Dow Schofield Watts has set up a new corporate debt advisory business to provide turnaround and refinancing services to distressed firms that are worried about their future funding prospects.

It will be headed by former Ernst & Young corporate restructuring senior executive Joanne Dodd, 34, and Paula Jones, 39, who has joined after spending the past 14 years at Royal Bank of Scotland’s specialised lending services division — the department that deals with the bank’s problem debts.

James Dow, founder of Daresbury-based DSW, said the current trading environment would provide opportunities for the new business. “We pride ourselves in providing a partner-led service delivered by experienced people like Joanne and Paula. We need to be accessible to provide businesses with the necessary support.”

Phil Tarimo, who set up Deloitte’s debt advisory team in Manchester prior to starting South African bank Investec’s acquisition finance division earlier this year, said the decision made sense. “If you go back to when we set up the debt advisory team at Deloitte we were the first people to do it and not everyone bought into it but now they’ve all started to jump on the bandwagon,” he said.

He added that advisors and clients had begun to appreciate the value in having former bankers on their side of the table when negotiating a deal with either their incumbent bank or a potential new lender.

“It’s still a great market and I don’t think you can to offer a full corporate advisory service without it,” said Tarimo.

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Source: Crain’s Manchester Business