Diary of a Private Banker: Hoares to Aldermore – how Steve Cooper jumped from quality to quantity

Freddie Pooter, 13/11/2020

I have long thought that London private banking should have a maxim, ‘When a man is tired of C Hoare, he is tired of life’.

For I cannot think for the life of me why Steven Cooper is giving up the prestigious role of CEO of our oldest private bank to join one of those johnny-come-latelies, otherwise known as challenger banks.

His exact address will be at Aldermore Group from next May where he likewise will be CEO, ultimately reporting to bosses at owner FirstRand of Zuid Afrika.

Steven Cooper / Image courtesy of Barclays

Steve has only spent two years at the helm of Hoare. Why, in this short time, he had barely passed his probationary period. Put another way, he must have only had time to read thoroughly about the first 100 years of the bank at the Sign of the Golden Bottle. 

So how sad he has bottled it at Hoares.

Why did he jump? Hoares itself has been unusually generous to their erstwhile CEO although it must be disappointed that his appointment didn’t work out.

“Steven will be missed as a friend and colleague, but his impact will live on through the programme of change and improvement he brought to our organisation,” says senior partner Alexander Hoare.

“Steven has developed a new strategy for the bank, enhanced the executive team, reinforced a powerful focus on the customer, modernised our operations and led the bank through the Covid-19 challenges with sure-footed, calm leadership.”

But note that Hoares is holding Steve to the terms of his contract, and he will not take up the Aldermore job until next May. Seven months on gardening leave will presumably leave him well placed to exhibit personally at the reopening Chelsea Flower Show for 2021.

Although various conspiracy theories are being proffered over Steve’s departure, I always look for the simple answer.

In these frightful days of Covid lockdown, Steve might have become frustrated with his role at Hoares. One clue may come from the reason he was hired back in 2019.  The bank had earlier suffered a compliance hit after fai...

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