Graeme Hartop, CEO of Hampden & Co, talks industry challenges and the next big thing in the world of private banking.
Why did you choose to go into private banking?
I wanted to work for a bank built on the close relationships between professional bankers and clients. My sense was – and remains – that many banks were placing a lower value on these relationships. But, for me, this is the banking industry at its best. I was also conscious that there was no new challenger bank in the private banking sector, so I was keen to lead an organisation that could make a real impact.
What’s the biggest difference between your role at Hampden & Co and other private banks you’ve worked at?
Hampden & Co was created with a laser-clear focus on client service, with this delivered by experienced professional bankers. We were able to create an organisation where we recruited a team who shared that vision, are backed by shareholders who see the long term potential of the vision and then set a culture that supports the vision.
What is the next big thing in private banking?
The ability of clients to choose the method of interaction with the bank in a seamless way, whether that be meetings in person, telephone conversations or digitally, and get the same quality of service throughout. Getting the quality aspects right across all channels is not easy, but for those banks who get it right, the opportunities are aplenty.
What has been the biggest challenge in being the newest private bank in the UK and having to break into the market?
Private banking is typically a deposit-led business, so launching Hampden & Co in a close-to-zero interest rate environment certainly has created the odd challenge. That said, there has clearly been a pent-up demand for a new relationship-driven private bank, and the speed at which we are growing is encouraging.
Service is everything in private banking, so what are you doing to adapt your offering to ensure you remain competitive?
Our main focus is to continue to recruit experienced and professional bankers whose experience allows us to empower them to make quick decisions for our clients.
We also ensure that their client portfolio sizes continue to allow them to provide exceptional service.
What is the single most common concern among your clients about where we are in the market at the moment?
Many of our clients are concerned about how to best use their wealth to support the next generation.
Property prices in London and in hot spots across the UK have risen so far that children starting out on the property ladder really value a helping hand from parents and grandparents, which we have been happy to help with through our guarantor mortgages.
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