Are Coutts bankers the most generous boys and girls in private banking? Probably yes, judging by their remarkable efforts to raise money for the staff charity, Coram.
No less than £326,300 was garnered by Coutts folk last year, outstripping the £90,000 raised in 2016 by a large margin - and so hitting the goal for Coram set at the start of 2017 by CEO Peter Flavel. That figure was chosen to celebrate Coutts’ own 325th year.
Coram, the charity of which Thomas Coutts was a trustee is the oldest charity in the UK and was selected by staff. It supports under-privileged children, a cause close to the heart of Thomas Coutts’ grand-daughter, Angela Burdett Coutts. She was the first British philanthropist and the first appointed baroness in her own right.
We hear that Coutts people really got behind the charity target. The 325-baton relay involved over 700 staff and their families, as well as family and clients. It Involved cycling, walking (with family dogs), running, hopping, golfing, punting, sailing, helicopters, army tanks and classic cars. A horse-drawn coach was used to deliver the baton to Coutts head office on the Strand. This effort alone raised an impressive £175,000.
In addition, there was a one-day music marathon where staff, school choirs and clients sang variously non-stop for 36 hours in the Garden Court at 440, culminating in a Christmas carols sing-along by more 200 staff. The Coutts cricket team, established before Middlesex was formed, had a crack at the world record for a non-stop net at 51 hours and did it. And then 80 staff completing the gruelling Yorkshire three peaks challenge, raising over £81,000 in support.
Surely, there should be a league table for charitable donations and efforts made personally by staff in UK private banking. Coutts will definitely come top for its splendid 2017 exertions.
Coutts meanwhile promises to keep up its charity efforts this year. So, with help with our chums, we come up with some sure-fire schemes to raise significant amounts of money, to wit:
Peter Flavel, Coutts CEO. If Peter assembles a scratch side of fellow-Aussies, taking on a side of our own doughty cricketers, and then promises to lose these “Ashes”, all red-blooded Englishmen will give handsomely to the cause of cricket in the Mother Country as well as Coram.
Michael Morley 24-hour piano marathon. Michael, ex-head of Coutts and now at Deutsche Bank Wealth Management, is a wizard on the keyboard. If he completes the 24-hour challenge (breaks are allowed for finger massage and drinks and food), we hope the wealth industry will pledge £1,000 for every hour completed - as long as Michael plays some exquisite Chas and Dave numbers (Gercha, Knees Up etc) as well as something knock-about like the Bach Goldberg Variations.
Rory Tapner, another former Coutts CEO, is a keen philanthropist and skier. Perhaps he will re-run a challenge once completed in the Alps, involving seeing how many people could go up the ski lift, ski down and repeat the effort in a day.
The Warwick Newbury Marathon: This former Coutts boss should walk every mile between Warwick and Newbury, sponsored at the rate of £100 a mile.
The Joe Norburn Quiz Night. Joe left Coutts at the year-end after building a reputation as a top IT specialist, and the private bank was genuinely sorry to see him go. So let’s have a quiz night, to try and guess his next move. We are sure the man will emerge in a top job before too long. The winner will be expected to donate their cash prize to Coram, though.
The Coutts redundancy charity fund. Coutts is currently laying off around 150 staff at all levels so we think a splendid way to raise charity cash is to make a charge on headhunters and/or firms employing these departing people. A meaningful contribution, say £10,000 should be made for each placement, and cheques made out to the Coram fund.
In fact, former Coutts man Duncan MacIntyre, now UK chief executive at Lombard Odier Private Banking, should surely start things off, by paying retrospectively for his various hires of old Coutts colleagues?