How much money do you need to bank with Coutts amid Nigel Farage's drama?

How much money do you need to bank with Coutts amid Nigel Farage's drama?
Nigel Farage describes Coutts as 'vile' and 'metropolitan elite' after banking row

It is not often niche high net worth banks make national news but this is exactly what has happened to Coutts, thanks to one Nigel Farage.

The controversial former politician hit headlines when he claimed the bank shut his account due to political differences, and he came with alleged receipts.

Writing in the Telegraph, he said he had gained access to a report by the bank's wealth reputational risk committee via a subject access request which allegedly mentioned reputational concerns because Farage's views "do not align" with their values.

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The Telegraph reports that minutes from of a meeting of Coutts' wealth reputational risk committee held on November 17 2022 read: "The committee did not think continuing to bank NF [Nigel Farage] was compatible with Coutts given his publicly-stated views that were at odds with our position as an inclusive organisation.

"This was not a political decision but one centred around inclusivity and purpose."

It came after Farage originally made the claim last month and said he might leave the UK because he was struggling to get a bank account somewhere else. At the time, though, the BBC and the Financial Times said his account was closed because of insufficient financial funds not because of political reasons.

It caused a whole lot of chaos with Tory MPs weighing in to criticise the bank which released a statement acknowledging the "substantial interest" in the Farage case but saying it could not comment in detail because of customer confidentiality obligations.

However, they stressed, "it is not Coutts' policy to close customer accounts solely on the basis of legally held political and personal views".

"Decisions to close an account are not taken lightly and involve a number of factors including commercial viability, reputational considerations, and legal and regulatory requirements," they said.

"We recognise the critical importance of access to banking. When it became clear that our client was unable to secure banking facilities elsewhere, and as he has confirmed publicly, he was offered alternative banking facilities with NatWest. That offer stands.

"We understand the public concern that the processes for ending a customer relationship, and how that is communicated, are not sufficiently transparent."

What a palaver, eh?

With that in mind, we decided to look into just how much money you need to bank with Coutts.

Coutts is owned by parent company the NatWest Group. To bank with it, you need firstly to be a UK resident or a UK expat. Clients are also required to maintain at least £1m in investments or borrowing (mortgage) or £3m in savings.

Seems doable...

Coutts charges £900 a year for one customer, taken in quarterly instalments of £225. If you have between £250,000 to £499,999 of assets with the bank this drops to £75 a quarter, and it waives the fee completely for those with £500,000 or more.

Clients include the King, and it is thought that Emma Watson and Stormzy also have accounts, according to the Telegraph.

You get other perks aside from keeping your money safe if you bank with Coutts.

In its London headquarters, there is a rooftop garden with a fully working kitchen and three beehives, the honey from which is used by its private chef, Peter Fiori.

With that in mind, no wonder Farage was a bit annoyed to have his account closed.

He will just have to get his honey elsewhere.

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