Richard Rowntree takes helm as Paragon MD

Richard Rowntree takes helm as Paragon MD


Rowntree (pictured) joins from the Bank of Ireland, where he was managing director of UK Mortgages, and will oversee Paragon’s lending activities across buy-to-let, second charge and residential mortgages. 

Heron announced his retirement after 34 years with Paragon last May, with Rowntree named as his successor in September.

Rowntree has also held senior roles at Santander, Lloyds TSB, Halifax, the Williams & Glyn division of RBS, and was the chairman of UK Finance’s mortgage product board in 2019.   

He said he plans to further develop Paragon’s focus on portfolio landlords as the lender expected demand for private rented property to grow following 2019, where the segment accounted for 89 per cent of its new lending. 

Rowntree said: “Paragon has carved out an exceptional reputation in the buy to let market over the past 25 years under John’s guidance and I am excited to be able to take that forward.

“Buy to let is increasingly becoming the domain of the portfolio landlord and, with our experience of working with these customers, we are perfectly placed to meet their needs. 

“Portfolio landlords have the greater propensity to purchase and it is this group that will increasingly add to the supply of decent homes in the private rental sector.” 


Bluestone Mortgages appoints Steve Seal managing director

Bluestone Mortgages appoints Steve Seal managing director


Seal joined Bluestone in September 2017 as director of sales and marketing and brings 24 years of financial services experience to his new role.    

As managing director, Seal will be responsible for driving the company’s growth plans, enhancing the service it provides to its intermediary partners, and overseeing additional investment in its proprietary loan workflow technology platform, as well as the day-to-day management of the business.  

Prior to joining, Seal was head of sales at OneSavings Bank’s Kent Reliance business having also held posts at Virgin Money, Chelsea Building Society, Barclays and Lloyds Banking Group. 

Peter McGuinness, group chief executive at Bluestone, said: “Steve was selected for the role after a thorough search process and is a natural for the appointment.  

“Since joining Bluestone, Steve has demonstrated impressive leadership in driving the sales and marketing strategies for Bluestone, and with his obvious passion for a service and relationship led proposition, I am confident Steve is very well placed to excel in tackling the wider opportunity presented by his new role.” 

Steve Seal, managing director at Bluestone Mortgages, added: “I’m excited to be leading Bluestone Mortgages as we continue into our next stage of company growth.  

“Recent developments within our proposition such as Open Banking and extending our fee-free remortgage product to cater for adverse credit customers means we are in good stead to propel the business forward and keep on top of the constantly evolving specialist lending market.” 


Simon Badley to step down as managing director of Iress

Simon Badley to step down as managing director of Iress


Badley (pictured) has been working at Iress for over five years.

A spokesperson told Mortgage Solutions that at this stage no further details about his resignation can be disclosed yet.

Badley said that he is proud of what his team has been able to achieve with and for the clients.

He added: “I wish Iress, its clients and its people all the best for the future.”

Iress chief executive, Andrew Walsh, said: “As we move into the next phase of our growth, Simon has decided now is the right time for him to leave.

“I thank Simon for his passion and dedication.

“He leaves our United Kingdom business in a strong position, with increasing demand for our diversified, independent offering across financial advice, trading, private wealth, mortgage sales and origination and the sourcing of insurance and mortgage products by advisers.

“Simon’s replacement will be made after consideration of internal and external candidates.”

Last week Beneficial Life mortgage network agreed a three-year partnership with Iress which will see the technology firm’s mortgage and protection sourcing system rolled out to member advisers.

Gary Bailey returns to mortgage industry as Hope Capital managing director

Gary Bailey returns to mortgage industry as Hope Capital managing director


Bailey (pictured) will work closely with Hope Capital’s senior management team to promote expansion and innovation within the company, whilst delivering the sales targets for 2019 and beyond.

Bailey will be also in charge of managing the day-to-day operations of Hope Capital so that CEO Jonathan Sealey can concentrate on the strategic growth of the company.

Hope Capital doubled its lending in the past year, increased its staff numbers by 40% and expanded into much larger premises. The bridging lender has also plans to more than double its lending again both this year and the year after.

Jonathan Sealey, CEO of Hope Capital said that this is the first time that Hope Capital has appointed a managing director and it marks the next phase of its growth.

He added: “Gary brings a wealth of industry knowledge and experience that will really help drive Hope Capital forward and achieve its ambitious growth plans.”

Gary Bailey said: “I know I can make a positive difference and add value to help Hope Capital achieve its ambitious growth plans. I am really looking forward to working with Jonathan and the team to help drive the next stage of Hope Capital’s growth and development.”

Mark Hutchings returns to Berkeley Alexander as managing director

Mark Hutchings returns to Berkeley Alexander as managing director


The existing managing director, Geoff Hall, takes on a newly created role of chairman.

With more than 20 years’ General Insurance (GI) experience in both sales and management positions, his appointment provides a stable succession plan, said Berkeley Alexander.

Geoff Hall said: “This appointment will strengthen the management team in readiness for the next stage of our growth. There’s no one I would trust more or who would be better suited to take the helm at Berkeley Alexander.

“I have the utmost respect for Mark having worked with him for many years and seen his career flourish and I know that I’ll be handing over the reins in time to a safe pair of hands, but equally someone who is never afraid to embrace innovation.

“For me, 2019 marks 30-years at Berkeley Alexander and during that time I’ve had the pleasure of seeing this business to go from a small high street broker in Lewes, to be a highly regarded provider of general insurance and one of the market leaders in non-standard GI to the intermediary mortgage market.  I’m proud of what we have achieved so far and excited to see what the future will hold for the company in the coming years.”

Mark Hutchings (pictured) said he was honoured and delighted to be back at Berkeley Alexander. He said: “I have got some big boots to fill, but Geoff’s support and guidance in the next few years will be invaluable while I get my teeth into the role.”


Mark Hutchings was a finalist at the British Mortgage Awards as business leader for general insurance and protection for three years in a row, from 2012 to 2014.