Manchester and Leeds-based rating specialist Dunlop Heywood has recruited Alistair Russell as director of investment.
Russell will service clients across both offices but be based day-to-day in Leeds. Dunlop Heywood said staff numbers have grown from 12 to 28 in the past six months.
The Manchester team is in the process of searching for larger offices to accommodate rising staff numbers and the Leeds team has effectively doubled in size since it opened in 2010.
Russell was a director of Jones Lang LaSalle until the end of November 2005, before leaving to work as a consultant for the Evans Property Group and Town Centre Securities. He latterly worked as investment director of GL Hearn in London but wanted to move back to the North.
He said: "I have been looking to find a base back in the North for some time. The market for professional property services is consolidating with the big getting bigger and the choice of suppliers reducing. The opportunity for Dunlop Heywood is to own the middle ground as a national player focused on the UK. We are independent, not run by remote foreign entities or disparate shareholders, and we know strong client servicing and truly valuing your client relationships are the key to our continued success.
"The market itself has been turned on its head in the past three years but it hasn't stopped. We need to do things differently and be more creative in our strategies and deal making. In my time in London you would hardly think there had been a recession.
"We need to work harder at re-balancing the perception of North and South. I want to promote the North aggressively in these difficult times; to push the market on and help our clients achieve their ambitions and objectives. The lack of finance continues to be a challenge and while this is unlikely to change in the immediate future, it is incumbent on us locally to create the business environment and confidence to attract what investment is available."
Stuart Hicks, managing director of Dunlop Heywood, said: "Alistair brings a wealth of experience with him at a time when we are managing our expansion nationally. He was keen to get back to the coal face of deal making and be involved in a company where the client comes first and the business is driven by overall client service, not disparate business lines. And that is exactly how we work."