Key Personnel

James Heald Dip Cll Managing Director

Prior to starting his career in recruitment, James was a Corporate Insurance Broker for a leading national intermediary, where he obtained the Dip CII qualification. From there, he went on to work for a national recruitment consultancy, specialising in General Insurance, after which in 2008, he fulfilled his personal dream of setting up his own business: Aston Charles. He has a wealth of experience in recruiting across all areas of the General Insurance industry, but in particular, specialises in the insurer market, which includes composites, MGAs and Lloyd’s Syndicates. James keeps abreast of industry developments by regularly attending insurance lectures, seminars and networking events, and still has many friends in the industry with whom he can ‘talk shop.’ Outside of work, when he’s not looking after his 2 young sons, James enjoys writing and playing music; he’s a published songwriter, and enjoyed a short-lived career in the music industry in his youth. He also ‘enjoys’ circuit training and learning to play golf.

Richard Jones Director

Richard started his career working for a large insurer, encompassing both claims handling and sales, where he was recognised as Sales Person of the Year in 2005. Shortly after this, he decided to take the plunge and pursue his dream career in recruitment, joining an Executive Headhunting firm as a General Insurance Search & Selection Consultant. Richard joined Aston Charles in 2009, and was appointed to the Board within 2 years, where he now tends to focus on the broking market and Credit Insurance arena. With an impressive amount of team moves, broker acquisitions and Director / C Suite placements to his name, Richard clearly excels with the Aston Charles’ higher profile assignments. In his spare time, he enjoys running, a good book, cooking, and whenever possible, walking in his native Lake District or Yorkshire Dales.

Allan Parker Cert Cll Director

Allan joined the insurance industry from leaving school, spending 11 years in the Sales department of a national broker. He enjoyed a number of promotions during his tenure, and won a variety of accolades including Sales Person of the Year and Team Manager of the Year. He then spent 2 years working for the General Insurance Division of a well-known recruitment brand, after which he joined Aston Charles in 2010, becoming a Director in 2014. Allan focuses on a range of roles, from Administration through to Board-level appointments, in both the insurer and broker markets. He has a vast number of contacts from his previous insurance career and an impressive network of passive candidates. Away from the office, Allan tends to follow any sport available (particularly Football), although these days, admittedly, this is done more from the ‘local’ than on the field!

Saraya Fawcett Senior Consultant - Claims, Risk & Insurance

Like many of her contemporaries in insurance, Saraya initially stumbled across the industry quite by chance, securing her first broking role with Heath Lambert (A.J. Gallagher). A real ‘people person’ with a flair for trading, Saraya certainly possessed all the credentials to forge a career in insurance and progress, rapidly becoming a Team Leader, and working on a number of Head Office Projects. Seeking a new challenge within the insurance market, Saraya decided to turn her hand to recruitment, and joined Aston Charles in 2011. She is now our resident Claims & Risk Consultant, focusing predominantly on the North of England, however, Saraya is finding her expertise increasingly being called upon nationally for a range of assignments including Claims Executives, Loss Adjusters and Risk Managers. A self-confessed ‘Petrol Head’, Saraya enjoys fast cars, riding her motorbike, following British Super Bikes and MotoGP.

Leo Charlton Consultant - EMEA (Re)Insurance & Banking

Leo began his career in recruitment as a graduate from the University of Leeds. Two years after establishing a firm network of dedicated Actuarial and Finance professionals in the German and Swiss (Re)Insurance markets, he joined Aston Charles to set up a Continental European desk. Leo now caters for recruitment for SME’s and large multinationals across a variety of disciplines such as Actuarial, Underwriting, Finance, Sales, Claims and Analytics – in Western Europe. He enjoys speaking with driven professionals with a broad range of experience, from graduates with a couple of years’ in industry, up to and including C-level members. Outside of recruitment, Leo enjoys creating music (he plays the piano and guitar) and film. He acts and directs – his own work for the latter – with a local arts centre, and enjoys alpine skiing throughout Europe.

Ben Christmas Senior Consultant – Financial Services

Ben began his Financial Services career working for a national IFA Network, where he quickly established himself as a key part of the Sales Team. After 3 very successful years, he joined Aston Charles in the summer of 2011, tasked with setting up its specialist Financial Services Division. He works with clients and candidates throughout the whole of the UK, with a strong presence within the IFA market, in particular. Having effectively completed assignments across advice, compliance, paraplanning/ admin, as well as multiple senior appointments, Ben has a range of experience at all levels. Away from the rigours of Financial Services recruitment, Ben has a real passion for sport, especially football; notably a keen follower of a certain team in red. Having also competed at a representative level in cricket during his school days, Ben now plays for a small village team in a local league.

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