Comment: Plots, pitches – and our take on private banking

Culture and sport give so many of us great joy and a much-needed outlet, says Hartop.''Picture: Stewart Attwood'.
Culture and sport give so many of us great joy and a much-needed outlet, says Hartop.''Picture: Stewart Attwood'.
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We feel very privileged at Hampden & Co to have Charlotte Square as the headquarters of the private bank we launched in 2015.

One of Edinburgh’s iconic squares, it was integral to the design of the city’s 18th century Georgian New Town and is an established home to Edinburgh’s financial services industry.

And, having taken part in Social Bite’s inaugural Sleep Out on the square in December 2016, I feel I now know the place better than many!

At the weekend, the Edinburgh International Book Festival opened its doors on Charlotte Square for another year and we are proud to be supporting an event that has grown in reputation and stature since 1983. Like so many institutions in Edinburgh and Scotland, the Book Festival illustrates how we can build great things from a relatively small base. Around 250,000 people will attend it this year, from every corner of the world, to hear in person from authors from across the globe; to hear about the written word via the spoken word.

This Thursday, we are supporting Ian Rankin’s much-anticipated address in the New York Times Main Theatre, where the esteemed Scottish author is expected to talk about his most recent works and hint at what is to come.

In his 2007 novel Exit Music, Rankin writes: “It seemed to him a very Edinburgh thing. Welcoming, but not very.” More than a decade on, our banking team looks forward to giving our clients, associates and friends an unequivocally warm welcome on the night.

Literature and culture are important to us, as they are to many of the individuals who choose to bank with Hampden & Co. In fact, we have a number of writers and artists who bank with us purely because of the flexibility we are able to provide in a profession where income streams can be irregular and the high-street banks find it difficult to compute; a situation that can be particularly pronounced when seeking a mortgage.

The world of sports is another area of society that we like to get behind, both in terms of sponsoring teams and events, and through established and budding sports figures bringing their banking needs to our team.

We have many sporting connections and we are set to announce a main sponsor slot in a forthcoming international football conference in Edinburgh. Culture and sport give so many of us great joy and a much-needed outlet from busy lives. Both have a symbiotic relationship with business and, when brought together with thought and care, the sum can be much greater than the parts. So too are culture and sport seen as increasingly important to our wellbeing. All work and no play, as the saying goes.

In June, Hampden & Co reported lending, deposits and income all up by double digits in 2018, demonstrating the demand for a truly personalised private banking service. Of course, it is equally important that we can combine a traditional service, sadly lacking across most of the banking sector in 2019, with technological advances that improve the customer experience for our clients. Along these lines, we enhanced our digital banking service and mobile app at the beginning of the year.

As we move into the second half of the year, we continue to grow lending, deposits and income.

We are also growing headcount in Edinburgh and London, and we are proud of the team we have built. It is encouraging that a number of our hires are coming from the private banking establishment, a sign that our personal approach to private banking appeals as much to employees as it does to clients.

Finally, as the Edinburgh Festivals are now in full swing, I hope you all take a chance to enjoy the many different and wonderful opportunities that our city has to offer.

Graeme Hartop, chief executive at Hampden & Co