By Scott Wright

A PRIVATE bank and wealth manager which once counted Sir Walter Scott and Andrew Carnegie as clients has launched a new team and enhanced offer to drive its growth in Scotland.

Coutts, which is ultimately part of Royal Bank of Scotland owner NatWest Group, has Scottish roots that stretch back to 1692, and came to prominence through the endeavours of three founding families: the Campbells, Middletons and Coutts.

More than three centuries on, it has ramped up its presence in Scotland after absorbing the investment management business of private bank Adam & Company. Adam & Co, also part of NatWest, sold the division to Canaccord Genuity Group in a cash deal worth £54 million in April, with its banking and lending operation moving to Coutts.

The Adam & Co staff affected will officially join Coutts next week when they join a new team led by Alisdair Dewar, operating from offices in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

Coutts said its augmented operation, which will include more than 50 staff, will now offer clients a broader private banking offer, including multi-currency debit cards and flexible lending, alongside its wealth management services. The bank has £35 billion of funds under management.

Peter Flavel, chief executive of Coutts, told The Herald: “Scotland has always been in the blood of Coutts, albeit since Adam became part of the wider group, we have marketed private banking in Scotland under the Adam brand. Now we are moving forward and we will market under the Coutts brand, as of next Monday.

“The Coutts business has a broader range of products and services across banking and lending, and its digital capabilities are excellent. In addition to that, we are a high-performing investment house. We have over £35bn of assets under management.”

Coutts became the part of the institution now known as NatWest Group in 2000. That followed the acquisition of NatWest by Royal Bank of Scotland, and sat alongside Adam & Co under the RBS umbrella.

Adam & Co had been acquired by RBS in 1993, and was then placed with Coutts in the RBS wealth management division in 2000.

Asked how wide he considers the potential customer base of Coutts in Scotland to be, Mr Flavel said: “Last year, we welcomed nearly 2,000 new clients into the bank. I would think in Scotland we could be 10 to even 15 per cent of what we do as a business.

“I’ve been in the bank over five and a half years and a little bit after I arrived it became clear to me that we needed to nurture and nourish our history, because the history of the bank is fascinating and intriguing. We need to nurture and nourish our heritage, but not live in it.

“We need to be modern, relevant and contemporary today, and so we continue bring to the bank a new generation of client, broadly entrepreneurs but in new sectors. The economy is evolving through the internet, through technology, through the cloud, and so we work within the bank with clients from sectors like interactive entertainment, the vloggers, the YouTubers.

“People are generating wealth today in very different ways to some of the traditional ways.”

Mr Flavel, who became chief executive of Coutts when he joined from JP Morgan in 2016, emphasised that the environmental, social and governance (ESG) agenda is a key driver of the bank’s wealth management activities. He underlined Coutts’ commitment to sustainability by pointing to its B Corp certification, which is awarded to businesses that balance purpose and profit.

Mr Flavel said: “When people think of Coutts, they tend to think of wealth that has been hereditary or landed estates. Of course, that’s been a part of Coutts going right back to Thomas Coutts himself… but we very much want our entrepreneurial clients to join with us on the journey of ESG, and consider becoming a B Corp.”

Mr Flavel said clients communicate with the bank through a mix of channels, from face-to-face interaction to its digital services.

Current Adam & Co banking and lending clients will continue to be served under that brand until the proposed integration of the business into Coutts in mid-2022, subject to the approval of the Court of Session.