The Oakwood Group last week appointed Laurence Morey as chief financial officer. Morey previously worked at Nikko Principal Investments, former owner of Mortgages PLC, and was one of the key players in the sale of the firm to Merrill Lynch in October 2004.Oakwood is set to launch into the UK mortgage market later this year under Michael Bolton, with the venture funded 100% by Merrill Lynch. Morey will be responsible for the financial management of all aspects of Oakwood Group’s business, including managing its asset investment activities and ongoing financial management of its portfolio, as well as structuring and managing transactions and securitisations. Morey spent six years at Nikko, primarily focused on the firm’s financial asset investment activities. He has broad experience of structuring and managing a number of equity investment transactions including a wide range of leverage structures such as UK residential mortgage-backed securities, whole business securitisation and term loan facilities. With a strong background in speciality finance, he was involved in the ongoing management and ultimate sale of MPLC, which was bought by Nikko in December 2001 for under 25m. The sale of MPLC in 2004 was brokered by Mike Culhane, chief executive of the Oakwood Group. Although the sale price was never disclosed, sources close to the deal at the time said they believed the price of MPLC will have at least trebled, with one source predicting a sale value of 88m. Culhane says: “We are delighted that Laurence has agreed to join Oakwood. He brings substantial direct knowledge of managing international investment portfolios and his appointment significantly strengthens our team. “Oakwood already has a strong portfolio of businesses and we continue to identify new opportunities. Laurence’s broad experience, particularly in the specialty finance sector, is a great fit with Oakwood’s strategy.” Morey adds: “I’m pleased to be joining an exciting company and I look forward to my role in supporting Oakwood’s expansion into new sectors and international markets.” Morey is the second senior appointment for Oakwood in under a month following the appointment in April of Richard Klemmer as president.