16 September 2014Pollen Street Capital completes renaming and rebranding

16 September, London: SOF Investments, the private equity team spun out of RBS in November 2013 to establish an independent fund management business, has today announced that it has renamed itself Pollen Street Capital.

The team, which will continue to be led by Lindsey McMurray has invested over £1.2bn in a wide range of businesses across all stages of development. It’s most recent transactions include the sale of Moneycorp to Bridgepoint in an exit worth £212m and the acquisition of Freedom Finance, the largest unsecured lending broker in the UK by another of its portfolio companies, the Target Group.

Pollen Street Capital’s investment strategy is focussed on opportunities in the financial services sector particularly in companies that offer market-leading products and services in areas where challengers are able to offer attractive alternatives to traditional players.

Current portfolio companies include Shawbrook Bank, the UK challenger bank, Target, the loan servicer and software provider combined with the origination capabilities of Freedom Finance, and Banca Sistema, the Italian challenger bank.

Commenting Lindsey McMurray, Managing Partner at Pollen Street Capital said: “We’re delighted to launch Pollen Street Capital as the team embarks upon the next stage of an exciting journey.

“As a firm we see significant opportunities within the financial services sector driven by unprecedented levels of change within the regulatory framework, changing customer preferences and technological enablement. We believe this environment is one where new entrants and challengers can thrive by offering superior alternatives to incumbents.

“Our approach is to combine significant industry expertise with entrepreneurial management teams and capital for growth. We work collaboratively to develop businesses that offer an outstanding customer proposition within a framework of regulatory excellence and exceptional people values.

“Now more than ever we believe that customers must be at the heart of the businesses we build.”

For more information on Pollen Street Capital visit



Notes to Editors

Instinctif Partners 020 7457 2020
Nick Woods 07769 347 757
Ross Gillam 07580 816 916

Pollen Street Capital

  • Pollen Street Capital is a private equity fund manager that invests in businesses in the financial services sector that have a specialist and alternative offering to incumbents.
  • The team has invested over £1.2bn in a wide range of businesses across all stages of development.
  • Pollen Street Capital invests in businesses with the following characteristics: Capacity to be long-term winners; Differentiation through focus and specialism; Entrepreneurial management teams.
  • The team is organised to maximise opportunities across four verticals: Lending, Support Services, Investment and General Insurance.
  • Pollen Street Capital renamed and rebranded from SOF Investments in September 2014, having previously spun-out of RBS in November 2013.
  • For more information visit

29 August 2014Moneycorp acquired by Bridgepoint in transaction totalling £212 million

Specialist foreign exchange provider Moneycorp has been acquired by Bridgepoint in a transaction with an enterprise value of £212 million from funds advised by SOF Investments.

Moneycorp is one of the largest specialist players in the market targeting customers through a multi-channel offering, including a fully integrated online payments and telephone platform serving both SME corporate and private customers. In 2013 it recorded gross income of £97.2m (2012: £65.2m) and handled over £10 billion of currency trades. In 2013 it also acquired Thomas Cook’s corporate foreign exchange business.

The business has built a powerful origination engine through a combination of telephone based sales people, partnership referral network and a strong retail presence at strategic travel hubs such as Heathrow and Gatwick. It currently serves predominantly UK based SMEs and UK high net worth individuals and operates a retail bureau de change business focussed on London and the South East with 11 stores and 56 airport locations. The company is also beginning to open up business internationally.

Mark Horgan, Moneycorp CEO, said: “We are setting out to make Moneycorp the first choice in international payments and foreign exchange in the UK and now also have the opportunity to realise our broader ambitions and to grow internationally with Bridgepoint.”

Bridgepoint partner Stephen Green commented: “The FX market for SMEs is changing and offers much to go for with banks providing poor value and service leading customers to shift to specialist providers. Moneycorp is an exciting opportunity to back a talented management team with a fast growing UK business and significant international development potential."

Lindsey McMurray of SOF Investments added: "The management team has built upon the long history of strong service culture embedded within the organisation to introduce innovation in product development and delivery, underpinned by the highest standards of regulation and compliance to  create an exciting platform for future growth."

The UK international payments market is expected to grow by 11 % p.a. as customers continue to switch away from banks and awareness of and trust in specialist providers increases. Banks increasingly view the SME and private individual market as non-core as they focus on core lending products or FX and treasury for large corporates.

04 August 2014Freedom Finance Ltd acquired by SOF Annex Fund


4th August 2014

Manchester, UK


Freedom Finance Ltd acquired by the SOF Annex Fund

Freedom Finance becomes part of Target Group


Freedom Finance Ltd (“Freedom Finance”), the UK’s largest personal loan broker, today announces that it has been acquired by SOF Annex Fund (“SOF”) as part of the strategic growth plans for its portfolio company, Target Group (“Target”). Freedom Finance was previously controlled by Rupert Webb and a private equity investor.

Since its establishment in 2007, Freedom Finance has undergone strong growth within the loan brokerage market driven by its unique search technology, which provides customers with accurate real time quotations across a panel of both unsecured and secured lenders.

Target is a leading provider of software and outsourced services in the loans, savings and insurance markets. It has over £10bn of loans and savings running on its platform across multiple product types and customers.

The acquisition will bring together Freedom Finance’s brokerage and technology with Target’s industry knowledge, software and servicing expertise providing a compelling proposition to existing and new customers.


Commenting, Nicola Georgiou, Managing Director of Freedom Finance Ltd, said:

“We are delighted to announce that Freedom Finance has been acquired by SOF. We have very ambitious growth plans for the business and SOF provides us with exactly the right shareholders to help us achieve those targets. The diverse portfolio of other SOF companies offers us valuable partners with which to expand into other areas of financial services using our unique sourcing platform. We have already identified a number of exciting opportunities and are looking forward to this new growth phase.”


Commenting, Lindsey McMurray, Managing Partner of SOF Investments Ltd, said:

“Freedom Finance will be a fantastic addition to the Target Group allowing us to deliver a compelling proposition with the highest standards of regulatory excellence to both existing and new customers. At SOF we seek to invest in high-quality businesses operating in specialist markets with entrepreneurial and driven management teams.  Freedom Finance and the team led by Nicola Georgiou certainly have these qualities and we’re excited about working together to build a business that delivers market-leading products and services to create long-term sustainable success.”

The SOF Annex Fund is advised by SOF Investments Limited, a private equity fund manager focussed on investing in businesses in the financial and business services sectors. To date, they have invested over £1.2bn in a range of businesses across all stages of development.




Notes for Editors:

For more information, to arrange an interview or photograph, contact:

Chris Tuite

Rostrum Communications

0207 440 8673

07789 202 494



About Freedom Finance

Freedom Finance is a trading style of Freedom Finance Ltd which was established in 2007 to research and develop a loan application platform coupled with a multi-lender decision engine.  We have partnered with some of the most recognised and established lenders in the UK, in order to build a representative whole of market panel and develop a unique platform that provides instant, accurate loan quotations by matching personal information and credit bureau data with lender's criteria and scorecards.  We provide this solution under the Freedom Finance and The Lending Wizard brands.  

Freedom Finance and The Lending Wizard are trading styles of Freedom Finance Ltd. Registered in England. Registered Number: 06297533. Registered address: Atlantic House, AtlasBusinessPark, Simonsway, Manchester, M22 5PR.


14 June 2014Shawbrook Bank celebrates £2billion savings milestone

Shawbrook Bank has surpassed £2billion in savings deposited by personal, SME and charity customers following its launch in 2011.

This significant milestone comes soon after the specialist savings and lending bank announced a pre-tax profit of £16.8m - an outstanding set of annual results for its third year of operation.

“Shawbrook has seen dramatic growth in the last 12 months and the success of the bank’s savings offering has played a major part in this. Our deposit base has doubled in the last year and the number of saving customers has almost tripled since 2012.  We now have over 50,000 accounts,” said James Blower, savings director at Shawbrook Bank.

“During what has been a very difficult time for savers with rates offered by the High Street Banks at all-time lows, Shawbrook continues to champion a fair deal for UK savers. Reaching the £2billion mark is a great achievement and is testament that savers welcome an alternative to the bigger banks.”

A range of savings accounts are available for individuals, SMEs, charities and trusts. Products include fixed rate bonds from 6 months to 5 years as well as 95 days, 100 days and 120 days’ notice accounts.

Shawbrook was recently awarded Best Notice and Best Fixed Rate Account Provider at the 2014 Moneyfacts Awards and was highly commended in the Best Bank Savings provider category. Our products have also been recognised in the Saving Champion Awards and The Personal Finance Awards.

“Shawbrook uses a traditional savings and lending model, so the money our savings customers deposit is lent to SMEs and individuals. In return we are committed to offering our savers consistently competitive rates with a choice of straightforward products.  We also have a dedicated customer service team offering a personal and friendly service,

“Recently we considerably upgraded our esavings platform making the process of setting up and managing savings accounts more convenient for our customers and we are constantly reviewing what we can offer from both a service and product perspective.

“Our savings products regularly appear in independent best buy tables so customers can be sure they’re getting a competitive deal along with the reassurance that their money is growing in a secure place.”

04 June 2014Shawbrook Bank announces impressive 2013 results and a significant acquisition to expand product offering

  • Dramatic growth for Shawbrook with £16.8m pre-tax profit in third year
  • The specialist British bank acquires Centric Commercial Finance to broaden product offering and increase future growth 

Shawbrook Bank has published outstanding results for the year ending December 2013. The Bank’s rapid growth resulted in a pre-tax profit of £16.8m – a significant increase from an accounting loss before tax of £7.1m in 2012.

Shawbrook is also delighted to announce a strategic acquisition for the Bank – the asset-based lender Centric Commercial Finance from Cabot Square Capital LLP. Centric’s range of lending services to the SME marketplace will enable Shawbrook to extend its offer for credit-worthy businesses seeking finance to grow and expand. 

Shawbrook Annual report and accounts: highlights

  • Total lending as at  December 2013 of £1.4bn
  • Originations of £1bn in new loans to SMEs and consumers in the UK during 2013
  • New lending of over £700m to SMEs in that period
  • Increase in deposit base of £539m to £1.46bn
  • Regulatory capital increased by £58m to £143m
  • Total capital ratio of 17.3% at Group level 

Throughout 2013, Shawbrook has focused on the rapid organic growth of each of its business lines, maintaining its strong customer-focused philosophy as the bank has expanded. Over the last year the Bank has welcomed 44,000 new customers, now providing lending services to 52,000 customers and competitive savings products to over 40,000 customers.  

Each of Shawbrook’s specialist lending businesses delivered significant growth in 2013:

  • Commercial Property Lending grew by 170% to £541m (£201m in 2012)
  • Asset Finance grew by  28% to £447m (£349m 2012)
  • Secured Lending grew by 81% to £295m (£163m in 2012)
  • Consumer Lending, the youngest lending business, grew by 291% to £115m (£29m in 2012, its first year)
  • Centric Commercial Finance joins Shawbrook with over £200m of SME advances

Shawbrook supports its funding through retail and business deposits. New customer deposits of £730m in 2013 increased the retail deposit balance from £924m at December 2012 to £1.46bn at December 2013. 

Richard Pyman, CEO of Shawbrook Bank, said:
“2013 was a pivotal year for Shawbrook. Our specialist lending teams have focused on delivering a quality service with an unwavering emphasis on human underwriting and simple, straightforward processes. The result is outstanding organic growth across the business in 2013, and a significant rise in SME lending. We are in excellent shape for future growth in 2014 and beyond.” 

“The acquisition of Centric Commercial Finance is an exciting strategic move for Shawbrook. We can now offer SMEs a broader range of funding services to support their growth aspirations, and the move will enable Shawbrook to become an even more prominent business lending bank. Centric’s dedication to traditional customer service and tailored lending solutions fits very nicely with our own, and we have ambitious plans to grow the business under Shawbrook this year.”

John Onslow, Chief Executive of Centric Commercial Finance, said:    
“We are delighted to be part of the Shawbrook family. We have been seeking a partner to support our growth ambitions and have a strong owner in Shawbrook that will enable us to drive further business growth. This is a natural match, both in terms of our product offering and because we share the same values and customer service ethos in meeting the ambitions of SMEs in the UK.”End of article