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60 second interview with Ben Covey, Santander

18 February 2020

April French Furnell

Citywealth spoke to Ben Covey, head of private banking at Santander UK about growing Santander’s UK private banking footprint and supporting clients through significant wealth creation events.

Tell me about your role.

As Head of Private Banking at Santander UK, I am responsible for the delivery of our plan to significantly increase our presence in the UK Private Banking sector. With an established presence in Retail and Corporate banking, we have a unique opportunity to increase our UK Private Banking footprint and are able to leverage our established Global Private Banking business to support this.

Walk us through your daily routine.

Sometimes I think a routine would be nice. I am always up shortly after 6am but the days vary hugely depending on where I need to be. This week for example, I will be in London, Milton Keynes, Belfast and Reading, although we are increasingly using video meetings to help reduce our need to travel where possible. My time will typically be split between promoting our business both internally and externally, helping to shape the developments to our products and services and of course, spending time with our advisors and their clients.

Tell us about a recent client instruction.

Helping clients invest for their future following a significant wealth creation event underlines the majority of our client instructions. This week three cases I have seen have included investing funds for a client following a business sale, supporting a client who wanted to consolidate investments with us and helping another client invest the proceeds from their family home after they had downsized.

What is the most challenging issue your clients are facing currently, and how are you helping your clients to overcome it?

With interest rates looking set to stay low for the foreseeable future, helping clients get a better return on their investments - without taking unnecessary risks - is probably one of our most common conversations.

What is your proudest professional achievement to date?

In the spring of 2019, being given the opportunity to lead the UK Private Banking business at Santander as we rapidly build our capabilities and coverage, has most certainly been my proudest achievement to date.

What do you consider to be the most important attributes for a leader?

Providing clarity of purpose with a clear and compelling vision, while remaining positive through challenging times.

Who do you most admire and why?

I both admire, and have been inspired by, a range of people over the years: from my own parents, to sports personalities and entrepreneurs. I’m currently reading Yvon Chouinard’s book: Let My People Go Surfing. He is the founder of Patagonia clothing company, and the philosophies on which he founded his business offer us all something to learn from, particularly with regards to sustainable living and reducing our impact on the planet. Given our collective increased awareness over recent years, I hugely admire his persistence on this topic.

Where was the last place you travelled to for work or pleasure?

Before Christmas I visited our international private banking team in Geneva and enjoyed a little too much fondue.

If you weren’t in the wealth management industry, what else might you be doing?

I’d quite like to be a travel journalist looking for, and testing out, kite surfing spots around the globe. Not sure what my wife would say about that though.

How do you relax after a long day?

In the summer months I love to go out on the River Thames on my paddle board, while in the winter, I’m most likely to pour a glass of wine and catch up on Netflix by the fire.

Best piece of advice for Generation Z?

Embrace the ongoing digital transformation and all the benefits that improving technology can help us achieve, but don’t be ruled by it.

 

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