Our Experts

Diversity by design

Self-directed retirement funding comes with complexities. After all, that’s why we’re in business. We educate business owners, franchisees, and referral partners about the legitimacy of using 401(k)s and other retirement vehicles to fund business ventures.

To do just that we’ve put together a diverse team with perfectly complementary skills ranging from tax law and accounting, to franchise operations and development, to small business lending and underwriting. Constantly committed to refining our services—directINVEST, directEDUCATE and directENDORSE—for the lending environment, we also work to facilitate change and progress in the small business industry.

In fact, Directed Equity worked with the Small Business Administration to change the standard operating procedures to accommodate self-directed 401(k) funding, an empowering form of financing that has helped us provide over $70 million in funding and create over 5,600 jobs each year. Ask the 98% of satisfied customers we work with, and many will use terms like seasoned pros; small and efficient; honest, straightforward and transparent; and wholly education and relationship focused to describe our team. See if you agree.

Mark Challis

Mark co-founded Directed Equity, Inc. in 2004 out of his passion to assist entrepreneurs through the sometimes-complex territory of financing their businesses. He chose to pursue the challenges of the franchise industry after serving as president, CEO, CFO and general counsel for several multinational franchisors. Mark is also a successful tax attorney, and while working for Ernst & Young and Price Waterhouse, provided complex tax consulting services on mergers, acquisitions and corporate restructuring for some of the largest companies in the world. He has an advanced legal degree, LL.M. in Taxation, from the University of Denver; his Juris Doctorate from the University of Missouri; and bachelor’s degrees in accounting and management.

Bill Thomas

Vice President
With more than 26 years in franchising, Bill’s experience encompasses all aspects of franchise operations and franchise development. Before coming to Directed Equity, he worked with franchisees at Big O Tires, Pearle Vision, Motophoto, Packaging Store and ComputerLand. Bill’s most unique advantage is that he understands both sides of the franchise model: He has both owned and operated a franchise brokerage business while investing in Round Table Pizza as a franchisee. Bill earned his degree in business administration at California State University – Hayward.

Contact Bill


Director of Lending Relations
Information coming soon