Some foolish folk think that Weatherbys Private Bank, while bred out of impeccable lines in the bloodstock industry, has little interest in anything beyond the horsey world. How very, very wrong.
For a current and sophisticated transaction illustrates the expertise of this unique private bank.
Chief clerk of the course for this coup is Quentin Marshall, private banking head of Weatherbys. Quentin is also chairman of Kensington & Chelsea’s investment committee.
The plan is to purchase and manage about 20 commercial properties, using shares held by the borough’s pension fund, to established a £220 million self-managed property portfolio.
The portfolio will eventually make up about a fifth of the value of the pension fund - a level three times higher than the average for private sector pension funds, we are informed.
Richard Wilson, the council’s fund manager and who previously worked at Aberdeen Asset Management, says the sorts of properties that the council might invest in, including a retail park in Harrogate with a 15-year lease and a Travelodge in York suitable for student housing.
The thinking behind the scheme is that property holdings are a way to diversify and de-risk the pension fund portfolio. Ken & Chelsea is where the tragic Grenfell Tower disaster took place – and strengthening the finances must be a priority for the borough.
Private banking gets its very own movie
A made-for-TV movie, called “Private Banking” is being screened in Switzerland. The two-part show is by the notable producer Bettina Oberli, and plans are afoot by Swiss TV station SRF to make a complete series.
The plot starts with one Leopold Weyer, head of the fictional private bank Weyer, who suddenly slips into a coma. (Come now, surely Geneva is not that boring?)
His illegitimate daughter Caroline emerges as the unlikely heroine. She dislikes the sometimes murky world of Swiss private banking and instead pursues a career as an addiction therapist. After her father’s illness, she starts a battle over his shares, ultimately becoming head of the bank after some distasteful manoeuvrings.
On the way to the top, she opposes her stepbrother Alexander who wants to sell the bank, which has problems because of threats like the demise of banking secrecy. Indeed, Alexander has already quietly negotiated a sale. Caroline realises she needs to understand more of the banking business if she wants to prevent the disposal.
She enlists the support of Stefanie Pfenninger, a lawyer and compliance officer as a key ally. (Surely, this must be the first time in the history of banking that a compliance executive features as a hero?)
The plot then takes several twists and turns, including accusations that Caroline, once a punk, had dabbled in drugs. But the brave woman emerges victorious, particularly as she has inherited her father’s skills and can mollify even the most aggressive client.
The dastardly Alexander is thrown out of the bank after Caroline wins a boardroom vote defeating his plot to sell the bank. At this point, Swiss TV critics reviewing the show think that a two-parter is quite sufficient – rather than a whole series.
How different, how very different this all is from the home life of our dear old Hoare’s Bank (although smitten female friends do tell us that the newly-promoted Rennie Hoare is really quite “delish”).