Banking has existed in the United Kingdom since the 17th century. In 1650, Thomas Smith opened the first provincial bank in Nottingham. In 1664, Sir Francis Child and Robert Blanchard opened Child & Co in London.
Since the mid-1600s, many banks have opened and closed. The majority of them have been unable to last a handful of decades, let alone centuries of change. This is what makes the oldest bank still operating in the United Kingdom extraordinary. They have endured 300 years as a privately-owned family bank.
C Hoare & Co. was founded in 1672 in London by Sir Richard Hoare. It has been owned continuously by the Hoare family for 12 generations, making it the oldest family-owned bank in the world.
That’s 300+ years of political, technological, and societal shifts. Most importantly, that’s 300+ years of economical and financial crises. Specifically, the bank has weathered 8 pandemics, three industrial revolutions, two World Wars, the 1929 Wall Street Crash, and the 2008 financial crisis. That’s something to think about when banks today are failing in less than 40 years in operation.
In 1929, C Hoare & Co ceased to be a partnership and became an unlimited liability company with no external financing. Since then, they have been a small, independent bank working with the philosophy: Small is Beautiful. They keep things small and discreet to optimise quality and minimise risk.
Hoare has an est 400 employees currently. According to their 2022 Annual Report, their profit before tax was £16.5 million. They have £416 million in share capital and reserves.
Hoare offers bank accounts, deposit accounts, bespoke lending, foreign exchange, and trust and estate planning. The bank also offers family office and business services, eg. flexible banking, financing, intergenerational succession planning.
Hoare also hosts seminars and events to share important and often less-known insights. Their ‘Next Generation’ initiatives “have prepared many younger customers for their future responsibilities and brought about valuable introductions to others in similar roles.”
Hoare traditionally caters to the landed aristocracy and lawyers. This is what makes this bank one of the most exclusive banks in the world.
Wealth is not enough to become a member. Potential clients must be interviewed in-person and must share their philosophy. They must also be recommended by at least 2 members of the bank.
On the financial side, Alexander Hoare, an 11th-generation Hoare, told Tatler in 2017, potential clients must have at least a million pounds.