Coutts is a private bank steeped in history. Older than the Bank of England, Coutts has adapted to its clients’ changing needs over the course of more than three centuries and continues successfully to adapt itself in the 21st century.
In 1692 a young Scotsman, John Campbell, set up shop as a goldsmith in The Strand, near the site of the present Coutts’ building. In addition to selling jewellery and precious metals, he offered his clients banking services: discounting bills, making loans and taking deposits. These activities proved so successful that the jewellery business soon withered away, leaving Coutts as a bank, pure and simple. Over the course of the next three centuries, the Coutts name became so indissolubly linked with the British upper classes that it was said that the quintessential English gentleman ‘hunts and shoots and banks at Coutts’. It is this long experience of dealing with the demands and needs of high-net-worth individuals in ever-changing circumstances, which has forged Coutts’ reputation as the bank of choice for the well-heeled and well connected.
It aims to act at all times in ways that are proactive and astute while presenting a human face and a charismatic personality.
Coutts enjoys such an exalted reputation that it can justifiably claim to be the only financial services company also recognised as a luxury brand. In line with the company’s continued success at reinventing itself, in 2018 it re-examined every aspect of the brand to reflect more closely on the vibrant nature of its business and to maintain its lead in the British private banking market. In order to build on its present success, Coutts wants to encourage its clients to use its wider services, such as investing and lending as well as regarding it principally as a place to bank. The results of this reappraisal of the Coutts brand will be unveiled in 2019. It will stress the indispensable advantages offered by Coutts to its clients in the fields of advice, investment, lending, entrepreneurship and philanthropy.
The bank cleaves to its key values of the continued pursuit of perfection and a willingness to go far beyond the expected, cherishing the best of tradition yet delivering the best of the new, all the while acting with honesty and integrity. It aims to act at all times in ways that are proactive and astute while presenting a human face and a charismatic personality. The Coutts name embodies British history, culture and values. Paul Fletcher, Head of Marketing and member of the bank’s executive committee, explains: ‘Our research tells us that Coutts is the most trusted private bank in Britain. Much of this is down to history, tradition and the standards that we have maintained for over 300 years. Britishness is key to this. The best brands are rooted in a culture and remain faithful to that culture.
Coutts enjoys such an exalted reputation that it can justifiably claim to be the only financial services company also recognised as a luxury brand.
Britishness at Coutts is intertwined with our identity and our success is heavily reliant on the attractiveness of Britain as a destination to do business and bank. We remain very bullish and proud of our Britishness.’ Britain remains an important destination for the company’s global clients; they all have a base here. For these clients the bank’s currency-neutral credit card and multi-currency debit card are a boon, enabling them to use a single card when abroad, thereby avoiding foreign exchange charges. The concierge service also comes as standard, opening doors, often at the last minute, which might otherwise be closed.
Coutts is a well-established investment manager, helping its clients to maximise the returns on their money in a variety of ways. Coutts Invest is a safe, streamlined digital service giving clients access to its expertise online: investment advice at any time of the day or night at the click of a mouse. Clients can use the service to move funds quickly and easily into the bank’s own medium and long-term investment vehicles. The rich, they say, are different, a truth Coutts both acknowledges and proves by publishing its annual Luxury Price Index. The index tracks inflation in the price of a basket of luxury and high-end items, which form part of the regular expenditure of the wealthy. These include high- quality mobile phones, private school fees, Savile Row suits and luxury cars. It reveals that, in May 2018, while the annual rate of inflation, according to government figures (the CPI), was 2.4 per cent for the rich, judged by the Coutts Luxury Price Index, it was more than double that at 5.5 per cent. The index also charts the changing ways in which inflation affects people as they progress through life, thereby helping with long-term financial planning.
‘Coutts is the most trusted private bank in Britain. Much of this is down to history, tradition and the standards we have maintained for over 300 years’
Another example of the bank’s innovative approach to helping its clients is the Coutts Passion Index, an annual publication that charts the rise and fall of alternative investments. The index records the changes in value across a range of assets: collectables – wine, stamps, coins, classic cars; precious items – watches and jewellery; fine art and trophy property. It tells clients the value of their prized possessions – their cellar, their watches or their collection of Ferraris – and opens their eyes to other potential investments. The best performing class of asset between 2005 and 2016 was classic cars, which appreciated by 331 per cent in that time.
The Investment Opportunity Service is another way in which the bank can help its clients. By introducing people who want to invest in new or growing businesses to entrepreneurs looking for capital, Coutts can offer both parties an important service, providing lucrative opportunities to investors and vital funding for business. Investments range typically between £2m and £10m and concentrate on high-growth sectors such as healthcare, technology and gaming. Coutts prides itself on knowing its clients so well that it becomes their indispensable partner, aware of all their clients’ individual circumstances and aspirations, of how they understand and use their wealth. Above all else, as one client noted, Coutts never forgets, unlike some of its global banking competitors, ‘that it is my money’. For a bank, there can be no higher praise than this.
Coutts440 STRAND, LONDON WC2R 0QS +44 (0)20 7753 1000