Mayfair Times interviews Mark Plummer

Mayfair Times interviews Mark Plummer, Head of Private Banking, London, about the benefits of a bespoke banking service. The article that follows is reproduced from the Mayfair Times. You can view the online version by visiting pages 66-67, here.

Since its inception as the first new private bank in the UK for more than 30 years, Hampden & Co has amassed clients due to its brand of highly personalised, reliable service “We don’t do wealth management. We don’t do planning. We just do banking,” Mark Plummer, the head of private banking at Hampden & Co, tells me. It’s a phrase that’s more revolutionary than it sounds. In an age where many banks are diversifying their services and doubling up as wealth management organisations, there’s something comforting about a bank that is just a bank.

Since it opened in 2015, Hampden & Co has strived to do just that; delivering a bespoke brand of banking to clients, their families and businesses, that is personal and personable – none of that talking to chatbots or waiting hours to speak to an actual human being who may or may not be able to assist with your query.

Based at 36 Dover Street – the firm also has an office in Edinburgh – Hampden’s team of experts in the fields of banking, operations, finance and risk are on hand to provide clients with solutions to a range of financial queries. As with all great Mayfair establishments, the offering is bespoke: each client is assigned an experienced dedicated banker so they can understand their financial needs and objectives, tailoring their services accordingly.

A majority of clients live and work in London but others are scattered across the country, with a growing number in the south west and the Midlands, but also further north in Manchester and Yorkshire. Most come by way of introductions from the usual suspects of high finance, law firms and accountancy practices, but, because of its highly-specified model, Hampden has also forged links with wealth managers. As Plummer puts it: “Because we’re not in competition, they’re happy to introduce new clients to us for banking and lending.”

A dedicated financial professional who knows the industry inside out, Plummer spent 25 years at Coutts and C Hoare & Co before joining Barclays Wealth in 2008 as head of banking and credit. He then joined Handelsbanken in 2016 to set up and run its Mayfair office. Affable, down to earth and largely jargon-free, he moved to Hampden last summer, describing the firm as “more of an entrepreneurial private bank”. He is particularly encouraged by how many new and emerging small and medium-sized businesses are seeking out its services.

“We’re attracting more and more entrepreneurs, perhaps because they can see a bit of themselves in us in terms of the product. We’re growing and developing and building and they’re coming with us on that journey,” Plummer says. “Equally, we still look after a lot of more traditional clients, but we try to do it without the stuffiness. We want to be traditional in terms of relationships, but without the formal stuff.”

When it comes to client acquisition, Hampden’s application process and criteria are far from rigid. “We look at every case on its own merits,” Plummer says. “The average new client will be depositing half a millionplus, with substantially bigger lending and bigger deposits than that. Equally, if someone came to us with less, but had started their career, or they are looking to inherit, or they’re going to sell a business, and we see a path where we can [form a relationship] we’re open to that.”

In an industry of double digits, swirling sums and increasingly sophisticated technologies, Plummer is adamant that at its core, banking is all about personal interactions.

“There is a statistic that you’re more likely to get divorced than move to another bank. People who move tend to do so when they’ve reached the end of their tether [because] their bank’s made a huge mistake or lots of little mistakes or they’ve been stuck on a call queue for hours. It’s all about building and maintaining those relationships.”

Thank you to the Mayfair Times for your support of Hampden & Co.