Locally-based self-made multimillionaire, Ruth Parasol, has helped to spearhead a brand new bank in the UK, called Recognise. The investment will be channelled through RG Advisors. It joins the two other cornerstone investors, DV4 and Max Barney.
Ms Parasol has a number of investments spread across the world, including a significant portfolio focused on London, the United States and Israel – plus a number of further boutique investments in various jurisdictions. Ms Parasol, 53, is worth about £780 million, according to The Sunday Times Rich List.
Recognise will be led by Jason Oakley, former managing director of commercial banking and mortgages at Metro Bank, with Philip Jenks, a former HBoS banker, as chairman, and Bryce Glover, former commercial director at Nationwide building society, as deputy chief executive.
Recognise has been created with the purpose of providing working capital in the form of commercial loans, plus tailored commercial property lending. The bank will be initially based in Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham and London in the form of regional hubs. Target lending customers will, of course, be businesses – sole traders, partnerships and limited companies – with a viable business plan, who have been trading profitably for at least two years, and are run by experienced owners and entrepreneurs.
Ms Parasol was one of four founders of Party Gaming, an online casino software pioneer. It merged with an Austrian rival, Bwin, in a £2 billion deal. Bwin was then bought by GVC Holdings, which owns Ladbrokes.
The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority has approved her £25 million overseas investment in the British embryonic lender and deposit-taker. It is one of the largest single commitments to the banking sector since the pandemic.
All Recognise’s processes and technology have been built around being able to offer a “private bank” style experience for SMEs. Traditional bank products often come in the form of “one size fits all”, which can be an inflexible approach in some instances that doesn’t reflect a specific business’s needs. Very often, SMEs are obliged to use online portals which automatically reject applications that don’t meet banks’ rigid criteria. This has especially been the case since 2008, and exacerbated by COVID.
It expects to receive its banking licence in the coming weeks. RG Advisors will be playing a full part in the bank’s strategy and success.