Coutts leader reveals plan to be 'best private bank in Scotland'

The executive director of Coutts private bank has revealed its plans to make the firm the “best in Scotland”.

Alisdair Dewar is also the joint managing director for Adam & Co, where he has worked with for more than 23 years, and is currently “dual hatted” until the deal to sell the business to Canaccord Genuity UK completes in July, following approval by Court of Session.

Coutts has opened three offices in Scotland – Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow – last year as part of Dewar’s longer term plan to make a mark in the Scottish market.

He and his team are currently speaking to clients from Adam & Co banking and lending division and preparing them for their transition to Coutts this summer.

“The longer term vision is to be the best wealth manager and private bank in Scotland.

“I think the Adam clients will be used to the Coutts offering very quickly and I would like to say by the end of the year I would like to see the Adam clients established as Coutts clients.”

Dewar said that Coutts has a “superior” offering to Adam & Co, noting access to a multi-currency debit card among the benefits.

Coutts private banks' Edinburgh office on George Street
Coutts’ Edinburgh office on George Street

The London-headquartered firm was founded in 1692, making it the eighth oldest bank in the world. Today, Coutts forms part of NatWest Group’s wealth management division.

Dewar explained how important it was for him that Natwest set up three Coutts offices in Scotland to show its “commitment to Scotland”, something he believes sets the business apart from the competition.

“The physical presence and commitment that was really important to me in taking the role on, if you want to be serious in Scotland, which we do, then I think it demonstrates that commitment”, he said.

Dewar hinted at possible growth plans, that would see the private bank establish a new office in Inverness, although he added that the three existing outposts are currently enough.

While the pandemic-led shift to flexible working has lessened the case, Dewar said that many clients still expect face-to-face meetings, despite widespread use of video calling.

When probed on how an independent Scotland could change things, he responded: “Regardless of the political sphere, I think Scotland is a successful country. It’s got entrepreneurs, the businesses that have a reach around the country and further afield, so we will continue to serve them and want to attract more of those types of clients.”

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