It should come as no surprise that Niall Ferguson, the celebrity economic historian, uses the services of a private bank given the huge success his books and television series have enjoyed in recent years.
But which one?
Private banks normally go out of their way to avoid disclosing the names of their current clientele to nosey hacks for obvious reasons.
In this instance, however, Professor Ferguson has made the search much easier by launching his latest book, which is called The Square and The Tower, at Kleinwort Hambros’ offices in London’s St James’s Square.
“Niall was introduced by a man whom he described as ‘my private banker’ ” writes The Spectator’s Charles Moore, who attended the launch.
Who made the introduction?
Professor Ferguson used to give briefings and talks at the former Kleinwort Benson (amongst other firms). This would imply that he held his account there rather than with SG Hambros, the other constituent of Kleinwort Hambros. So his introducer could have been a former Kleinwort Benson private banker.
On the other hand Professor Ferguson’s comment could have been more of a courtesy gesture referring more to the institution rather than to his personal banker.
In which case the introducer could have been a member of the senior management team such as Eric Barnett, Kleinwort Hambros’, current chief executive, Stuart Barnett, its chairman designate, or possibly even Warwick Newbury, SG Hambros’ outgoing chairman.
Answers please Kleinwort Hambros.
As the biographer of Siegmund Warburg, whose other books include The World’s Bankers: A History of the House of Rothschild; The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World; and The Cash Nexus: Money & Politics in Modern History 1700-200 Professor Ferguson should at least know something about private banking and private bankers (irrespective of whether or not he does have an account at Kleinwort Benson).
Which is more than can be said about Mr Moore, the biographer of Margaret Thatcher.
“Civilisation has surely reached its apex when historians have private bankers,” he writes rather wistfully. “Unfortunately, my own banker is so private that I have quite forgotten who is he is.”