Comment: Private bank offering paid dividends in past year

We know there is great interest for a relationship-driven banking model, says Hartop. Picture: Stewart Attwood
We know there is great interest for a relationship-driven banking model, says Hartop. Picture: Stewart Attwood
Have your say

In many ways, the festive season really is the most wonderful time of the year. And, as a business, it’s an opportune time to reflect on some of the highlights of the year gone by while looking ahead to 2019. 2018 marked Hampden & Co’s third year of full trading as the UK’s newest private bank, with the business growing from both our Edinburgh and London offices.

An oversubscribed £15 million capital raise at the beginning of the year was a great start for our team on the back of a solid financial performance in 2017. While strong numbers are clearly important when it comes to a banking operation, we have been even more pleased with some of our non-financial results over the last 12 months.

The greatest of these has been the response we have had from our clients. They gave us a Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 71, which we believe means we are to the fore of the private banking sector in the UK in terms of overall client satisfaction. Our clients have told us that the personal, professional service we offer and the ability to tailor this to each client individually is the main reason why so many have been prepared to recommend us.

We also think that by focusing on providing a high quality banking service, unlike many of our competitors who also offer wealth management and investment advice, we have a focus that marks us out from the crowd. At the same time, we are continuing to build a strong network of best-in-class professional service providers that can be easily accessed by our client base and have also been happy to recommend their clients to us.

Strategic hires, including from the UK’s oldest private bank, C Hoare & Co, have demonstrated a commitment to adding expertise and experience to our banking team, while a “Private Bank of the Year (UK)” award against stiff competition at Spear’s Wealth Management awards last month was a sign that our endeavours are not going unnoticed in the sector.
High street banks, including those who offer private banking services, do not always meet the ever-changing needs of individuals who are looking for a service that is much more bespoke. Our clients are telling us that they want a traditional service and they like having a bank where they are individually recognised. While technology-enabled banking services like Monzo have achieved success by creating something new, we know there is also great interest for a traditional, relationship-driven model that is underpinned by the close contact developed between our private bankers and their clients.

In the face of current industry trends that have led to many lenders making it increasingly difficult for first-time buyers to break into the property market, we have identified a strong demand for guarantor mortgages. In a similar vein, bridging loans have all but disappeared from most banks but, recognising the key role they play for many families, we still provide them. Trust funds are another area in which we are finding pent-up demand.

Of course, the ongoing uncertainty created by Brexit means many of our clients feel that times are more turbulent than usual. For us, we do not foresee a material impact from Brexit because we primarily provide banking services in the UK. However, we remain on hand to discuss different scenarios surrounding Brexit.

As we look ahead to 2019, we do so with a level of healthy optimism. We are set to launch our mobile banking app in January and will be participating in the RBS Incentivised Switching programme later in the first quarter. Under this scheme, RBS will be introducing some of their business banking clients to us. For now, we wish our clients, our team, and our many partners across Scotland and the UK a very happy festive season and best wishes for the New Year.

- Graeme Hartop, chief executive of Hampden & Co