Latest News

5 minutes with our new Commercial Director, Natalie Player and our Partnership Director, Debbie Ward

January 12, 2022 | Categorised in: ,

It’s been three months since our new Commercial Director, Natalie Player, and new Partnership Director, Debbie Ward, joined Ampla. So, we recently sat down with them both to find out why they joined Ampla, how they are getting on in their new roles, and what they like to do outside of work.

Q: What attracted you to Ampla Finance?

Debbie: I’ve spent a large part of my career working in litigation funding as a solicitor, and it certainly feels like home. Ampla has already made an impression on the market, and though it is a fairly new company, it’s a really exciting business to be on board with. There’s a really nice mix of people and everyone is incredibly supportive of each other.

With Richard himself joining as CEO relatively recently, I could see just how enthusiastic and ambitious he was about the business and where it was going. The business is willing to adapt and change to the market as it grows, and I think that should stand it in great stead to become the real market leader in the coming years.

Natalie: When Ampla offered me the opportunity to help further develop and expand its products, I thought that was a very exciting opportunity that I couldn’t turn down. As Debbie says, the business has particularly ambitious plans, which makes it a really exciting place to work.

Having worked in the litigation funding market previously, and also as a family solicitor, I am well positioned to find and understand what works and what could be improved from both the solicitor and lender perspectives. I feel that Ampla and our team here share in that commitment to improve what we can offer and with the business having the right products and approach, along with the right tech, it is gaining momentum in this market faster than anticipated.

Q: What are you doing in your new roles?

Debbie: I work as part of the business development team, dealing with solicitor clients, predominantly based in the Midlands and the North of England.

My job involves meeting individual solicitors and onboarding law firms with a view to fuelling Ampla’s growth. To put it plainly, solicitors need us when their clients do, and so our job is to build and maintain those relationships, so that when they have a client in need of support, we are at the forefront of their minds.

Natalie: I head up the business development team for family, and, with Finch Hare, look after our partners in London and the South of England. Each partner firm has a dedicated member of the team who is their first point of contact so that any matter or query can be progressed quickly. This level of service is a key part of the Ampla ethos and is mirrored across the business in all aspects of what we offer.

Following on from any feedback that comes out of those relationships, another key part of my role is driving the adaptation of the product to the current market, ensuring that it better fits what our partners and their clients need from us so that we are able to offer the best products and service in the market.

Q: You are both qualified solicitors, does that give you any unique skills or insights in your current roles?    

Debbie: Certainly having an understanding of the law and the core process behind the issues that clients face means we can quickly get to grips with the details of a case or any issues that arise and provide a soft decision on a potential loan application by reading between the lines when we don’t yet have a full application. It also provides reassurance to solicitors that between us, and Nigel Shepherd, at Ampla we have a deep and wide-ranging understanding of family law and the priorities of family lawyers.

Natalie: Having a family law background, and having been in practice, means we have direct experience of what our partner solicitors are going through during a case and consequently what they need from Ampla. This means we effectively act as a middleman between what the client and solicitor need and balance that with the risk and lending criteria in place at Ampla.

Q: How have you found your first couple of months at Ampla?

Natalie: I’ve loved my time at Ampla so far. Having moved from quite a big corporation to a young scale-up, it’s been great to see openness applied across the business and how everyone is such a valued member of the team. We all work very closely together which means that enquiries or applications can be moved along very quickly which is a great result for all.

Debbie: I’ve also thoroughly enjoyed my first few months with the business. I’d totally agree with Natalie that everyone is so supportive of each other and works incredibly well together as a team. It’s really important to me to work for an organisation that has this approach, where all employees make an important contribution every day.

Q: Are there any goals that you’d like to achieve in your new roles?

Natalie: As a business, we have great financial backing and there’s a real desire to expand and become the primary lender within our market. We are already on that trajectory and with our flexible and reactive approach to market developments, are looking forward to moving into that space.

The priority for me is to ensure that we continue to prioritise providing excellent customer service and tailoring our products where needed to better suit our clients’ needs, which will stand us in good stead to be the leaders in this market.

Debbie: As a team, we want to be the best provider of legal finance in the marketplace, and the go-to-company that solicitors think of before any others.

Q: And finally, what do you like to do away from life at Ampla?

Natalie: Although I spend most of my time at the moment running after my toddler, I love to play tennis or go hiking when I can. I’m also a yoga instructor although my students are primarily my long-suffering family!

Debbie: I spend quite a bit of time in the gym trying to stay fit. I also do a lot of reading and, as a family, we go out walking a lot, normally followed by a large Sunday dinner that ruins it all!