Our Journey

The business was established in 1989 by CEO Jo Haigh to provide corporate finance services for owner-managed and privately-owned businesses across the country.

As with all the best businesses, Jo started working from her back bedroom using an associate's model to fulfil the quickly growing order book. As the business developed Jo teamed up with local accountants both in Yorkshire and London to better enable her to provide a national service and extend her portfolio of skills. In 1990 Jo opened her first small office in a tiny Yorkshire village just outside of Huddersfield.

The volume of work continued to grow, even in the midst of a recession, and saw Jo and her team work with some of the best owner-managed and privately-owned businesses in the country. The work involved supporting clients through critical strategic changes, sales, acquisitions and fundraising.

Alongside supporting businesses through growth and development, a specialist director training division was created in 1999 and Jo and her colleagues began to take on numerous non-executive director and mentoring roles.

In July 2011 Poonam Kaur, currently Managing Director, joined the business as a senior corporate finance executive. This was the game-changer as this gave Jo the comfort to take the business to the next level but also challenged her in thinking differently and strategically giving Jo space and confidence to concentrate on business development.

The company prides itself on its avant-garde premises, branding and ethos. fds provides a bespoke service in line with each client’s needs or requirements to achieve their objectives on their journey.

In business not every project is the same and fds understands the seriousness of this, but the purpose is to make your journey simple, enjoyable and fun.

By 2012, it was clear that larger premises were required to suit the high-growth business development strategy that was implemented by Poonam. The premises needed to suit the business philosophy, of being ‘different from the rest’. As a result, a rundown Georgian property in the centre of Wakefield in West Yorkshire was bought and completely refurbished. This was to be the new Northern head office. At the same time, the company teamed up with a Birmingham based accountant and wealth management business, thereby giving national coverage to support the London presence.

The company continued to grow and by 2014 it was evident that the business was no longer just a corporate finance organisation. To support this step-change several high calibre graduates were employed to satisfy the developing skillset required; these included management, research and design talent. This team of young and ambitious people have allowed the company to enhance its portfolio of services even further.

In 2020, Jo passed ownership of the business to Poonam and the existing team, as part of the company’s succession planning. Jo passed on the opportunity to exit the business via a traditional trade sale and favour an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT) as she wanted the values and DNA to remain with the business post-exit. Jo also wanted to reward the team who have helped build the business and will be the next generation of the company.

Employees now have ownership in the business through the EOT. The EOT also has a trustee board that has final control over the operation of the business.

Jo remains as CEO and retains a small amount of shares in the business, but the EOT is the main shareholder.

The company engages with businesses at every stage of their journey, often embarking on relationships that last for many years.

We know small/medium businesses are the backbone of the British economy and whatever the political landscape, we want to provide owner-managed businesses, private companies and not-for-profit organisations with a trusted and valuable resource that can help them succeed and will support them on their business journey.

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We are here to support you on your business journey. If you, or your company require specialist business support, the fds Journey Planner can help point you in the right direction.

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