How Hampden & Co is using the personal touch - comment

Hampden & Co came into 2020 following a strong 2019 and we followed this up with a robust first quarter.

We have bankers on board who have been through previous economic crises, says the CEO. Picture: Stewart Attwood. All images © Stewart Attwood Photography 2018. All other rights are reserved. Use in any other context is expressly prohibited without prior permission. No Syndication Permitted.

Our recently reported annual results reflected this and, on the date of our annual general meeting at the end of May, Simon Miller officially joined the bank as chairman, effectively rejoining the team as he helped found Hampden & Co in 2010.

Miller has been Brewin Dolphin’s chairman since 2013, overseeing a period of sustained growth during his tenure at one of the UK’s leading wealth management firms. His appointment brings a considerable amount of knowledge and experience to our leadership team.

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We are now in our sixth year of trading as a UK private bank, with offices and teams located in both Edinburgh and London. In our annual results announcement at the end of April, we reported strong business growth in both deposits and lending and an expansion into the mortgage intermediary market, particularly in relation to complex mortgages for high-net-worth individuals.

Hartop highlights his leadership of Scottish Widows Bank during the 2008 financial crisis. Picture: Stewart Attwood. All images © Stewart Attwood Photography 2018. All other rights are reserved. Use in any other context is expressly prohibited without prior permission. No Syndication Permitted.

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Edinburgh-based private bank Hampden & Co bullish after ‘strong year’

At the beginning of 2019, we launched our mobile digital banking app as a service to clients and we actively hired throughout the year, including the appointment of chief commercial officer Andrew Bell who joined from Aegon Asset Management. We have also added to our banking team with new hires in both our Edinburgh and London offices.

A significant operating highlight towards the end of last year was the acquisition of Smith & Williamson’s £31 million loan book after the financial services group decided to relinquish its banking licence. Where possible, we will look to add further growth by acquisition when value-add opportunities present themselves.

In April of this year, the bank’s cornerstone shareholders invested a further £7.1m to support continued growth and to meet ongoing costs and regulatory requirements. It is the intention that other shareholders will have the opportunity to participate on similar terms towards the end of this year.

Addressing challenges

Like so many businesses across the nation, our clients and our team have now been dealing with the Covid-19 crisis for several months. In common with the rest of the banking industry, we are now addressing the knock-on financial crisis, which is anticipated to be as significant as that of 2008. At that time, I was at the helm of Scottish Widows Bank and we face similarly challenging times in our economy this time around.

In a time of financial crisis, we believe the ability to be able to discuss banking arrangements with experienced bankers who have been through this type of situation before is invaluable. We have bankers on board who have been through previous economic crises and are able to help clients through the current issues they face.

The Bank of England’s base rate has reduced to an all-time low of 0.1 per cent and that is affecting our clients, as well as our own business. We are supporting clients in the face of the outbreak in a number of different ways, ranging from providing liquidity and payment deferrals to refinancing loans. We have also been able to help individuals who have been relocating back to the UK from overseas.

These are all areas where people are telling us they are having issues with the bigger banks. As a result, we are experiencing an upswing in new clients as people migrate accounts and loans from other lenders.

Our commitment to clients is our absolute focus and what we describe as relationship banking. While this is quite a traditional approach to banking, we do this in a modern way.

Our bankers have a vast amount of industry experience and the service they provide is complemented by digital banking for those that want both a personal service and a digital one. Unlike the bigger banks, we will never use technology to replace the personal, one-to-one service that clients receive at Hampden & Co.

Graeme Hartop, CEO, Hampden & Co.

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