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Does Coutts really have the best 'goody bag' perks in private banking?
04/06/2018 , John Evans, International Editor

A number of private banks and wealth managers offer tempting benefits to their clients, particularly those who are particularly high up on the net worth scale.  But what is more important to clients? A goody bag with something like the latest iPhone – or meeting fellow clients for valuable networking on mutual experiences and the chance to learn from other wealtherati?

When it comes to the goody bag, the Citigold wealth management service doesn’t stint.  It will, for example, bung you a £500 welcome reward if you maintain a decent balance with it for three months. That rises to £1,000 for a £650,000 investment. As a private client, you can get access to posh airport lounges, a 24/7 concierge service and fine dining.

Citi will also hook you up with invitations and offers from brands like the English National Opera, Dubai Mall and Italian design house Pininfarina.

Barclays has its Little Book of Wonders, with a range of events and experiences for select clients. These range from a 007-themed day with Aston Martin to being a zookeeper for a day and VIP seats at Paris fashion shows.

At HSBC, its golden key decorated with jade is open to those who have a minimum of about £3.5 million of investable assets. Goodies include the de rigeur concierge service and advice on building a cellar of fine wines.

Lloyds is rather low-key. Its Mayfair account is targeted at customers with at least £2 million of savings and investments. Perks include a Gourmet Society dining membership, a choice of magazine subscriptions or, rather at the naff end of the goodies, cinema tickets.

Coutts appears to have the most generous mixture of goody bag and networking benefits, with its Thank You service from Coutts for its best clients. Available to Silk cardholders, it offers gifts and experiences to those who annually spend £25,000 on their card and then at higher spend levels until the £1 million mark.

Coutts goes on, “Wine lovers will appreciate our expert guided tour of Burgundy vineyards, with tastings at estates not open to the public. Or explore the wonders of the Nyetimber family estate in West Sussex with a guided tour of the vineyards, before sampling the vintages over lunch with 11 guests.

“For those who like sharpening their kitchen skills we have two inspirational cookery schools: The Woodspeen in Newbury with Chef John Campbell and Italian cookery classes at the Lime Wood Hotel in the New Forest. The latter also offers a luxurious spa day.”

Coutts, often referred to as ‘the Queen’s bank’, also offers technology goodies, such as GoPro cameras or for music enthusiasts, Bang & Olufsen. Other popular technology items include Amazon Echo Plus, Kindle Paperwhite, FitBits, Nintendo Switch and Dyson hairdryers.

But it is in intangibles where Coutts insiders think the bank can make the best impact with clients.

“Our clients love networking with other Coutts clients facing similar life stage issues like the long good bye, getting ready and planning for the exit from the family business,” one says.

“It’s a big deal and we work with clients through that stage. It’s valued highly by clients. And is where we add the real value.”

Another aspect of networking is where clients want to start on the journey of philanthropy.  A Coutts source says, “We put them together with clients who have been through the same process - that is real value add.”

And as for the Queen and Prince Philip we really don’t think that they yet need counselling on the “long goodbye” although admittedly, they really have reached a splendidly advanced age.  Happily, younger Royals, including Prince Harry and bride Meghan are, we are relieved to note, are already starting on the road of learning the family business, with its corporate HQ of Buck House.

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