Private bank Weatherbys eyes expansion in Scotland

Private bank Weatherbys is planning to expand its Scottish presence on the back of increased levels of business it is seeing following the Brexit vote.

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Duncan Gourlay heads up the Scottish operation at Weatherbys. Picture: Greg MacveanDuncan Gourlay heads up the Scottish operation at Weatherbys. Picture: Greg Macvean
Duncan Gourlay heads up the Scottish operation at Weatherbys. Picture: Greg Macvean

The move by the bank, which caters for clients with a net worth of £3 million or an annual income of over £300,000, comes just weeks after it opened a new office in Edinburgh.

Duncan Gourlay, the former Barclays Wealth private banker who heads up Weatherbys’ Scottish operation, said there had been a “flurry of interest” following the Brexit vote from overseas buyers looking to invest in Scotland.

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Family-owned Weatherbys moved into the Scottish market in 2013 and Gourlay said: “After a cautious entry into the highly competitive Scottish market, I am pleased to report that our distinctive private banking offer has allowed us to stand out from our peers.

“To cope with burgeoning demand, we plan to grow our team as we accelerate the business.”

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Weatherbys, one of only two remaining family-owned and managed banks active in the UK, offers a private banking service including current accounts, deposits lending and foreign exchange.

The seventh-generation company recently reported pre-tax profits of £7.53 million for 2015, up 22 per cent on 2014’s figures. In the past five years, the bank’s lending across the UK has grown by 160 per cent with a compound growth rate of 21 per cent.

As well as Barclays Wealth, Gourlay has previously held director roles at Adam and Company and Bank of Scotland. His number two in Scotland is Graeme Buchanan, a former private banker at Bank of Scotland.

Hayley Robinson joined the team earlier this year from Bank of Scotland as a private banking executive and the bank said it is looking at another hire before the year end. In May, the bank moved into offices in Rutland Square in Edinburgh.

Founded in 1770, Weatherbys has its roots in British horseracing and continues to provide administrative and banking services to the sport. However, it has also been diversifying into mainstream financial services since gaining its licence in the early 1990s. Those efforts accelerated in 2006 when it started its private banking operation, initially built on its racing clients. Weatherbys also owns a commercial asset finance business and an insurance broker.

Last month another relatively new entrant on the Scottish banking scene announced an expansion move. Swedish firm Handelsbanken opened its second branch in Glasgow as it looks to increase its share of the business banking market.

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