How the UK’s Oldest Private Bank Remains Competitive in a Changing market

1st Sep 17
Islay Robinson GROUP CEO

Islay Robinson

Oldest Bank UK - Enness Global

Islay Robinson

C. Hoare & Co. is the oldest private bank in the United Kingdom. As a valued Enness partner, we asked Kieran Ahern, their senior relationship manager, how they remain competitive in a rapidly changing mortgage market. 

To start with a historical story from the bank’s archives: on 30th November 1833, Henry Hugh Hoare received a handwritten note from Capt. Robert FitzRoy, one of our customers, informing the bank he had just purchased a boat. Capt. FitzRoy asked the bank to kindly arrange the payment saying he would repay us when he returned from his voyage. The boat was in fact HMS Beagle, famous as the vessel upon which Charles Darwin visited the Galapagos Islands, and it was during that historic voyage that Darwin realised his ground-breaking theory of evolution.

In terms of our modern customers’ borrowing needs and the bank’s ability to meet them, nothing has really changed over the years. What keeps us competitive in the market is our exceptional service levels, our ability to make and act upon decisions quickly and our vast experience with customers’ often highly-complex financial circumstances.

At C. Hoare & Co., the Partners know and understand the customers they lend to and are involved in each of the bank’s lending decisions. As an 11th generation family business driven by family values, we are interested in building long-term, personal relationships with the customers who join the bank. Numbers do not drive the Partners’ perspective.

Borrowing rates are of course important, but over the years, experience has shown that of equal if not higher importance to wealth creation is the speed of decision making. From art purchases to property purchases, how quickly money can be raised makes a significant impact on the value we can provide to our customers. We have short lines of communication - a walk of less than 300 yards to the Partners’ office. Crucially, this means that lending decisions can be reached very quickly.

Another common advantage for many of our borrowing customers is the bank’s ability to understand complex situations, unusual assets and to be responsive and flexible with how capital is secured and structured. For customers who have assets under management outside of the oldest private bank in the UK, we do not insist that they are transferred to us as a condition of lending, which is a consciously different approach to our peers. We offer bespoke lending solutions, and again, the family-owned and years of experience mean the bank can offer expertise, we hope, in a uniquely competitive manner.

Kieran Ahern
Senior Relationship Manager

Next month – Emma McHugh, C. Hoare & Co.’s Bank Economist, will provide a view on interest rates.