Financial services company targets £1bn loan book after opening first northern base

Financial services company targets £1bn loan book after opening first northern base Ambitious financial services company Amicus Group has launched its first northern office in Manchester as it targets a loan book of £1bn in the next three years.

The London-based company opened the doors of its Princess Street offices two months ago, and with a headcount of 22 it is Amicus' first regional centre offering a full range of services, including SME, asset, invoice and property financing.

For South Wales-born chief executive John Jenkins, Manchester was the obvious choice for Amicus' "first foray north" following its acquisition of Preston company Mayfair Bridging two years ago. That team has now been moved in Manchester and its loan book has grown from £5m to £50m in just two years.

The company has other offices in Soho, the City of London, Guildford, and Peterborough, but 52-year-old Jenkins reckons there must be "people on the ground" with knowledge of the local business community if Amicus is to expand successfully into the regions.

Jenkins told TheBusinessDesk:

Importantly, as well for us, is we don't just do property finance.

We do SME lending, asset finance, invoice finance, so this is our first true regional office.

Not only do we have the original Preston team, we have now recruited people to do specific finance, to do invoice finance, and shortly to do some commercial property lending, all based here in Manchester.

It's actually the only one of our offices that we have multiple services in. It's the only one that is a true regional centre.

We think this benefits us terrifically in terms of the professional community around the North West, and gives us much more of a presence here.

He went on:

Strategically, if you want to have a presence outside London and you want to capitalise on the opportunities that you see, you can't really cement deals from London, because you need to be on the ground and Manchester seemed to be the very logical place to start that process.

If it works well in Manchester, and I believe that it will, we may look at other regional centres and say, why not Birmingham, why not Bristol.

For me Manchester kind of always has been the second city. I spent most of my career at Lloyds TSB then more recently at GE Capital, and if I look at specialist business lending, Manchester's always been up there.

London and the South East is this big amorphous mass, Birmingham is interesting, but Manchester's always had a bit more diversity. You can't do Scotland from Birmingham, but you can do it from Manchester.