January 27th, 2021
Banking in the UK
If you are considering a UK corporate or personal account in the UK, there are a plethora of banking options available. Starting with the ‘retail’ likes of Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds and NatWest, then there are the challenger banks which are digital such as Revolut or Monzo and finally the Private Banks. All of these can cater to both corporates and individuals.
What we find is that clients often pick and choose the best bits from all those options to suit their needs. For corporates, they need efficient banking and FX solutions for their day to day banking requirements, which is where the large banks come in. Whilst their banking is efficient, they don’t necessarily always provide the best solutions. If we look at long term deposits, often the rates you receive are very low, in addition to being in a low interest rate environment. Other institutions can provide better cash management solutions which is where you find that they will look to Private Banks to fill that gap. These solutions can range from long term deposits to very liquid cash plus solutions, investing in short dated fixed income to enhance the yield. For individuals, depending on the complexity of their requirements they again will use the large banks for their day to day banking requirements but then use Private Banks for investment management and lending requirements.
Moving to the UK
For corporates or individuals moving to the UK, it becomes even more of a challenge, day to day banking is needed quickly to enable you to operate but soon find that once the basic banking requirements are fulfilled, they need a more complex offering. Corporate solutions are easily resolved but for example, we find dealing with the personal circumstances of directors coming over to the UK is a minefield. There is the complexity of UK tax laws in addition to making sure that they are tax compliant in their country of domicile.
For US individuals, there are stricter requirements about what UK Banks can offer in addition to day to day banking. Fortunately, in London there are several good firms that are able to look after their needs in addition to their banking requirements.
Often, we find that individuals moving to the UK need support in a variety of different areas from being introduced to property search agents, a personal lawyer, or even educational consultants to find the right schools and then provide mortgage facilities to purchase properties.
This is when a Private Bank can act as a conduit to all the banking services that a client might need and they will help by opening up their black book of the best people so that they can navigate through the various challenges facing individuals and families when they move to a new country.
Relocation agents help with a lot of these services, in our experience though, we get involved when a director wants to purchase properties in the UK. Due to regulation in the UK mortgage market, there is stricter criteria applied when individuals purchase property for example around salary multiples and this can cause additional challenges.
Some Private Banks try and offer as many of these services themselves, others have developed a strong network of the best providers in each sector and will introduce clients to them when appropriate.
Types of Private Banks
It is also important to identify the range of Private Banks; there are bank owned ones for example, Coutts is owned by NatWest. Barclays with its own in-house Private Bank is another example where clients can tap into corporate and personal services under one umbrella. There are the large American banks such as JP Morgan. In the UK we have smaller banks who don’t offer banking but focus on lending and investments and some independents who just offer banking and lending and family owned ones, such as Hoare and Co. Finally, you have the Swiss private banks who range in size from very small to large corporates such as Credit Suisse.
EFG Private Bank?
As a pure play Private Bank, long- standing, excellent client relationships are at the very heart of the service we provide. Our Client Relationship Officers (CROs), are here to support our clients in all wealth-related matters through every stage of life – in a professional, personal and family context. This is one of the hallmarks of EFG and our approach to private banking. We are also very experienced in looking after clients who have complex financial requirements.
EFG Private Bank is based in Mayfair, London, with a branch in Jersey. Our services, catered towards the domestic and international High Net Worth market, cover banking and credit, financial planning, investment management and offshore trusts. EFG’s specialism is generally looking after high net worth clients with a diverse set of cash management, investment and lending needs of
£2million and above. As an international bank, we are also able to look after clients in other jurisdictions such as Switzerland.
Regardless of your corporate or individual circumstances, the breadth of solutions in the UK banking sector means that there are so many options available to suit every need. These will cater from the very simple to the very complex, but it is essential to look at different firms and their breadth of offering rather than just expecting one institution to be able to do everything.
Richard Stanwell – Senior Director of Private Banking at EFG Private Bank.
For more advice on how to select the best banking options in the UK for you or your business, please feel free to contact Briars.