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February 8, 2022updated 09 Feb 2022 11:24am

Spear’s Wealth Management Awards Winner Interview: Weatherbys Private Bank

By Rory Sachs

After Weatherbys Private Bank won the 2021 Spear’s Wealth Management Award for Private Bank of the Year — UK, Duncan Gourlay, head of Scottish operations, discussed the bank’s blueprint to success

True to the mission of James Weatherby, the horse-racing enthusiast who founded a business in 1770 to provide varied services at the heart of a tight-knit community, Weatherbys Private Bank takes the time to get to know its clients. ‘You are very much made to feel part of the family,’ says Duncan Gourlay, who heads the bank’s Scottish operations.

Gourlay juggles his time between visiting clients across Scotland, Edinburgh and London, and working from Weatherbys’ base in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire. ‘It has been lovely to see clients again, and meet with them on a face-to-face basis,’ he says. ‘They relish the personal level of service we provide.’

The private bank’s distinctive family feel is one of the things that sets it apart. Members of the Weatherby family have run the business for seven generations; today, brothers Roger Weatherby and Sir Johnny Weatherby both sit on the bank board and serve as CEO and non-executive director respectively. The duo have been ‘directly involved in the business for many years, and know many of our clients personally’, Gourlay says. The judges noted that this continuity – aided by the presence of key figures such as managing director Quentin Marshall – helped the bank to provide truly excellent service.

Having close relationships with clients proved more important than ever when the pandemic began, just as the bank was celebrating its 250th anniversary. ‘We were very much on the front foot to speak with clients,’ Gourlay says, adding that the bank communicated with clients ‘on a regular basis to make sure that they were comfortable’. Pastoral support was provided for the firm’s elderly and single clients throughout.

The bank hosted lively online seminars to keep clients engaged during each of the lockdowns, and ran a symposium called ‘Creating the Future’ for a 1,000-strong online audience, bringing together leading figures from NGOs and businesses to discuss challenges relating to the environment, education and global healthcare. The bank has also launched a ‘Fighting Fraud’ campaign, to emphasise to clients the ‘frankly innovative ways fraudsters can target clients and institutions’. Through face-to-face conversations, emails and seminars, Gourlay hopes the initiative will ‘protect them and protect us as much as possible’.

The proactive strategy has borne fruit – 98 per cent of clients it surveyed in 2021 were satisfied by its offering, with 87 per cent reporting they were ‘very satisfied’. It’s welcomed nearly 450 new customers in the past 12 months. Gourlay says the bank endeavours to ‘resolve problems, or come up with solutions, about a range of different things. It could be about buying a house for their children, or finding the right sort of cash-flow plan for them.’

The flexible approach goes a long way, especially during uncertain times.

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