New chair and refreshed board for South West Investment Group as it looks to the future

January 12, 2023

Regional alternative finance lender South West Investment Group (SWIG) has made a number of changes to its board, including appointing former World Bank lead economist Christine Allison as its new chair.

Christine, pictured, who was also a special advisor to the Treasury Select Committee, takes over from Richard Coombs, who had been in the role for almost 10 years. 

Also joining the refreshed board are David Brown, SWIG Capital director and CEO of lending platform Folk2Folk, former mergers & acquisitions partner at PwC and Virtu Capital Group Chris Butters,  Rebecca Pritchard, former head of business banking at Bristol-headquartered ethical bank Triodos UK, and Bill Baker, a former HSBC executive.

SWIG said the changes would modernise and improve its governance, including streamlining the existing boards of subsidiaries SWIG Capital and SWIG Finance, with the SWIG board becoming the main board overseeing an ambitious growth agenda.

SWIG Finance is a non-profit company that supports viable South West businesses that cannot secure sufficient funding from their bank.

By empowering underserved SMEs to overcome their financial barriers, it works to create a more balanced financial ecosystem.

In 2021/22 it lent £10.8m to 502 businesses, helping create and secure more than 1,000 jobs and generate £32.3m. 

SWIG Capital is SWIG’s fund holding arm responsible for holding the capital of the funds, procuring fund managers and monitoring and reporting on their performance to the group board.

Christine, who has been a director of SWIG and chair of SWIG Finance for the past two years, said: “Significant board changes have been necessary to ensure that the board reflects the forward-thinking company that the South West Investment Group is today.

“I am delighted to be leading the refreshed board, and together with the staff of SWIG will work to see SWIG grow its market share and support more SMEs with their finance needs.

“Over the years, we have relied on our experienced and knowledgeable board members to help lead SWIG through some challenging times.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has played a part in helping SWIG become the growing and ambitious business that it is today.”

Prior to joining SWIG, Christine spent more than 20 years with the World Bank in Washington DC, was a fellow of the London-based Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation and a special advisor to the Treasury Select Committee.

She is also a director of the South West Business Council.

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