Private Banking –
Long distance relationships...
Ross Mitchell, Head of International Private Banking, has been busier than ever, despite the challenges of Covid.
You might have thought, with the challenges of the past sixteen months, that the diary of an international private banker would have been empty.
The truth is very different; there are a few reasons for this.
As private bankers, we want as much face-to-face time as possible with clients, despite geographical differences. That simply has not been possible due to Covid. However, the hard work we put in before Covid – and by subsequently adapting to new technology during the pandemic – has meant that we have been able to continue deepening relationships with clients. Building trust in a long-distance relationship is crucial.
Another reason we have been busy is that we are still able to service our clients at distance. We have very robust onboarding procedures, but it means we can open accounts without face-to-face meetings. Many of our clients have reported issues in this regard elsewhere.
The UK is still an attractive proposition for international investors
Much media reporting within the UK has focused on post-Brexit trade difficulties, initial mistakes made early during the pandemic and economic decline; however, international clients have seen past such reports. This points to the fact the UK remains a fantastic proposition for international investors. It remains a fundamentally safe bet; stable, democratic, and bureaucratic without being inefficient; a major global centre of influence.
The UK housing market has remained robust. London is a key destination for the capital of international property investors. The market itself is held in high regard, as is a portfolio with London properties in it. Similarly, opportunities are being realised away from the capital with very attractive yields on offer in university cities like Oxford, Birmingham and Manchester.
Furthermore, the quality of education in the UK also makes it a very attractive proposition for people with families.
The weakness of the pound to March 2021 has made the UK an even better prospect for those with an eye on the longer term. Even though we have seen sterling strengthen in recent months, activity remains strong. As the country unlocks and, hopefully, the economy goes from strength-to-strength, the UK’s attractiveness increases further still.
The future of international banking
With the closure of our Dubai office, our international client proposition has come together as one, with a central focus being from London. We have many valued clients from the Middle East; this is very much a region we wish to serve and grow from our base in London. We have recruited six new members of staff within the past 15 months, confident of expanding our international proposition. Our team is ideally placed to accept new clients and help them realise their objectives in the years ahead.
As well as bringing more people into the team, we have restructured to make sure each market we cover has a dedicated leader, accountable for their clients in that specific geography. Our clients in Asia will be looked after by Martin Dyer and his team; clients in the Middle East will be looked after by Nick Michaels who has returned from Dubai to join the International team and will head up his own team. Finally, I will head up our Global desk with oversight of our International team as a whole.
I hope for the day we can start to visit clients face-to-face – we hope that with the vaccination programme in the UK, that by Q4 we will be able to travel to see our clients again.
We remain focused and committed to building our international proposition through relationship management, which is one of the fastest growing sectors in our private bank.
Becoming a client
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