Sesame Bankhall CEO George Higginson checks out

Chairman John Cowan and managing director Stephen Gazard have both been given expanded roles.

Jim Kelly, who has 30 years industry experience and has held senior roles with Lloyds Abbey Life, RBS and Aviva, has been appointed finance director. Cowan will continue to lead the SBG Board.

Gazard, who joined SBG 12 months ago as distribution director and became managing director in June. He will now report into Cowan and will take responsibility for leading the executive team. Pan Andreas and John Cupis will continue to work alongside Gazard to lead the wealth management and mortgage businesses within the group, also reporting to Cowan.

Cowan said: “SBG has successfully evolved into a leading financial services group that is well positioned for the future. We have worked hard to continually improve the value we offer to advisers to help them deliver and evidence quality outcomes for customers.

This includes significant investments in our technology and compliance infrastructure, which are now paying dividends. We continue to receive excellent support from our members, which we never take for granted. I am looking forward to working closely with Stephen Gazard and our strong management team as we deliver on our long-term strategy to help advisers build successful and sustainable businesses.

“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.”

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.”

Sesame was put up for sale by parent Friends Life in February 2013 with Barclays Investment Bank appointed to find potential buyers.

In June last year the FCA fined Sesame £6m for failing to ensure investment advice was suitable and for failings in the systems and controls that governed the oversight of its appointed representatives.

In October 2009, Sesame completed the acquisition of Bankhall and PMS from Skandia and rebranded as Sesame Bankhall.