Britain’s first private bank for three decades opens its doors

HampdenHampden & Co., the Edinburgh-based private bank founded by industry veteran Ray Entwistle in 2011, has finally opened its doors.

It is the first private bank to be set up in the UK for 30 years and the first to come through the new process to obtain a banking licence.

Hampden, whose head office is in the Capital’s Charlotte Square, secured final regulatory approval at the beginning of this month after raising capital of nearly £50 million and assembling a staff of 50 bankers and support staff.

A statement from the bank, which will deliver “a traditional private banking service built on long-term client relationships and personal service from offices initially in Edinburgh and London”, said the venture will “address the significant demand in the UK for a new, high quality banking service”.

It will be led by chief executive Graeme Hartop, a former CEO of Scottish Widows Bank.

Ray Entwistle
Ray Entwistle

Mr Entwistle, the former Chairman of Adam & Company, said: “There is strong demand for a new private bank which delivers the right quality of service with long-term continuity of personnel and speed of decision making. Over 250 shareholders have come to the same conclusion and they have been prepared to back our experienced team with the capital required to launch our new bank.”

Mr Hartop added: “The timing for launch is ideal as we continue to experience an improved economic environment, strong client demand and a favourable competitive landscape as a large number of the existing banks continue to deal with significant legacy issues. We will deliver a traditional client-led private banking service, fully focussed on client needs and not product sales targets, which will lead to strong client-to-banker relationships. We are delighted to be welcoming clients on board.”

Hampden was in the news last week after refusing to rule out moving its headquarters south of the border amid recent reports that its wealthy clients are nervous about the SNP’s drive for full fiscal autonomy and rumours of a pending second independence referendum.

Mr Hartop, whose head office is close to Bute House, the official residence of the First Minister and SNP party leader Nicola Sturgeon in Charlotte Square, said: “It’s not a political thing. Each business looks at what’s most appropriate for their own business and shareholders and clients. That’s just a natural part of business decision making.

“I think that is something that is always considered and it is no different at this time.

“You’ve got to always be aware of the surroundings of what you are working in.”

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