Dealmakers with a difference

July 19, 2019

Leathers Corporate Finance is one of the newest and most exciting names in the region’s professional services market. However, while the name is fresh, the business is built on a broad and enviable background of deal experience and expertise. North East Times meets two of its founders, Abu Ali and Phil Williams, who discuss why their own experiences as entrepreneurs and business leaders have given them a unique perspective on the advice they offer

Few can argue the North East is a great place to live, work and thrive, and the same is true for the region’s business community. As home to some of the UK’s most resilient, innovative and adaptable businesses, the region continues to make waves around the world. With a thriving and fast-growing network of business leaders and entrepreneurs, the region has firmly made its mark as one of the UK’s leading destinations for collaboration, success and growth.

And with such a strong entrepreneurial community, the need for expert professional advisors to support and ignite the growth of these businesses has never been greater. Advisors who have empathy with business owners, build understanding and trust, share the ambition of their clients, and believe resolutely in long-term relationships.

This philosophy is at the heart of Leathers Corporate Finance. As the latest entrant to the North East’s financial services market, the business has immediately made its mark. The boutique practice was co-founded by two of the region’s leading dealmakers, both of whom have won awards for their work. Their partner-led approach and client-centric service offering has won plaudits from clients and peers alike.

Already in its first six months of business, Leathers Corporate Finance has been involved in a host of significant projects in the North East, offering advice to clients on a range of matters, including expansion strategies, business sales and fundraising for growth. The team works alongside nationally-regarded and multi-award-winning accountants, Leathers, and has Michael Leather as its executive chairman and co-founder.

Abu Ali, a seasoned corporate finance advisor, who has held senior roles in many of the North East’s leading financial firms, and Phil Williams, whose vast experience includes being head of corporate finance in one of the region’s leading PLCs, and most recently a successful spell as finance director in a fast-growing entrepreneurial business, share a passion for the North East, alongside a vision of creating an advisory business which focuses on understanding clients’ objectives and making them a reality.

“This is a fantastic place to be and we feel very lucky to have launched Leathers Corporate Finance in such a fertile region for business growth and enterprise,” says Phil. “We understand what starting and building a business takes because Abu and I have done that. I think that has given us another level of understanding about our clients and their businesses.

“The core of what we do revolves around our clients, offering them a personal and partner- led service, and our own experience of growing businesses helps us to connect with them even more.”

Phil continues: “We are proud of the fact that we are a partner-led business and the people our clients meet on day one – Abu and I – are the people with whom they will work throughout.

“That is a very important aspect of what we do and is at the heart of the trusting relationships we build.”

Executive chairman Michael Leather, who himself has worked in and around corporate finance transactions for over 30 years, is full of praise for Abu and Phil and their vision for the business.

“We have two young, dynamic and excellent regional advisors who are building a business, which, in its first six months, has established an identity and built client relationships that others can only aspire to.

“The drive and determination Abu and Phil have shown in getting Leathers Corporate Finance off the ground shows that as well as being first- rate corporate finance advisors, they are also outstanding business leaders, and that is to be admired,” he said.

“I started my own business nearly 30 years ago and it is only when you become an entrepreneur yourself that you truly understand the challenges that must be faced. This is crucial in building empathy, insight and understanding, which can be of huge value to our clients. Abu and Phil are creating something bold and ambitious and I am delighted to be supporting them every step of the way.”

Abu says: “We are a young and dynamic business with a different approach. We’re also committed to the region and that is our passion – regional advisors helping North East businesses to grow. We are specialists in our field and although Leathers Corporate Finance is a new name in the market, Phil and I have built significant experience over the years, which our clients can draw on every day.

“I think the fact we are hungry, ambitious and passionate is appealing to many businesses we work with – we are around for the long haul, we can be on the journey with them for the years ahead. The relationships we build with clients are built to last.”

That commitment to building long-standing relationships means Leathers Corporate Finance offers a service that extends far beyond just ‘doing the deal’.

Phil adds: “We get to know our clients and understand their business and their ambitions. We can support them with those crucial ‘transformational moments’ – which could be starting up, raising funding, expanding, making acquisitions or exiting – and we have a proven track record of delivering successful outcomes. We live and breathe this kind of work, and we believe passionately in the benefits of planning ahead.

“It is never too early to have those conversations about the future, and we are always happy to talk. We want to speak to business owners, management teams and entrepreneurs from all over the region about their ideas, plans and what comes next – our door is always open.”

Leathers Corporate Finance
For more information contact Phil or Abu at:
0191 224 6760

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