Bolton quashes HBOS move speculation

Michael Bolton, managing director of HBOS specialist lending, has branded rumours that he is leaving HBOS as “pure market speculation.”

Speculation in the industry is rife that Bolton could soon be joining the Essex-based lender Swift Advances, as chief executive.

However, Bolton who was promoted this August from managing director of BM Solutions and Halifax Intermediaries, to director of specialist lending at HBOS dismisses it as market speculation.

He says: “This is pure market speculation but I do know my swallows from my Swifts.”

It is also rumoured that Guy Batchelor, sales and marketing director at Platform is a contender for the job, however he was unable to comment.

Kestrel is the holding company for Swift Advances, which is a secured consumer loan and residential mortgage business.

In May 2004, Alchemy invested 53m to acquire a 73.4% stake in Kestrels ordinary shares in a transaction which valued the business at 314m.

Management and other investors hold the balance of the shares, and in March 31 2005, the business made an operating profit of 33.7m.

If Bolton or Batchelor were to get the job, the advantages would be manifold. Industry sources say the company is offering a 5% capital stake in the firm, to be cashed after the company is sold.