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Compare Private Bank Accounts

The traditional and prestigious world of private banking is finally evolving to embrace the digital age. Compare the best, biggest and oldest private banks here.

Bank Founded Phone More Info

HSBC Private Bank

1988 020 7860 5000 More Info

Barclays Private Banking
1736 0800 279 4726 or +44 (0) 1624 684020* More Info

Coutts
1692 020 7957 2424 More Info

Private Bank FAQs

Here’s what you need to know about private banks.

Diversity is one of the trends of the modern world including, it turns out, the often very stoic world of private banking. This subset of the wealth management world is primarily aimed at high net worth individuals. There’s a huge amount of money in this sector but while some of the grandest names have been used to viewing the world as their own particular play park, a number of other players are entering the sector determined to get their own piece of the action.

Their aim is to be all things to all their customers – especially the extremely rich ones, but with competition becoming more intense, they are also aiming to be everything in all places. By focusing on products and services, they are hoping to grow without losing profits.

Who are the oldest private banks in the UK?

The oldest private bank in the UK is C. Hoare & Co, established in 1672 by Richard Hoare and has been managed by members of the Hoare family ever since. Back then, when house numbers were not yet a thing, businesses traded under signs. Hoare was to be found trading under the sign of the golden bottle before moving to Fleet Street in 1690.

Coutts & Co is not far behind. It was founded in 1692 by a Scottish Goldsmiths Banker called John Cambell of Lundie. The name Coutts first appeared on the bank in 1755 when James Coutts was taken into partnership by George Campbell when he married his daughter. When James Coutts invited his brother to join him, after the death of George Campbell, the bank became known as Thomas Coutts & Company.

What are the minimum requirements for private bank accounts?

Private banks vary in their requirements. Generally speaking, you will need investible assets of at least six figures, although there are some which are willing to go lower than this. Generally speaking – although not always – the private banking divisions of high street banks tend to be more flexible in their requirements than their more traditional competitors.

What is the function of a private bank?

The idea of a private bank is to provide financial and wealth management advice to high net-worth individuals. The barriers to entry are high so the mere fact that you bank with one of the most well-known private banks is also seen as a sign of prestige and for many people that sense of being in an exclusive club is enough to justify the higher cost.

They offer a much more personalised service to their individuals and help them access the kind of investments which are normally out of reach to most normal people such as hedge funds and real estate. A private bank will offer advice about which investments would be best for them.

How do private banks differ from high street banks?

Private banks have always been very distinct from regular high street banks although the lines are beginning to blur a little. Some high street banks are opening up private banking divisions for their wealthier clients where they offer personalised service, a host of extremely attractive perks and guaranteed access to specific employees within the bank to provide dedicated financial assistance.

To qualify for a private bank, you typically must already have a pretty high level of wealth. Some may require customers to have investible assets of at least £500,000 – namely, money which is not tied up in property and is ready to be invested as and when they want. However, some private banking arms of high street banks have slightly lower thresholds.

The cost of banking with these institutions is also generally higher than a high street bank, although it can be difficult to make a direct price comparison. Many private banks do not provide details of their fees upon application and there are no comparison sites to go to.

What services do private banks offer?

Private banks provide a range of financial services to high-net-worth individuals including personalised banking and transaction services, foreign exchange, credit and debit cards, reporting and investment advice. It aims to provide a complete banking service tailored to the very specific requirements of high-net-worth individuals.

This means that you receive a much more personalised service with access to specific employees who can advise you on how to grow your wealth in line with your own stated goals. It also tends to be much more private and confidential.

The barrier to entry is much higher than most regular bank accounts and so are the fees. Nevertheless, for many people, the higher costs are worth it – because of the private, personalised and exclusive nature of the service.

What's the difference between private banking and wealth management?

The main difference between private banks and wealth management companies is that wealth managers work with affluent clients to help them invest their money. They will be the primary source of advice and support for people looking to make investments and can offer guidance on portfolio management and investment decisions.

The service is highly personal and wealth managers will sit down with individuals and advise them how best to use their funds given their own particular circumstances and investment goals.

Private banking is not restricted just to investments. Many will deal with investment decisions, but they will not necessarily deal with these decisions directly. Instead, this is a place people go to have a private and prestigious service across every aspect of their personal finances. They offer a dedicated employee to each account whose goal is to help employers maintain and enhance their wealth.

The customers of private banks go to them for the special treatment, the knowledge that they can always talk to a certain employee and will never have to wait in line for a cashier. Discretion is the watchword and although the modern age of transparency and digital banking is changing things a little, this is still a world founded on privacy and prestige.