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Sesame Bankhall Group CEO Higginson steps down

George Higginson, chief executive officer of Sesame Bankhall Group, has stepped down after three years with the company.

Paul Hooper, Sesame’s finance director has also left and will be replaced by Jim Kelly, who previously held senior positions at Lloyds Abbey Life, RBS and Aviva.

Chairman John Cowan will continue to lead the SBG board.

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Stephen Gazard joined SBG 12 months ago as distribution director and became managing director in June 2013.

Mr Gazard will now report to Mr Cowan and will take on a wider remit, with responsibility for leading the executive team.

Pan Andreas and John Cupis will continue to work alongside Mr Gazard to lead the wealth management and mortgage businesses within the group, also reporting to Mr Cowan.

Mr Cowan said: “On behalf of the group I would like to thank George and Paul for their valuable contribution to the business and we wish them well for the future.”

Mr Higginson, said: “I am proud to have contributed to SBG’s successful transformation into a broad based financial services group and I feel it is now the right time for me to seek a new challenge.

“SBG has a range of exciting new propositions for advisers and a strong team in place to help drive the business forward.”

Last year speculation mounted that Sesame could be in talks to sell all or part of its business, with one former director claiming a break-up and sell-off of SBG seemed likely. In early 2013 the company confirmed it was working with Barclays Capital to review sale options.

Sesame Limited made headlines in June 2013 when it was fined £6m - £2m more than its 2012 profit - by the Financial Conduct Authority for failing to ensure the advice it gave regarding Keydata products was suitable.

More recently SBG confirmed the Sesame network would move to a restricted model, drawing criticism from some advisers.