About

NEL Fund Managers is an employee owned fund management company, committed to providing tailored funding solutions to small and medium-sized businesses right across the North East of England.

We have an extremely strong and dedicated team who have helped hundreds of North East businesses achieve sustainable success over the years, and we’re actively looking to support yet more companies with strong management teams and robust plans for the future.

We’re passionate about business and have committed ourselves to investing in the future of enterprise by devoting a percentage of our profits to a charitable trust. Through The NEL Project, we’ve forged a long-term partnership with the Prince’s Trust to help support the development of the next generation of skilled workers and entrepreneurs.

Since NEL was founded in 1989 we’ve managed 15 funds with a combined value of over £90m. These funds have been used to strengthen the local economy by funding over 750 business plans, creating and/or safeguarding thousands of jobs, and attracting millions of pounds of further private investment in every part of our region.

Our Team

Barrie Hensby

Barrie Hensby, Chairman

Barrie Hensby joined NEL Fund Managers in 1991 as Chief Executive; a role he performed until March 2015 whereupon he took up the role of Chairman. He has over 25 years’ experience of investing equity and mezzanine debt into the SME market with NEL, and as Senior Investment Manager with Yorkshire Fund Managers Limited (YFM).

Before joining NEL, he was Managing Director of two Berisford Bristar plc small and medium companies involved in food manufacturing and packaging.

With a degree in chemical engineering he joined Shell, re-training as a petroleum engineer and worked in the Far East and the UK, before becoming Group Economist for Ocean Group plc after obtaining his MBA. He has also run his own business in both manufacturing and consultancy.

Barrie is a Chartered Director (C.Dir) and Corporate Financier (CF).


Yvonne Gale, Chief Executive Officer

Yvonne Gale has worked at NEL Fund Managers for over 10 years in varying roles and was appointed as Chief Executive in 2015.

Yvonne is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, holds a DBA, MBA, IOD Diploma in Company Direction and is an FCA approved person. Dr Gale’s area of research is investment decision making.

Prior to joining NEL Fund Managers in 2002, she qualified as a Chartered Accountant with a national accountancy firm and held senior management positions in several high growth businesses. She brings a wealth of experience to the team of investing in high growth businesses.


Abigail Cook, Administrative Assistant

Abigail Cook joined NEL Fund Managers in 2017 as Administrative Assistant.

Her role involves providing support to the whole team. She is currently working towards an NVQ in business administration.


Dave Thomas

David Thomas, Investment Manager

David Thomas re-joined NEL Fund Managers as Investment Executive in May 2010 and progressed to Investment Manager in February 2016. He previously held roles as Investment Executive and Financial Analyst for almost four years to September 2007. As Investment Manager, David is responsible for the Investment Team and for sourcing and executing investment transactions.

David is a Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, an FCA Approved person and holds the ICAEW CF Qualification. Prior to joining NEL, David held roles in accounting practice, specialising in audit, and in industry in a large regional construction company and an international retail, leisure and catering business.


Dawn Chambers

Dawn Chambers, Corporate Accountant

Dawn Chambers re-joined NEL Fund Managers in October 2012. She previously held the role of Financial Analyst for three years to December 2006 before taking a career break. As Corporate Accountant, Dawn is responsible for assisting in the production of monthly management accounts; budgets and other duties within the Operations Department.

Dawn is a Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. Prior to joining NEL, Dawn held roles in accounting practice, specialising in audit and tax.


Donna Walker

Donna Walker, Portfolio Analyst

Donna Walker joined NEL Fund Managers in 1995 and has worked in a variety of roles across the Company.

In her current role of Portfolio Analyst, she is responsible for the collection and analysis of investee financial information. She is also responsible for preparing reports on the performance of the investees and Funds under Management to the Board of NEL, Fund Investors and other stakeholders.

Donna studied business at Northumbria University, achieving a First Class Honours Degree.


Jane Heneghan

Jane Heneghan, Finance and HR Coordinator

Jane Heneghan joined NEL Fund Managers in December 2002. She is responsible for NEL’s HR functions, staff training and development, and health and safety matters. Jane is also responsible for the production of monthly management accounts for NEL and various funds. Additionally, Jane carries out other duties within the Operations Department, including assisting with company secretarial, statutory and compliance issues.

She is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and gained a Distinction in her Certificate in Personnel Practice. She is also a Member of the Association of Accounting Technicians (MAAT).


Jane Siddle

Jane Siddle, Investment Executive

Jane Siddle joined NEL Fund Managers in October 2007. She qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1992, working in practice in a variety of roles up until 2001 where she specialised in corporate finance and related matters. As Investment Executive she is responsible for sourcing and executing investment transactions.

Prior to joining NEL she worked in various fund management roles in South Yorkshire and is FCA approved.


Jonathan Luke

Jonathan Luke, Portfolio Manager

Jonathan Luke joined NEL Fund Managers in January 2004, having previously been employed by NatWest for 18 years in a number of senior commercial lending roles. As Portfolio Manager, Jonathan is responsible for the management of NEL’s Funds and is also the primary relationship manager for a number of portfolio companies.

Jonathan is an FCA Approved Person.


Mark Wharton, Portfolio Executive

Mark Wharton joined NEL Fund Managers in March 2017 after a career in banking that had spanned nearly three decades, the vast majority of this having been spent in relationship roles within the corporate and commercial banking sectors. As portfolio executive, his role involves acting as primary relationship manager for many of the portfolio companies.


Mike Guellard, Investment Executive

Mike Guellard joined NEL Fund Managers in July 2016. He holds separate degrees in Politics and Law from Nottingham University and has spent the duration of his career to date working to support growing SMEs with fund raising requirements. As Investment Executive he is responsible for sourcing and executing investment transactions.

Prior to joining NEL Mike worked in various client facing roles across the North East and London in both advisory and executive capacities.


Steven Iley

Steven Iley, IT Manager

Steven Iley joined NEL Fund Managers in 1997 on a placement year while at Northumbria University, then continued part time until the completion of his degree course. He is responsible for all aspects of the Company’s IT and Telecommunications, and he has created a number  bespoke systems to manage pre-investment work flow, deal structure, compliance, post-investment monitoring and payment collections.


Suzanne Smith

Suzanne Smith, Marketing Executive

Having joined NEL Fund Managers in January 2007, Suzanne Smith has gone on to graduate from Teesside University in 2013 with a degree in Business, and has recently gained her Diploma in Professional Marketing through the Chartered Institute of Marketing .

Suzanne is responsible for marketing within NEL. She also assists the investment team in all aspects of transaction administration and fund compliance.