shickle and Jane Drummond of Beckett Inv

From left, Lynne Clark, Jonathan Law, Helen Johnson, Melana Shickle and Jane Drummond of Beckett Investment Management Group. picture: PHILIP JAMES - Credit: Philip James

Five new staff have joined financial services firm Beckett Investment Management Group in the last few months as the company continues to grow.

Lynne Clark joins Beckett’s Employee Benefits team to help deliver auto-enrolment and group risk solutions; Jonathan Law is working on innovative projects to optimise the services provided by Beckett’s Private Client team; he is joined by Helen Johnson and Jane Drummond who are providing high-level support for the consultants in the Private Client team; Melana Shickle is an Employee Benefits Consultant who will be advising Becketts’ corporate clients on a range of solutions.

“This is an exciting time for our company and demonstrates our commitment to gender diversity and the promotion of women in finance,” said managing director Ian White.

Investment firm JM Finn, which has a base in Bury St Edmunds, has welcomed John Eastgate to its London office. John joins as an investment director and is reunited with his former colleague, Edward Furness-Smith, who joined JM Finn in January.

John has spent the last 16 years building up a business at WH Ireland, latterly as deputy head of wealth management, where he focused on managing portfolios for private clients, trusts and charities.

Chief executive Steven Sussman said: “We are absolutely delighted to welcome John to JM Finn, where I’m in no doubt his knowledge and experience can help us in our endeavour to providing first class investment management expertise for our clients. John and Edward as a team are highly suited to our personal approach and attracting them to JM Finn underlines the strength of our investment management proposition.”

Ipswich-based law firm Birketts has appointed Alex Schaafsma as a legal director to bolster its banking and finance team.

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Prior to joining Birketts, Alex trained at a London-based global law firm, after which she worked for many years as an English qualified solicitor in the Netherlands, concentrating predominantly on leverage finance, acquisition finance and conventional lending. She returned to London in 2011 and specialised in real estate finance and further developed her experience in conventional lending, Islamic financing and funds lending. She has experience acting for both lenders and borrowers in a wide range of financing transactions.

Alex said: “I am delighted to join Birketts’ team of over 40 corporate and finance lawyers. My experience, within a broad range of industries, further strengthens the team’s offering and I look forward to advising clients across a range of sectors and at different stages in the business life cycle.”

Adrian Seagers, partner and head of corporate services, said: “Alex’s legal and market practice knowledge truly boosts the team’s credentials and I’m sure our UK and international clients will benefit hugely.”

Alex will be based at in the Cambridge office but will support colleagues across Birketts offices in Chelmsford, Ipswich and Norwich.

A Suffolk-based managing director says he is honoured after becoming the youngest ever chair of his national trade association.

Richard Hibbert, boss of kitchen fitters KSL Sudbury, was unanimously voted to the national Kitchen Bathroom Bedroom Specialists Association (KBSA) post.

“KSL may be a small independent business but we place huge importance on developing our skills and industry knowledge,” he said.

“The KBSA has great plans for the industry and I’m glad to be in a position to be able to influence and contribute to that strategy.”

Tina Riley, the KBSA’s outgoing chair, said: “It is time for a younger generation to carry on the work we have started and I know that Richard’s passion for the industry will stand us in good stead.

“Richard was selected as he has been in the industry for 15 years and an active KBSA Board member for three years.”

Acting KBSA chief executive, Uwe Hanneck, said: “We are delighted to welcome Richard into the role of chair.

“Richard’s focus on education and training as well as his passion for the KBB industry will help us move forward with our strategy and long-term plans.”

KSL was founded in 1989 by Roger Hibbert, Richard’s father, who retired in March 2013.

Suffolk chartered surveyors and estate agents Flick & Son has appointed Paul Gray as managing director.

Paul has more than 20 years of experience in the industry, the last five years as director of Ludlow Thompson, one of London’s most respected and successful independent estate agents.

“I am looking forward to strengthening existing relationships, creating new ones and joining clients on their journey,” he said.

“I am excited to be joining a company which has an excellent reputation for personal service that goes the extra mile.”

Flick & Son, based at Saxmundham, is one of the longest established agencies in the country with a history dating back to 1833. It now has branches in Aldeburgh, Leiston, Southwold and Halesworth.

Directors Peter Watson and Chris Burrell-Saward will work closely with Paul.

Peter said: “We are delighted to welcome Paul on board at an exciting time for Flick & Son and this continuing investment in our team ensures that first-class customer service remains at the forefront of all we do.”

Four new recruits have begun their careers at the Ipswich office of financial and business advisers Grant Thornton, having secured a place on the firm’s pioneering training programme.

Graduates Benjamin Smith and William Kitteridge and school leavers Louise Johnson and Jordan Keeble join the firm’s audit team to study for a range of professional chartered accountancy qualifications while gaining valuable on the job experience.

Nationally, a record-breaking 12,000 candidates applied for one of the 300 places available this year on Grant Thornton’s trainee programme which has dropped GCSE, A-Level and degree results as entry requirements to focus on the individual’s talent, values and potential.

As a result, the programme has been opened up to many more young people regardless of background, with the proportion of trainees across the eastern region starting with Grant Thornton straight from school rising from 25% in 2016 to 32% in 2017.

Rob Thomson, director at Grant Thornton’s Ipswich office, said: “Credit must be given to our four trainees for beating off such stiff competition to gain a place on this year’s programme. Each of them impressed our recruiters and senior team with their enthusiasm, energy and ambition for the future.

“By removing academic barriers to entry, we have been able to open ourselves up to a great new pool of talent. Grant Thornton was one of the first professional services firm to do this as we realised the best people might not always be the most academic on paper but have many other valuable skills to offer the firm and our clients.”

Grant Thornton’s research shows that 32% of the firm’s 2016-17 intake would not have been able to apply for the programme based on old academic entry requirements. However, these individuals are performing at the same level or better than those who would have been eligible.