Diary of a Private Banker: How to become a Coutts client even if your net worth isn’t enough

Freddie Pooter, 23/07/2021

Coutts & Co prefers clients to come knocking on its doors when they have at least £1 million of net worth, and ideally much, much higher; £10 million-plus really starts to get you the red carpet treatment.

This exclusivity must dismay many aspiring young people, such as budding entrepreneurs and stars who have not yet had a top 10 hit, are not high up the Wimbledon ranking or who have not been prolific goal scorers in the Premier League – even though the bank is much more amenable to successful rappers and the like.

Fear not, I can assure them – there is a useful way to persuade Coutts to open its doors to your custom.

Because a perusal of eBay and other online auction sites shows that there is a plethora of Coutts memorabilia available for sale. I think that a super wheeze would be to buy a few choice Coutts items in order to prove to them you would be a loyal client even though your worth was a tad on the pauperish side.

For example, Coutts brown leather luggage tags are up for £6 in a buy-it-now deal on the auction site, at time of writing. Brand new, these would be invaluable for attaching to your briefcase when going for an interview with the bank.

And why not add a Coutts leather cheque book holder, for a reasonable £6.

Then there is a lot of potential in buying 100 one pence coins dated 1971 in an original Coutts bag. The coins are uncirculated although with some tarnishing from being in the bag dispatched with Royal Mail 1st Class Letter, says the buyer, who is looking for at least £10. Bargain, and surely a better long term value than bitcoin.

For this item should surely entitle the winner to a free pass into one of the scrumptious new NatWest investment products, lovingly custom-made by Coutts.

Up for bids from £24 or so is a real leather wallet, including diary and address book holder with pen; condition as new but presumably subject to KYC checks.

For £6.95, you can bid for an antique print of Baroness Angela Burdett Coutts, circa 1881, and so impress Coutts with your knowledge of famous figures from the bank’s past.

The item described

And for those who are really out to cultivate favour with Coutts’ private bankers with top HNW collectibles, there are items like a copy of the book, Coutts and Co. 1692-1992: Portrait of a Private Bank. Author is Edna Healey, wife of Denis, the late Labour cabinet member. Price is a very reasonable £50.

Top tip. Why not bid £6 for a book, Everyday Gardening by one J Coutts. While this author has no apparent connection with the bank, reading his work will no doubt enable the potential client to talk knowledgably about the flora in the Coutts roof garden and so make a mark with the bank’s interlocutors.

All in all, the number of Coutts items up for sale surely demonstrate what a wonderful brand and reach the bank’s name has. Please adopt this strategy, as it will also establish Coutts as a leading force in the drive for wealth equality as it opens its doors to poorer sorts.

Indeed, I intend to auction off some precious items I have collected over the years. There is my treasured signed photo of Michael Morley, once the CEO of Coutts and now of course a notable bigwig at Deutsche Bank Wealth UK. This I intend to post with no reserve, and with starting bids of 1p.

In addition, I possess the signed casts of Peter Flavel, the present CEO, from when he underwent extensive surgery after suffering knee injuries from playing his beloved hockey as a young man. He needed crutches as both knees had to have a makeover. As a result, Peter can be considered the first of us to take the knee, so to speak.

But what I value most of all is a cardigan belonging to Rory Tapner, the Coutts CEO up to 2015 and who nowadays is chairman and grand vizier of Quintet, nee KBL.

With a fetching blue and red pattern, this wonderful cardie comes with an extra bonus – several sweets in its pockets from the candy jar which Rory kept on his desk during his 440 Strand days.

Despite the occasionally hole in his cardies, I am starting bids of £25, dear effendi, or I will otherwise sell the garment in the soukhs of Qatar, home of the Al-Thani royal family and the owners of Quintet.

The man who would be Hoare

Keeping with memorabilia, The personal arts and antiques collection of City man Tim Hoare, and aspiring C Hoare manqué, at his seat, Hollycombe House, has just been sold off.  Items include paintings from Gainsboroughs to Stanley Spencer.

Tim, who died in 2019, was a larger than life stockbroker and bon vivant who liked to claim he was a distant relative of the C Hoare banking family.

The Hoares occasionally asked him politely to not to claim to be from their family.

Tim, never to let anyone sully his legendary life, which included yachting and big game hunting, blithely ignored the requests.

Auction house Dreweatts described the Hollycombe interiors as combining “the magic of a Scottish baronial shooting lodge with a gentleman’s London Club”.

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