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James Dingwall
CEO
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James Dingwall

Experience: CEO and founder of Thistle Initiatives Group, which since 2012 has expanded into 5 companies and 80 plus employees. He generally deals with technical regulatory matters involving FCA supervision or enforcement and is a chartered member of CISI. Prior to Thistle, he worked at two of the Big Four accountancy firms.

Life outside Thistle: Loves to travel and learn about different cultures. Plays tennis at a competitive level, tries hard at golf but fails miserably, runs ultra-marathons and cycles wherever he can! A supporter of Sunderland AFC.

Interesting facts: A welder by trade and his last project was the Angel of the North and played Ice Hockey at a professional level.

Michael Bellenger
Director
Finance
     
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Michael Bellenger

Experience: Head of Finance, Operations, Company Secretary, Acquisitions and a Consultant. ACCA qualified who specialises in Prudential & Regulatory Reporting. Before joining Thistle in 2013 was a Partner in a multi-disciplinary Accountancy firm.

Life outside Thistle: Before litany injuries took their toll was a keen Cricketer and Rugby player. Has now released his inner hippy and loves to tour the UK & Europe in his Campervan with his family (and dog). Never happier than when either up a mountain or cooking breakfast on the beach.


Interesting facts: Has a larger than average amount of Neanderthal DNA.

Nikki Bennett
Director
General Insurance
     

Nikki Bennett

Alex Pachalis
Director
Investment
     

Alex Pachalis

Norma Foley
HR & Operations Manager
Operations
     
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Norma Foley

Experience: Joined Thistle in 2013 leading the Operations and HR functions in addition to the development of IT solutions. Previous to Thistle, Norma had a long career in insurance working for one of the UK’s largest general insurers with extensive experience of call centre operations, customer support functions and creating solutions for new firms to the industry.  


Life outside Thistle: Enjoys carp fishing (personal best 23 lb mirror carp!), spending time with family and friends and relaxing at the end of the day with a good book and large glass of wine.


Interesting facts: Car share with Rod Stewart and rode around the Monte Carlo Grand Prix track on a Harley Davidson.

Heather O'Gorman
Head of Financial Crime & Head of Payment Services
Financial Crime
     Payment Services
     

Heather O'Gorman

Matthew Williamson
Head of Fintech
Fintech
     

Matthew Williamson

Cayley Jensen
Financial Promotions Manager
Financial Promotions
     

Cayley Jensen

Sophie Long
Sales Director
Sales and Marketing
     
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Sophie Long

Experience: Worked at Thistle for 4 years, Sales Director for Thistle and Resolution managing all client relationships across investments, fintech and payment services. Prior to Thistle, Investment Banking recruiter for 8 years.

Life outside Thistle: Proud mummy of one, I love to cook (rubbish at desserts) and host dinner parties/parties in general! Yoga enthusiast, at my most calm when upside down.

Interesting facts: Swam with batfish and turtles at 5.00 a.m. on the Whitsunday Islands, petrified of spiders.

Keith Maner
Compliance and Technical Manager
Operations
     
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Keith Maner

Experience: Compliance and Technical Manager at Thistle and Resolution Compliance and has over thirty years’ experience in financial services, including some twenty years in regulatory compliance. Before joining Thistle in 2012 he was a Compliance Officer for a discretionary portfolio management and pooled fund group and before that worked at the then regulator, the FSA and its predecessor, IMRO. Keith is a fellow of the CISI and of the Institute of Internal Auditors UK and Ireland.

Life outside Thistle: Still trying to work out the plot of 2001 A Space Odyssey.

Interesting facts: Keith is a Russian speaker and he has visited all of the Baltic states.

Barry McNulty
Manager
Investment
     
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Barry McNulty

Experience: Compliance professional with several years’ experience in regulated Financial Services, Banking, Compliance and Risk Management. This includes enterprise regulatory risk assessments, thematic monitoring reviews, compliance monitoring plans, Compliance, FSA investigative analysis and Past Business review.


Life outside Thistle: Passionate about sports, a keen snowboarder, footballer and thru-hiker who loves the mountains.


Interesting facts: Appeared in the ITV dating show Elimidate, hosted by Kerry Katona, filmed on location in Sun City, South Africa.

Philip Gillett
Manager
Investment
     
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Philip Gillett

Experience: Phil started his career trading Futures on Eurex, then moved into the spread betting/CFD world as a broker; he then worked at a financial adviser before moving into compliance working on large projects for bank clients. Has some 18 years’ experience in financial services, is a fellow of the CISI and holds a diploma in regulated financial planning including the AF7 pension transfer qualification.


Life outside Thistle: Loves rugby and started to play for local vets team. Enjoys cooking, wine and cycling (doing LEJoG in Sept 2018). Has a young son (2) that keeps him busy, plus started a new hobby (Paramotoring).


Interesting facts: Cooked a BBQ for Adam Richman from Man v Food and has a word entered in Roger Mellie’s profanisaurus.

Chris Townsend
Senior Associate
Investment
     
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Chris Townsend

Experience: Started his carrier in the insurance industry but shortly after discovered his interest in finance and markets. After his masters, he moved onto working at Fidelity Investments as an account/relationship manager before moving into the investments team at Thistle. He started as an associate and has moved onto a senior associate position where he is currently studying for his investment advice diploma.


Life outside Thistle: Enjoys the gym on a regular basis, a boxing and MMA fan and regular attendees talks and conferences from political and business leaders.


Interesting facts: In another life wanted to be a musician and is an intermediate/expert player of the piano, saxophone, clarinet and drums.

Louisa Koduah
Associate
Investment
     

Louisa Koduah

Vananh Holmes
Compliance Manager
Investment
     
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Vananh Holmes

Experience: Compliance professional with experience of senior management regulatory support, enterprise regulatory risk assessments, thematic monitoring reviews, compliance monitoring plans, financial crime controls and the production of regulatory management information for Boards and Committees. Prior to Thistle, she worked in central compliance teams, the second line of defence at banks and financial services firms.

 

Life outside Thistle: Passionate about travelling and cooking. Love everything with water (fish, boats, beaches, lakes, rivers).


Interesting facts: Met and shook hands with George Bush and Vladimir Putin in an international conference (APEC 2006) while working for the Government of Vietnam.

Shazana Begum
Senior Associate
Fintech
     

Shazana Begum

Imogen Buttery
Associate
Fintech
     
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Imogen Buttery

Experience: Upon joining Thistle Group in August 2017, she has worked with the Onboarding Team at Resolution Compliance, a regulated sister company, specialising in FCA applications. She has since switched allegiances and joined the FinTech team at Thistle. She enjoys working with innovative companies in the e-money, cryptocurrency and blockchain spheres to find compliant and customer-focused solutions.


Life outside Thistle: When not trialling new recipes or doing calligraphy and hand lettering at home in London, she can be found escaping to the countryside to enjoy long walks and country pubs.


Interesting facts: Once sang with a Baptist choir in New Orleans on MLK day in front of the Mayor.

James Fraser
Associate
Fintech
     

James Fraser

Nadia Lemard
Manager
Financial Crime
     Payment Services
     

Nadia Lemard

Helena Bambi-Lolo
Manager
Financial Crime
     Payment Services
     
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Helena Bambi-Lolo

Experience: Compliance professional with experience in Financial Crime, Insurance and Consumer Credit. Prior to joining Thistle, she spent four years at the Financial Ombudsman Service settling disputes between consumers and financial institutions.


Life outside Thistle:  Eating and passionate about all things food. Going anywhere which involves eating food. Mum to a cheeky two year old girl and owner of a microbrewery.


Interesting facts: She is the proud daughter of parents who dined with Bill Clinton and Pope Jean Paul II. There is also a clip of 17 year old Helena screaming her lungs out at a movie premiere which was repeatedly used as the introduction to a Saturday morning children’s TV programme.

Jack Williams
Associate
Financial Crime
     Payment Services
     
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Jack Williams

Experience: Joined Thistle’s Financial Crime & Payment Services team in Oct 2017. Prior to joining, spent two years in an operations role at a management consultancy company in London. Also spent two years volunteering at his university student newspaper, where he was News Editor. Has an MA in Governance & Corruption and is currently studying a CISI qualification in Combating Financial Crime.


Life outside Thistle: Keen video-gamer (especially indie horror games). Board-game enthusiast. Bookworm. Whovian. Struggling to learn French and coding. Long-suffering West Ham United supporter.


Interesting facts: Wanted to be a wrestler. Appeared in the background of a Harlem Shake video during a student occupation at university.

Mark Power
Senior Marketing Associate
Sales and Marketing
     
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Mark Power

Experience: Leading the marketing strategy at Thistle since March 2017, Mark joined the company following a move from his home in Tipperary, Ireland. An MSc. in marketing, graduate from Dublin City University, Mark has been on marketing teams in a wide range of industries such as sports and construction.


Life outside Thistle: An avid music fan, Mark normally spends his wages on concert tickets and new vinyl. He has a keen interest in running and is also partial to a flat white and a slice of carrot cake.


Interesting fact: Currently taking guitar lessons so he can duet with his marketing sidekick Jordan Rutland.

Jordan Rutland
Marketing Associate
Sales and Marketing
     
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Jordan Rutland

Experience: Marketing associate at Thistle and has been with the company since April 2018. He manages the branding and all design tasks as well as assisting the senior marketing associate. Prior to Thistle, he worked for an event management technology company completing a Level 3 Apprenticeship in IT, Software, Web & Telecoms Professionals.

Life outside Thistle: A budding musician and known to play the guitar at staff parties. Keen to learn the Spanish language, loves to travel, regular gym goer, likes to meditate and attends a martial arts class.

Interesting facts: Wanted to be a chef and has previously worked in a kitchen. He’s also tried his hand at being a lifeguard, roofer and tattooist but ultimately stuck with graphic design.

Hayley Fielden
Finance Controller
Finance
     

Hayley Fielden

Lilly Cording
Administrator
Operations
     

Lilly Cording

Kerry Gleeson
HR Manager
Operations
     
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Kerry Gleeson

Experience: Joined Thistle Initiatives in March 2015 as an Administrator. Has a keen interest in working with and helping others which led her to develop her career in HR & Operations.


Life outside Thistle: Loves everything Italian; culture, history, pizza, pasta and ice cream.


Interesting facts: Tried white water rafting, bungee jumping, skydiving and scuba diving but doesn’t consider herself an adrenaline junkie.

Helen Dean
Technical Support Senior Manager
General Insurance
     

Helen Dean

Janet Toombs
Field Support Senior Manager
General Insurance
     

Janet Toombs

Rick Double
Field Support Senior Manager
General Insurance
     
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Rick Double

Experience: 25 years general insurance broking and 15 years general insurance compliance experience, spent the last 11 years in a consultancy role at UKGI and Thistle Initiatives. A fellow of the Chartered Insurance Institute and a Chartered Insurance Practitioner. Aims to make compliance understandable, relevant and a discipline which supports businesses.

Life outside Thistle: Passionate about wildlife and nature conservation.

Interesting facts: A Norwich City fan living in Ipswich!

Trudy Patterson
Operations Senior Manager
General Insurance
     

Trudy Patterson

Roland Romata
Field Support Senior Manager
General Insurance
     

Roland Romata

Shane Godwin
Field Support Senior Manager
General Insurance
     
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Shane Godwin

Experience: Has worked in the Insurance industry for 34 years. Started in a small reinsurance broker, in total spending 15 years working for a broker, 10 of these for one of the top four. Then spent three years working in a syndicate on outwards reinsurance (Lloyd’s of London). Extensive and detailed experience in the Insurance claims environment and the oversight of third-party service providers (TPAs/MGAs).


Life outside Thistle: Enjoys travelling and has a keen interest in cars.


Interesting facts: Has visited over 52 different countries in the world.

Ellis Edwards
Field Support Manager
General Insurance
     
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Ellis Edwards

Experience: Joined Thistle August 2017 as a Compliance Manager in the Insurance and Consumer credit division. Ellis has worked in the Insurance Sector for 7 years in roles such as customer service, renewals sales, claims analytics and Compliance & Risk. An overall knowledge from all angles of the business including operational and compliance.  


Life outside Thistle: When she is not pampering herself Ellis is pampering others utilising her hair and beauty qualifications. Ellis loves shopping and holidays!


Interesting facts: An adrenaline junkie who has bungee jumped, jumped off buildings and skydived at 15,000 feet over the Las Vegas desert!

Rachel Ford 
Administrator
General Insurance
     

Rachel Ford 

Siobhan Roby
Technical Support Associate
General Insurance
     
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Siobhan Roby

Experience: Joined Thistle in 2015 and prior to this was working for Lloyds Banking Group for over 5 years. Since starting Thistle, she helps with administration tasks from invoicing to managing the business’s pipeline. Still deals with the administration side of the business but has now progressed on to Consumer Credit authorisations and applications. She is also part of the management administration for Hiscox.

Life outside Thistle: Soon to be a new mummy to a little girl. Loves keeping fit, travelling and being with friends and family. Oh not forgetting she likes to keep up with the Kardashians!

Interesting facts: Has walked with lions in Mauritius and partied with Will.I.Am.

Sarah Toy
Technical Support Manager
General Insurance
     

Sarah Toy

Russell Gibbons
Technical Support Manager
General Insurance
     

Russell Gibbons

Pippa Dutton
Technical Support Manager
General Insurance
     

Pippa Dutton

Grant Peters
Field Support Manager
General Insurance
     
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Grant Peters

Experience: Joined Thistle Initiatives in 2016 as a field consultant within the general insurance and consumer credit division delivering consultancy to firms in the south. Has a wealth of experience in implementing pragmatic and effective compliance frameworks within a variety of firms. Endeavours to bring a fresh perspective to compliance, aiming to make regulation and compliance more accessible to a business.


Life outside Thistle: When not enthralled in his PS4, spends his time exploring new places with his Cockapoo Freya.


Interesting facts: Currently teaching himself Japanese.

Chris Colclough
Technical Support Manager
General Insurance
     

Chris Colclough

Casey Knight
Field Support Manager
General Insurance
     

Casey Knight

Alastair Haughton
Technical Support Manager
General Insurance
     
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Alastair Haughton

Experience: Worked in financial services (banking) since 1980. Financial advice, mortgages and insurance-related compliance roles since 2000. Joined UKGI (now Thistle Insurance and Consumer Credit Division) in May 2012. Specialist in FCA Rules and Guidance with significant experience in the analysis and implementation of legislation and regulation, making compliance ‘live and breathe’.


Life outside Thistle: Musician, drummer in a rock band and will watch almost any sport, drinks almost any beer and plays anything that he can hit or that has strings on it. Enjoys watching and playing live music.


Interesting facts: Born in Nigeria, once played football with Bill Shankly, recently played a gig at a rock festival in Ibiza.