Local Energy firm transitions to Employee Ownership

Shorts Chartered Accountants recently teamed up with Knights plc to act as corporate finance, tax advisors and legal representatives as Cost Advice Energy Specialists (Cost Advice) transitioned to an Employee Ownership model.

Established in 1995, and previously owned by brothers Christopher and Stephen Ball, the Company strives to set the benchmark for providing quality advice for commercial energy customers on the best ways for them to purchase and manage their electricity and gas.

Over its history, the business has expanded into a team of professionals who assist businesses across Britain, ranging from small independent retailers to large multi-site organisations.

On completing the transition, Stephen Ball commented: “Chris and I are extremely proud of the company and how it has grown and evolved over the last 26 years, and it is important to us that we protect its legacy and ensure it remains independent.

“Employee ownership provided a way for us to do this; it’s progressive and forward-thinking and provides a way to give back to our loyal and talented workforce who have helped to make Cost Advice what it is today. The company is going from strength-to-strength and now is the perfect time to start our exciting new chapter.”

Speaking about the transition to employee ownership, Shorts Corporate Finance Partner, Andy Ryder said: “We would like to extend our congratulations to Cost Advice and its new employee owners.

“Having discussed various succession planning options with Stephen and Chris, it was clear that the EOT route would best meet their overall objectives.

“Businesses that choose the EOT route build trust and shared responsibility. and we are confident that this will result in a very positive future for the business. We look forward to seeing Cost Advice’s continuing success under their new ownership model.”

Shorts supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 200 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

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Collaborative working from Chesterfield firms leads to landmark deal… and regional recognition

The success of the recent landmark buyout of Heathcotes Group by partners Civitas and Envivo Group has led to new opportunities, and awards, for the financial brains behind the deal.

The buyout, presented and managed in a unique collaboration between Chesterfield Champions Milestone Financial Planning Services and Mitchells Chartered Accountants, has led the two businesses to team up formally.

This brand-new partnership, Mitchells Corporate Agents, is already in line for their first award, being shortlisted in Sheffield City Region’s Dealmaker Awards later this week. And in the words of Milestone Financial Planning’s MD Michael Heath, this is just the beginning.

Michael said: “It’s great to be shortlisted for this award, but more than that, we’re so pleased to be taking our collaboration with Mitchells to the next level. Together, we take the time to get to know our clients so we can protect them from the complex nature of a business sale, it’s what makes Mitchells Corporate Agents so different from our large-scale competitors.“

Instruction for the sale of healthcare group Heathcotes, which has 72 healthcare facilities located across the UK, including here in Chesterfield, was first received in March 2020 as COVID-19 reached its height, with the buyout agreed by the end of 2020.

On the sale, Tony Hornsby of Mitchells Chartered Accountants said. “It has been a privilege to work with Heathcotes Group from initial incorporation, through to working alongside Milestone Financial Planning on the business sale. We are very excited regarding our collaboration with Milestone as Mitchells Corporate Agents and believe this will offer tailored solutions and guidance to owners looking for similar business exits.”

The Insider Sheffield City Regional Dealmaker Awards are being held this Thursday, 7 October at Mercure Sheffield St Paul’s Hotel and celebrate the top dealmakers in the region, recognising expertise, leadership and innovation in banking, funding, legal and accountancy.

Milestone Financial Planning, Mitchells Chartered Accountants and Heathcotes Group support the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 190 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

Left: Tony Hornsby, Right: Michael Heath

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Jones & Co Team named amongst UK’s top rated financial advisors

Four independent financial advisors at Chesterfield-based independent financial advice firm, Jones & Co, have been named amongst some of the UK’s top-rated financial advisors with VouchedFor.

In VouchedFor’s 2021 Guide to the UK’s top-rated Financial Advisors distributed with The Times newspaper, Suzanne Jeakins, Pauline Fernandes, Kirk Yeomans and Mark Jones were identified as a select number of professional IFAs in Derbyshire to achieve this significant accolade. The guide aims to help people understand how advice could benefit them and celebrates financial and mortgage advisors who are delivering excellent outcomes for their clients.

Each of the financial and mortgage advisors listed within the guide have received the highest volume of positive client reviews since the start of 2020 on, the UK’s leading ratings site for financial and legal advisers.

As well as being endorsed by at least ten clients, each advisor is a fully verified member of VouchedFor, which means the company has checked that they have the necessary permissions to practice, in line with the latest Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) rules.

Commenting on the news, managing director of Jones & Co, Mark Jones said: “Gaining nationwide recognition as being amongst some of the UK’s top-rated financial advisors is testament to the outstanding team we have here at Jones & Co.

“Working with people to help them to accumulate and preserve their wealth and security is such a rewarding job. Everyone has bespoke financial objectives which is why we are committed to creating tailored portfolios for each of our clients. It’s a real pleasure to support people achieve, and often exceed, their goals and that shows in the excellent five-star reviews we continually receive.”

The company aims to deliver a financial strategy that helps each client to achieve their own personal retirement or financial goals. That includes helping people make the right decisions and assisting them to gain maximum capital or income possible from hard-earned savings made.

Jones & Co. supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 180 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

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Handelsbanken reports increases in both lending and deposit taking

Local relationship bank, Handelsbanken, has announced its 2020 results, showing ongoing increases in both lending and deposit-taking, as the Bank’s distinct model offers support to local customers through the ongoing crisis.

Handelsbanken saw a 1 per cent year-on-year increase in overall net lending to individual and corporate banking customers to £21.7bn.

The Bank also recorded a 15 per cent year-on-year increase in overall customer deposits to £17.6bn, including 19 per cent growth in corporate deposits, in part reflecting its reputation for financial strength and solidity at this time.

Run by a team of 7 local bankers, Handelsbanken Chesterfield forms long-term, personal relationships with individuals and businesses in the North Derbyshire area, working closely with local customers to meet their distinct financial needs, both in the short and longer term.

Phil Walker, branch manager of Handelsbanken’s Chesterfield comments: “This has been a challenging last 12 months for everybody. However, what has stood out for me is people’s resilience, not least our customers and my branch staff, who have kept our branch open throughout.

We have successfully maintained the high levels of customer service that we are known for, and whilst we have met our customers in new ways, the relationships we have with them remain strong as a result. In turn, this has contributed to keeping the bank strong, safe and stable, as we continue supporting our customers through this uniquely difficult period”

Mikael Sorensen, UK CEO, says: “As a bank, we see it as our duty to stand strong and support our customers through the economic cycle. Over the last 12 months we have sought to fulfil this responsibility by keeping our branches open throughout, staying close to our customers and providing proactive support tailored to meet customers’ distinct needs.

“We’ve been encouraged by the trust our customers continue to place in us, which is well illustrated by the steady rise in deposits since the crisis began, as well as by how effectively we’ve been able to deal with any difficulties together. We remain focused on assisting our customers through these uncertain times, as well as helping them prepare for a world beyond the pandemic, both in terms of economic recovery and the longer-term transition to a low-carbon economy.

“Our local, relationship banking approach appears to be particularly valued at times like these. This year and beyond, we will be enhancing this approach through further investment in our digital capabilities. This investment is part of our plans to build a bank for the future, placing expertise and support closer to our branches so that our customers can choose how they want to engage with us and enjoy the best of both worlds – excellent personal service coupled with improved digital platforms and tools.”

Handelsbanken customers enjoy direct access to experienced branch teams who are empowered to make decisions locally and deliver high levels of customer satisfaction, without the presence of product or sales targets.

Handelsbanken’s successful formula has, for the fifth time, led to the Bank topping recommendations for its services in four of the five categories of the Competition and Markets Authority’s independent service quality survey for business banking, the results of which were published in August 20202. For the twelfth year in a row, Handelsbanken has been top-ranked for satisfaction, for both personal and business banking, in an independent survey of British bank customers3.

Handelsbanken plc has been assigned a long term credit rating of AA with a negative outlook by international credit ratings agency, Fitch; and a long term credit rating of AA-with a stable outlook by Standard & Poor’s. The ratings are the same as those given for the subsidiary’s Swedish parent, Svenska Handelsbanken AB (publ), and confirm the Bank’s strength, stability and creditworthiness.

Businesses and individuals can contact Handelsbanken’s Chesterfield branch by calling 01246 231750.

Handelsbanken supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 180 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

Champion of the Week

Phil Walker, Handelsbanken

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Chesterfield company’s pledge to help get local community finances back on track

A Chesterfield company has opened up a new office in the town as part of its efforts to support clients and the wider community in its recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

Sovereign Wealth want to help reassure people and local businesses who are concerned about the recent economic uncertainty caused by the virus, or those who have been hit hard financially.

Dominic Fallon, Partner of Sovereign Wealth LLP and founder of the Chesterfield branch said: “We’ve decided to focus our energy on where we feel we can help the most in the local community. At the moment, financial plans that may have seemed secure pre-Covid should be re-evaluated. Financial decisions made before March 2020 were not based on the current economic environment.

“Volatility in equity and financial markets are rightly causing concerns, and it’s important to understand any knock-on effects on pensions or other financial arrangements, and how to protect them.”

When life becomes unpredictable, it’s easy to feel out of control with finances, but it doesn’t have to be like that, says Dominic.

“One way to help yourself through this is to seek the best advice. We are bombarded by information daily about recessions and dips, and often these aren’t the things we need to be worrying about, but we do as they are at the forefront of our minds. One way to stay sane and stop worrying unnecessarily is to seek reliable, dependable advice, and getting to know the whole situation, not just now, but any long-term financial implications. This way, you can make an informed decision.”

“We’ve set up an office in Chesterfield so that we can work Covid securely; we have the correct distance requirements etc. Much safer in the current climate for our clients. But, we can also use Zoom for clients who can’t manage to get to the office.”

But Dominic’s aim to help the community doesn’t stop there. Working with other local businesses, Dominic and his team and working to give something back to the community of Chesterfield this Christmas.

“Everyone has struggled this year, whether it be financially or mentally, and we wanted to give something back. We are working with other local businesses to organise a food collection which will be distributed to local schools to pass on to any families who might struggle without school meals over the holiday period. If you have any food items to donate, please drop them to our office at Sovereign Wealth LLP 3 Old Road, Chesterfield S40 2RE. Give yourself the feel-good factor – there is no better feeling than doing good.”

If you’d like to sign up for Dominic’s top tips to keeping calm through the pandemic, you can email

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Bridge Help brings new talent to bridging finance

Bridge Help’s latest appointment brings new talent to the male-dominated bridging and finance industry.

Phoebe Sellars has been appointed as Business Development and Loan Manager at the Chesterfield-based bridging finance company.

Phoebe brings a background in retail management and law to the brand new role at the company. She was most recently employed in the Wills team at a leading firm of solicitors.

Her interest in and subsequent move to the bridging finance sector has been triggered by her father and chief executive of Bridge Help, Chris Sellars.

She explained: “I was previously working for a legal firm and my role was furloughed during lockdown. During this time I witnessed the fact that the bridging loan industry didn’t stop. It was very much business as usual and deals were still being done and no two days were the same. I loved the proactive and flexible approach to working in the face of adversity. I am a person that likes to be busy and challenged and it was a career move that excited me.”

Within the newly created role, Phoebe will be responsible for building relationships with Bridge Help’s broker and client network as well as managing the company’s loan pipeline.

She added: “I am surrounded by an experienced and knowledgeable team, including the bridging industry stalwart Danny Power. With the business plans we have in place I am excited by what the future holds for both me and Bridge Help.”

Phoebe is one of three new appointments made at the growing firm since the start of the year. The company also made the move to larger premises last month to accommodate its increasing workforce, all of which is instrumental in achieving Bridge Help’s ambitions to achieve a £100 million loan book by 2024.

For further information about Bridge Help visit or follow the company on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Bridge Help supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 180 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

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Mortgage 1st go ‘back to school’ to teach students about future financial planning

Mortgage 1st, a Chesterfield based Mortgage Advice firm have been ‘Back to School’ this October delivering a lesson they created for year 9 students as part of the schools personal development topic, the lesson focuses on future financial planning which is a very important and key life skill for young people.

The team at Mortgage 1st are passionate about supporting young people, they already offer an ‘Apprentice to Adviser’ program to school & college leavers and more recently have taken part in the My Future Platform which is a virtual careers fair showcasing the jobs available in their industry to inspire the next generation.

Developing a partnership with local schools and designing a lesson plan based around financial planning, mortgages and buying a house is something HR & Marketing Director, Lisa Stones has been keen to do for a while and after linking with Shirebrook Academy earlier this year the project took shape.

Along with her colleague Carly Montisci, Senior Manager at Mortgage 1st, Lisa delivered the lesson to 6 tutor groups, over 150 students in total, over a course of 3 weeks. The lessons were well received by the tutors and students alike even after the shock of discovering the actual cost of buying a house!

Many students expressed an interest in the financial service industry as a career option they may now consider but most importantly a seed has been planted with the 13 year olds about the importance of budgeting and sensible money management to enable a financially stable future.

Lisa Stones, HR & Marketing Director, Mortgage 1st said: “I am thrilled to have been able to see this project through, I wasn’t going to let any COVID restrictions get in my way this year! The team at Shirebrook Academy have been fantastic and provided me with all the guidance I needed to create an interesting and engaging lesson for the students. The feedback from the tutors has been great and the level of engagement and questions from the students was amazing, they were genuinely interested in what is a fairly complex and ‘grown-up’ subject. This is only the start as we hope to be able to offer this programme to more local school on a regular basis.”

Mortgage 1st will soon be on the lookout for their next new young apprentice to join their head office team in Barlborugh, Chesterfield. Details will be published on their website and social media later in the year.

Mortgage 1st supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 180 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

Posted in About Chesterfield, Business, Destination Chesterfield, Development, Featured, Home, Made in Chesterfield, UncategorisedTagged in , , , ,

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