Walking onto the ‘shop floor’ really did feel like walking into my old university library, which was a strange feeling, but C Hoare & Co’s staff were jovial (we had the usual conversation I have with all secretaries about the fact my surname really is Fast).
Simon Barker is the head of charities at the bank and has held the position for a year, having come from Investec Wealth & Investment.
‘I knew it was going to be a quirky environment at Hoares, coming from Investec, but there is a great culture and heritage here,’ says Barker.
He has no predecessor in this role and has been brought in to increase the assets invested through the charities team, which currently stands at approximately £100 million.
However, he’s not there just to take on any old client.
‘We must share values with our clients and we seek to build long-term relationships with them,’ he says, which is probably why most of the firm’s clients have connections through the Christian community, Oxbridge and the livery companies.
The bank has a long-standing tradition of philanthropy. Its biggest contributions to charity is through its Golden Bottle Trust, so Barker’s aim is to increase its presence on charity beauty parades. He anticipates that the charity department will grow in terms of members of staff.
For a company that is so steeped in heritage and tradition – the walls are festooned with Hoare family members past and present – it is interesting to hear Barker speak of innovation and how the company has been implementing new tecnology to broaden and improve its client proposition.
He is speaking specifically about the new investment management system they implemented last year and their client-facing online banking system.
We end our meeting with a tour of the museum, artefacts ranged from one of the first ever cheques, client records spanning hundreds of year and the ‘golden bottle’. However, I particularly enjoyed the recently re-hung painting of one Hoare antecedent that had been defaced, but then lovingly restored to all his hunting glory.