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Former Egg CEO snaps up MoneyQuest

MoneyQuest has been snapped up by a consortium led by former egg CEO Paul Gratton for an undisclosed sum.

The move sees two of the firm’s co-founders quit the business and a new management team dropped in to drive the business forward.

Steve and Derek Pollard – co founders of MoneyQuest – have both resigned from the business as directors but will continue to offer support.

Steve is now based in Australia, focussing on building a Perth-based mortgage broker.

While Derek will be taking a short sabbatical before returning in a business development role working with managing director and fellow co-founder Paul Reynolds who will continue in his current role.

Gratton, MoneyQuest’s executive chairman, has a passion for technology and is both well known and liked in the City with a strong reputation as an innovator in direct financial services.

He was a major driver behind mortgageforce and its subsequent sale to West Bromwich and also holds several a non-executive appointments, including non-executive director of edeus.

The change of ownership means plans for MoneyQuest to become an appointed representative of Legal & General have temporarily been put on hold.

Gratton says: “Since selling mortgageforce to West Brom I’ve spent the last three years in purdah.

“Our focus will continue to be providing expert financial advice and assistance both online and by telephone.

“Our experience is that in these uncertain times for mortgage customers the reassurance and expertise provided by a good broker is in great demand. We believe that by combining our skills we can ensure we provide the best brokerage services for customers.

“What we’re looking to do now is to grow the business. First we need to secure the predictable. We can offer tips and tricks to make life easier for MoneyQuest.

“There are some good opportunities out there at the moment. Whereas lenders had been looking to employ brokers to grow their books they are now looking at ways to shrink them and we can help them to do that.”

And while Gratton has ruled out turning MoneyQuest into a franchise operation, intending to stick to its telesales and internet roots, other opportunities could arise.

He adds: “There may well be an opportunity for some collaboration regarding clients that still want face-to-face advice.

“We want to offer advice with a capital ‘A’ and with 85% of ABC1’s having access to 1MB broadband or more the opportunity is there to create an emotional bond through technology although there will still be occasions when clients want the 9:30 in the evening face-to-face meeting on their sofa.”

Gratton is joined by a team who were involved in the launch of both First Direct and Egg including Simon Jackson, chief operating officer, Andy Thompson, marketing and strategy director, Tony Lynch, finance director and Darren Fox, sales director.

Reynolds says: “The experience of the direct financial services market that Paul and his team bring to the MoneyQuest business can only add value and considerably enhances our offering to our customers through the financial expertise and vision that the team bring.”

The new management team has immense experience.

Paul Gratton, Executive Chairman

Gratton is probably most well known for his role as CEO of EGG. His passion lies in developing organisations that consumers trust, people love to work for and are proud of. He is attracted to businesses that ultimately deliver more than they would through commoditisation alone. Gratton started his career at Midland Bank and was part of the think tank that created First Direct where he was financial services director. From there he went on to play an integral part in the start up team that became Prudential Banking and ultimately Egg. Gratton was COO when Egg launched in 1998 and become Egg’s CEO in January 2001.
Since leaving Egg, Gratton currently splits his time across a range of executive and non executive roles.

Simon Jackson, Chief Operating Officer

Jackson has over 20 years experience in financial services and operations. His initial career was in branch banking with Midland Bank and at HSBC where he ran the card services operation. Jackson joined Egg in 1998, ultimately ending up running its entire back office operation. In 2004 he became COO of the retail division of Aon responsible for all the teams managing the placing and maintenance of commercial insurance programmes for Aon’s global clients.

Andy Thompson, Marketing & Strategy Director

Thompson has over 25 years experience in retail financial services sector. Thompson joined First Direct from HSBC in 1988, where he was accountable for the strategic development and commercial management of the mortgage, unsecured lending and debt protection portfolios of First Direct. In 1998, Thompson joined the Prudential as part of the Egg launch team and undertook a range of roles including launch manager for the Egg card, head of customer proposition and head of lending and payments. Thompson’s key skills lie in developing the customer proposition, converting service innovation into profit and growing the UK market in internet and mobile banking.

Tony Lynch, Finance Director

Lynch joins MoneyQuest from Artilium where he was chief financial officer of this Alternative Investment Market listed mobile technology business. Prior to which Lynch worked at Aspect Capital, a specialist hedge fund management business where he was director of finance. Lynch’s many years of financial services experience also includes his roles as chief operating officer at Select Asset Management and as group financial controller of Egg following a period working as audit manager with Arthur Anderson in its Financial Markets Division in London.

Darren Fox, Sales Director

Fox has worked for a number of organisations including Lincoln Financial, Bradford and Bingley, Egg Banking and Investments, Prudential, Barclays Retail Banking and one of the UK’s leading IFA groups. Roles have included managing sizeable new business launches, helping to create and then run Financial Advice call centres and heading up a mortgage and lending sales business. Most recently he has been creating a direct mortgage offer within a large IFA group and as a result transforming sales volumes and quality.

Paul Reynolds, Managing Director

Reynolds is the co-founder of MoneyQuest (UK) which was founded 18 years ago. The Company was an early pioneer of internet and telephone based mortgage and insurance broker. It is recognised as one of the key innovators of technology driven financial advice in the wider UK market.


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