Doug joined the group in July 2019 and this is his fourth Private Equity backed business where he leads the firm as CEO. He arrives from My Home Move which he built to become the clear market leader in the conveyancing industry over the last 7 years before selling to a Private Equity buyer. He has a successful background in growing and selling private businesses in the financial and professional services sector with a strong focus on investment in people, technology and the strategic planning and activation needed to grow a business at scale. Doug leads the Optionis Group alongside its Private Equity partners; Sovereign Capital Partners.
Ifti Ahmed joined Optionis in January 2014 after spending 12 years at outsourcing giant Capita, where he played a key role in the delivery of several central and local government contracts. During his time at Capita he occupied senior roles including managing director (BPO) at Capita Insurance Services and, more recently, operations director with responsibility for the Capita Secure Border Services partnership with the Home Office.
A self-confessed football fanatic, Ifti is a Manchester City FC season ticket holder and coaches his local under-12s football team.
James joined Optionis in 2018 as the Director of Finance. He has a degree in Mathematics, Operational Research, Statistics and Economics from the University of Warwick and then qualified as Chartered Accountant in 2008 with BDO LLP. He has worked in Finance for over 14 years, including the last four as Group Financial Controller at Smith & Williamson a leading provider of investment management, accountancy and tax services.
Outside of work, James is a passionate supporter of the England Rugby team, enjoys spending time with his young family and when time allows playing golf.
Mark, former founder and MD of First Freelance, joined Optionis with the acquisition of First Freelance in March 2018 and is Chief Commercial Officer of the Optionis Group.
Mark’s in-depth understanding of the contractor market draws from over 10 years as a widely respected Operations, Financial and Managing Director within the sector.
Mark has overseen the tax, accounting, legal, operations and compliance for thousands of contractors over the years, as well as advising and working with many of the UK’s leading recruitment firms. He has an extensive knowledge of the tax and legislative landscape that affects contractors, agencies and end hirers.
Mark grew up in South Africa, speaks isiXhosa and is a passionate supporter of the Springbok rugby team!
Jonathan joined Optionis in 2020 as Chief Information Officer, responsible for Technology across the Business. He has a degree in Economics & Politics from Bristol University. Jonathan has worked in Technology for over 25 years, including PwC, Accenture, UBS Investment Bank, Barclays and most recently was the CIO of TMF Group a global provider of Business Services across 80 countries, including accounting, tax and payroll services.
Outside of work, Jonathan enjoys running a hobby farm with his family, open water swimming, cricket when the weather allows and chess when it doesn’t.
Neal has a background in retail and over 20 years’ experience in online shopping including the launch of Next Online and very.co.uk as eCommerce Director.
Over the past five years, Neal has built the My Home Move Conveyancing brand into a market leading direct to consumer business.
Karen started her career in banking with NatWest before moving into HR. She’s worked in a variety of sectors and for companies such as Associated British Foods, Anglo American, Rolls-Royce and Simplify often internationally.
Dawn is our Head of Service Delivery and is responsible for the operational management of Parasol, the group’s umbrella employment business and the centralised onboarding shared service for new accountancy clients across all brands in the Group. Leading a workforce of 65 staff, Dawn ensures that all our umbrella and accountancy contractors receive a first class experience. She joined the group in 2018 in a quality role; leading and managing all quality assurance activities across accountancy, umbrella and tax before taking over operational delivery for Parasol and Onboarding.
Dawn has over 20 years’ experience in senior leadership. Prior to joining Optionis Dawn’s career includes working for BT, Liverpool City Council and Lancashire County Council managing large, diverse teams and complex services.
Outside of work Dawn enjoys spending time with her family and friends socialising and going on holidays.
Ben joined Optionis in 2018 as the Group Head of Business Analytics. He’s worked in a diverse range of industries including telecoms, utilities and, more pertinently, has five years’ experience of the contractor accountancy arena. He has even enjoyed several years working as a contractor himself, so has a true understanding of what it’s like to work in this way. He is a firm believer in the benefits that analytics and data-driven decision making can bring to any business, even more so to those where data is at the heart of what they do, such as accountancy.
Out of work, Ben is a keen runner. He’s a qualified run leader, volunteering to lead social runs in Warrington, and has over 36 marathons under his belt with plenty more planned. He has a “secret” aspiration to make it into the ‘100 Marathon club’.
James joined Optionis in 2018 as the Director of IT. He’s worked in IT for over 15 years, including the last seven which he has spent as a Group Head of IS working more specifically within the contractor accountancy space. His experience also includes working for an outsourced professional services company, supporting businesses across the north west, and both the Public Sector and the Oil and Gas industry. At Optionis, James is responsible for the delivery of strategic initiatives to improve both the customer and user experiences, systems and IT infrastructure and processes.
Outside of work, James is a keen scuba diver, with his favourite dive being the wreck of the 10,000-ton MS Zenobia, which can be found off the coast of Cyprus.
SJD Accountancy and First Freelance
Tony joined SJD Accountancy in July 2016 and later joined Optionis in the 2017 Arkarius and Optionis merger.
Prior to joining SJD, Tony had been working as a contractor so knows first-hand what help and assistance our clients need. He has 29 years of experience within operations and senior management and has held a senior position at Barclay’s bank.
Kim joined the Optionis Group in November 2017 as our General Counsel across the group. It is Kim’s job to provide advice on all legal issues across the group and ensuring our procedures are up to date to coincide with legislative changes.
Kim is South African and moved to the UK in 2013. Outside of work, she likes to stay as active as possible by running and swimming and also loves to travel as much as possible.
Director of HR, Helen has over 15 years’ experience working in HR roles for various companies and has been at Optionis since 2005 so knows the business and our brands inside out. It is her job to ensure there is a people centric focus which supports the business to achieve their future goals and provides leadership to the HR team to ensure it is delivered effectively.
Outside of the office, Helen has her hands full with a young family and enjoys travelling and skiing.
Amy, Group Director of Sales at Optionis, is responsible for a sales team of 55 who work across the Parasol and ClearSky brands to ensure our potential clients receive the best advice at a pivotal point in their contractor careers. She joined the group in 2015 and was previously Head of Service delivery, leading and managing on key areas of operations across the group.
Before joining Optionis, Amy’s career includes working for BT and Liverpool City Council as Head of Corporate Services and Business Transformation.
Away from work, Amy can often be found at a beach or park with her husband and two young children. She is also heavily involved in her local evangelical church, where she leads the children’s teaching team and a women’s bible study group
Nixon Williams, Brian Alfred and ClearSky Business
A fellow member of the ACCA, Victoria is Director of Operations for a number of brands in the Optionis Group. She is responsible for managing all operational aspects and ensuring a high quality service is delivered to our clients. Before joining Optionis Victoria was Finance Director of the 1st Stop Group and has worked for Deloitte LLP and Grant Thornton LLP.
When not working, Victoria is a keen swimmer and is currently taking ice-skating lessons. She has a ten year old daughter who loves to dance and do gymnastics, so much of her time is spent watching dance shows and taking her daughter to rehearsals.