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Former Shawbrook MDs launch brokerage FinanceWell

Former Shawbrook Bank managing directors Karen Bennett and Stephen Johnson have launched a specialist property finance broker called FinanceWell, with former Shawbrook chief technology officer Nick Ellis-Calcott.

Bennett, Johnson and Ellis-Calcott are all partners of the brokerage that aims to support property investors and developers.

Bennett said: “I am delighted to launch this new business with Stephen and Nick. I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to work alongside such high calibre individuals and build a business from scratch again in a market we have enjoyed as a lender for the past 17 years.

“We want to use our experiences from our past business to build a brokerage that serves developers and housebuilders with finance options that allows them to build and grow their own businesses.

“We have learnt a lot from various sources over our careers and are looking forward to challenging ourselves with this new venture. Whilst it’s still early days, we have found so many elements that differ from our expectations.

“After having huge respect for the broker market for a very long time, this has been strengthened further based on seeing first hand some of the challenges that brokers face when trying to deliver the right solutions for their clients.”

Johnson was part of the founding team at Shawbrook Bank and announced in January 2018 he was set to leave later in the year. He was deputy chief executive, managing director of property finance and executive director of the Shawbrook Group.

Bennett was at Shawbrook for over seven years, with a number of senior management positions, most notably, managing director for commercial mortgages, which she stepped down from in September to “pursue other opportunities”.

Before FinanceWell Ellis-Calcott was director of business development at Abuthnot Latham. He was a founding executive at Shawbrook, spending six years at the specialist lender, first as IT director then as chief technology director.

Andy Thurston has joined FinanceWell as relationship manager. He’s been in financial services for 10 years, most recently as a senior credit manager at Octopus Property. Prior to this he was at Shawbrook Bank for over four years as a senior lending manager in the short-term loans team.

FinanceWell’s services include funding a property conversion or refurbishment, supporting with buying a site, releasing equity from an existing project and buying or refinancing property to hold as an investment, and funding the build loan for a new project.

Bennett added: “FinanceWell’s ethos is a simple one, to focus on doing all we can to deliver the right solution for the client whilst developing strong relationships that will endure.

“We will be dealing direct with clients via relationships that we have established with one of the country’s largest factors of building materials plus developer contacts we have built from our own personal development projects.

“We are hoping that our past experience as lenders, alongside what we have learnt through our own personal developments will put us in a good position to support and advise clients on their finance wants and needs.”

The team at the broker has built several lending businesses that have lent in excess of £7bn during the last 15 years.

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