Bluestone Group, announced late on Tuesday that Peter McGuinness will fill the previously vacant role of group CEO, with immediate effect.
Bluestone’s founder and executive chairman Alistair Jeffery will continue to be actively engaged in the business on a part-time basis as non-executive chairman, splitting his time between Bluestone's head office in Cambridge, UK, and its regional head office in Sydney, and focusing on further expansionary strategies for Bluestone in the region.
“Under Alistair’s leadership Bluestone has developed a clear vision for the next five years’ growth, and I am looking forward to drawing on my 13 years’ experience with Bluestone and taking on the challenge of executing that plan,” Mr McGuiness said.
“Campbell [Smyth] and I have worked together previously, and I am confident that he will continue to deliver the strong growth trajectory for Bluestone in Australasia.”
Campbell Smyth will continue to run regional operations for Bluestone as CEO - APAC, reporting to Mr McGuiness.
Commenting on the move, Mr Jeffery said that Mr McGuinness was the ideal candidate, combining fine accounting and structured finance skills with deep operational experience in the specialist lending sector.
After working with Mr Jeffery at Japanese investment bank Nomura International in the nineties, Mr McGuiness joined Bluestone in 2003 to establish its equity release business, before taking on the role of CFO, and then CEO - APAC in the aftermath of the financial crisis.
He joined Mr Jeffery in the UK in 2012 and has led their successful expansion into car and equipment finance in Ireland, and mortgage lending in the UK.
Bluestone is now significantly larger than its pre-crisis peak, with a global workforce of over 260 in four countries, net assets of $68 million and normalised earnings of over $13 million a year.
Bluestone is 53 per cent owned by LDC, the private equity arm of Lloyds Bank, and 14 per cent by Macquarie Bank, with the balance held by the management team and staff.
The business has stuck to its pedigree of providing specialist loan products to customers that don't fit traditional lending criteria. This niche was significantly impacted during the crisis but is making a steady return to the mainstream, as traditional lenders focus on high volume, automated and commoditised lending.
Bluestone lends to the self-employed, recent migrants, contractors and part time workers, and customers that have had prior credit problems. Since 2000, the group has lent over $6 billion to the sector.
The business has active capital markets programs supporting its lending businesses in Australia, Ireland and the UK, most recently placing $200 million of rated notes to largely domestic investors in Australia.