Clan Coutts Society

Clan Coutts Society

Money Coutts

Sir David Money-Coutts

Sir David Money-Coutts, who has died aged 80, was the seventh-generation chairman of Coutts & Co, the London bank which traditionally provided accounts — and overdrafts — for members of the Royal family.

Sir David Money-Coutts


Founded in 1692 by a Scottish goldsmith, John Campbell, under the sign of the Three Crowns in the Strand, the bank took the name Coutts from two brothers, Thomas and James, who joined the partnership in the mid-18th century — James having married Campbell’s granddaughter. It was Thomas who established the firm’s reputation as private bankers to the aristocracy, and secured its royal connection.

Though it became a subsidiary of the National Provincial Bank (later part of NatWest) in 1920, Coutts maintained the style and management practices of a 19th-century partnership into the era of computerisation and increasing competition that began in the 1960s. David Money-Coutts, who became a managing director in 1970 and succeeded Sir Seymour Egerton as chairman in 1976, faced the challenge of steering a course between tradition and modernity.

Ably assisted by his cousin and deputy chairman Lord Harrowby, Money-Coutts oversaw a transition of the business into one which kept a sharper watch on cost, profitability and internal efficiency — but also sought to maintain, through personal accessibility and attention to individual customers’ circumstances, the “soul” which one of them, the writer Osbert Sitwell, had praised in earlier times.

Tall and angular, Money-Coutts bore a distinct resemblance to his ancestor Thomas, whose statue dominated the foyer of the bank’s Strand headquarters. He also shared the characteristic of “exactness” for which Thomas was famed.

David Money-Coutts had a reserved manner and was a stickler for exactness: he described himself as “fairly pernickety ... people say I ought to have been a schoolmaster”. But brusqueness disguised a genuine kindness and concern towards both customers and staff. He was a perfectionist with a practical eye: on his daily round of the bank’s departments, he would sometimes pause to repair an out-of-action item of office machinery. He was also notably unstuffy. “We are not snobs,” he once observed, “though some of our customers are.”

Symbolic of Coutts’ willingness to embrace the future during his tenure was the refurbishment of the Strand building. After a long planning battle, the final design by Sir Frederick Gibberd incorporated the first glazed atrium and internal garden in a London office complex within John Nash’s triangular scheme from 1831, famous for its “pepper pot” corners. When the Queen came to perform the official opening in 1978, Money-Coutts reminded her that his great-great-great-great-grandfather Thomas had been a Gentleman of the Privy Chamber to hers, George III.

“With all those greats on both sides,” Her Majesty replied, “I do indeed agree that this is very much a family occasion.” She went on to acknowledge the wisdom of Coutts’ financial advice to royal customers over the generations, “even if they have not always been grateful for it”.

The boom years of the 1980s brought new pressures, both in risk control and in profit performance. Having previously allowed Coutts directors a high degree of autonomy, NatWest began to demand much more from them, and in 1990 a strategy was conceived in which “Coutts & Co” would become the global brand for the group’s services for high-net-worth customers.

Money-Coutts declared that this could be achieved “whilst retaining the character of a much smaller private bank”. But in the view of many observers, his retirement from the chair in 1993 marked the end of the era of benign and cautious but forward-looking dynastic management which had served Coutts and its customers so well.

David Burdett Money-Coutts was born on July 19 1931 . He spent his childhood in Ayrshire and was educated at Eton. After National Service with the 1st Royal Dragoons in Germany and Egypt (where he contracted polio, but made a full recovery), he read PPE at New College, Oxford. His paternal ancestor, the Rev James Money, had married Clara Burdett, a granddaughter of Thomas Coutts. The surname Money-Coutts was adopted by James and Clara’s descendants, and in 1912 the ancient barony of Latymer was revived in favour of David’s great-grandfather, Francis Money-Coutts.

David’s grandfather and uncle, respectively the 6th and 7th Lords Latymer, were directors of Coutts, but his father Alexander made a career in the Imperial Tobacco Company. David thought of following him until he was invited to join the bank after graduation in 1954. After four years’ probation, including a secondment to a City stockbrokers, he became a junior director.

Sharing an open office with his colleagues, he participated in a unchanging daily routine of collective decision-making: administration matters at 10am, loans at 11.30, trustee business at noon, onwards to lunch and letters to be signed thereafter. All male staff, including directors, wore frock-coats — which Money-Coutts regarded as “good for morale, because everyone looks smart”.

Recognising his personal role as banker to the Royal family, he was appointed KCVO in 1971. Well-respected throughout the financial establishment, he was also chairman of the investment group M&G, deputy chairman of the discount house Gerrard & National and of Phoenix Assurance, and a director of Dun & Bradstreet, the credit reference agency. At NatWest he was a director from 1976 to 1990, and chairman of the bank’s southern regional advisory board.

Beyond the City he was much involved in the field of health care as a governor of Middlesex Hospital, a member of the Kensington, Chelsea and Westminster Area Health Authority, chairman of the Medical Schools Council and a trustee of the Multiple Sclerosis Society. He was chairman of the Scout Foundation and the Old Etonian Trust .

He married, in 1958, Penelope Todd, who in an unguarded interview at the time of his knighthood revealed that he could cook, iron and sew — indeed, do anything domestic “except give birth” — and that although he was the “kindest, nicest man”, he had once tipped a bowl of bread and butter pudding over her head in anger. She survives him with their son and two daughters.

Sir David Money-Coutts, born July 19 1931, died June 25 2012




Mercy Money-Coutts Seiradaki

The Hon. Mercy Money-Coutts, daughter of an English aristocrat, was for much of her life linked to Crete. She worked there in the 1930’s as an archaeologist, later married a Cretan, and lived there for many years. In her youth in England, she was privately educated, but then went to Oxford where she earned her baccalaureate in history. There she became a student volunteer for Sir Arthur Evans at Knossos, but it was John Pendlebury who would be her archaeological mentor. He was in the early ‘30’sworking at the Temple Tomb and was the Curator of Knossos. Money-Coutts was one of the five women post-graduate students at the British School at Athens in the 1933-34 academic year. She studied prehistoric pottery that winter in Athens and then left with fellow student Edith Eccles for Crete to assist Pendlebury in completing his catalogue of the Stratigraphical Museum at Knossos. She excavated with him in the Lasithi Plain and illustrated his most important book. During World War II, Money-Coutts worked for British Intelligence, then for the Red Cross, and returned to Crete in 1944. Pendlebury had been shot by the Germans earlier in the war. In Crete she joined UNRRA and acquired almost legendary status for her heroic exploits. She met and married Michaeli Seiradakis, also a worker for UNRRA, and had two children. They lived in Western Crete, but moved to Athens in 1962 where for several years she worked part-time as a library assistant in the British School. She spent the last three years of her life in Thessaloniki where her son is a professor in the University.

Barons Latimer or Latymer (of Snape; 1432)[edit]

As said above, George Neville, a younger son of the first Earl of Westmorland, succeeded to the lands of his uncle, John Neville, 6th Baron Latimer, although he was not descended from the ancient Latimers. He was summoned to Parliament as Baron Latimer in 1432; by modern law, as decided in the 1490s, this was a new creation of a new Barony of Latimer. It descended as follows.

These Barons Latimer held Snape Castle in Wensleydale.

John Neville, 4th Baron Latimer, had four daughters, all of whom gave had issue.

  1. Catherine Percy, Countess of Northumberland.
  2. Dorothy Cecil, afterward Countess of Exeter.
  3. Lucy Cornwallis.
  4. Elizabeth Danvers.

Tudor custom was divided on what happened in such a case; the style of Lord Latimer was claimed both by the Earls and Dukes of Northumberland, descendants of his eldest daughter, and by his cousin and heir male, another Richard Neville (d.1590), son of William Neville, younger brother of the 3rd Baron Latimer. Modern law, as worked out over the next century, was that the barony was divided into quarters among the four daughters and their heirs, a situation called abeyance. If three of the lines died out, the fourth would inherit; if not, the Crown might, at its pleasure, confer the title on any of the heirs - customarily, the one who petitioned for it.

Lucy Cornwallis had only daughters, so her share was itself divided. In 1911, the heritor of one of these sub-shares (Francis Burdett Thomas Money-Coutts, of the prominent Liberal banking family) petitioned that the abeyance be determined, and in February 1913, he was summoned to Parliament. He and his heirs have chosen to spell their title Latymer, and most sources follow them.

The heir apparent is the present holder's son the Hon. Drummond William Thomas Money-Coutts (b. 1986)[6]


Crispin Money-Coutts, 9th Baron Latymer

Crispin James Alan Nevill Money-Coutts, 9th Baron Latymer (born 8 March 1955) is an English peer, a sailing specialist, and a retired private banker. In 2003, Money-Coutts inherited the title Baron Latymer from his father, Hugo Nevill Money-Coutts, 8th Baron Latymer (1926 – 2003).

In 2005, Latymer sailed single-handedly across the Atlantic Ocean, on the identical journey his father took some decades previously.[1] Following the voyage which raised £40 000 for Save the Children, Latymer wrote and published the voyage in a book entitled "Where the Ocean Meets the Sky" (Adlard Coles Nautical, 2009), the name taken from the Rod Stewart song, "Rhythm of My Heart".[2]

He has three children; Sophia, Rosie and the British magician Drummond Money-Coutts. Today Latymer lives at his house in Girona, Spain and holds several executive positions at private financial institutions in London. He also stands as Chairman to the University College London Hospital Charities.


Hugo Money-Coutts, 8th Lord Latymer

The 8th Lord Latymer, who has died aged 77, was a scion of the Coutts banking dynasty but broke away from City life to sail to Australia, help develop the Caribbean island of Mustique and finally become an expert in Mediterranean gardening.

Hugo Money-Coutts - as he was known before he inherited the ancient barony of Latymer in 1987 - did not follow his father and grandfather into the directors' room of Coutts & Co, the exclusive private bank in the Strand which traces its origins to 1692 and is best known for providing discreet overdraft facilities for members of the Royal Family.

Instead, he made his early career with the merchant banking house of Robert Fleming, where he specialised in investment business. In 1963, however, at the age of 37, he left both his job and his marriage to sail his 39ft ketch Heliousa, first to Majorca and then, via the Panama Canal, to Australia. He was accompanied by a young girlfriend, Jinty Calvert, who was a cousin of his first wife and subsequently became his second.

"I suppose my friends will think I'm crazy," Money-Coutts remarked at the time, "but I'm tired of fighting my way across London's traffic and tussling with people in the Underground. Everything has come easy to me in life so far, now I want to try it the hard way. Perhaps my friends may envy me, but while they are lashing into large dinners at the Savoy in a year's time, I might be on the dole in Australia."

Nothing so tiresome came to pass, however, and the couple flew back from the Antipodes (having abandoned the notion of a round-the-world voyage) to set up home in Majorca. There Money-Coutts began to develop his passion for horticulture and established, in 1967, with a local partner, a flourishing plant nursery venture called Vivero Hortus.

For some years he diverted a large part of his energies to Mustique where, as managing director and co-owner of the island's development company, he helped his Eton contemporary Colin Tennant (Lord Glenconner) to turn Mustique into an exclusive holiday paradise for the glitterati of the day, who included Princess Margaret and Mick Jagger.

The mercurial Tennant was not an easy partner, and in due course Money-Coutts returned to Majorca, where he became an acknowledged authority on the design and cultivation of gardens suited to the island's climate, with its hot, dry summers and mild winters. In 1999 he published The Mediterranean Gardener, a comprehensive, practical guide - illustrated with photographs by Niccolo Grassi - which describes more than 300 plants, from Chinaberry trees to twisted carobs and climbing lilies.

Hugo Nevill Money-Coutts was born on March 1 1926, the only son of the 7th Lord Latymer, who was a director of Coutts & Co for 45 years (though non-executive in the post-war period) and chairman of the London board of the Ottoman Bank.

The Latymer barony dated from 1431, when it was created for Sir George Nevill, a son of the first Earl of Westmorland, of whom Burke's Peerage recorded that he "went mad by 11 June 1451, but remained only intermittently so since he went on being called to Parliament for another 18 years".

George's grandson, the second baron, helped suppress the revolts of Lambert Simnel and Perkin Warbeck, and fought at the battle of Flodden; the third baron was a leader of the Pilgrimage of Grace - though he claimed to have been so under duress, and was pardoned - and married as his third wife Catherine Parr, who went on (in her own third marriage) to be the sixth wife of Henry VIII.

The fourth baron died without a male heir in 1577, and the title was in abeyance until 1912, when the Committee of Privileges of the House of Lords ruled, in the absence of other claimants, that it had passed through one of the fourth baron's daughters to Francis Burdett Thomas Money-Coutts.

Francis's father was the Rev James Money, and his mother was Clara Burdett, daughter of the radical politician Sir Francis Burdett and Sophia Coutts - who was in turn a daughter of Thomas Coutts, from whom the banking house took its name; hence, by a roundabout route, the adoption in 1880 of the surname Money-Coutts.

Hugo Money-Coutts was educated at Eton and won an exhibition to read Natural Sciences at Trinity College, Oxford, which he never took up. Commissioned in the Grenadier Guards at the end of the Second World War, he was posted to Germany, where he served as an intelligence officer and on one occasion commanded a firing squad.

On leaving the Army he trained as an accountant before entering Robert Fleming, a family partnership with close connections to Coutts; in his bachelor days he shared a flat with Timmy (later Sir Seymour) Egerton, a brother officer in the Grenadiers who joined Coutts and was subsequently its chairman.

Money-Coutts played a major part, on Flemings' behalf and alongside Andrew Carnwath of Barings, in the development of Save & Prosper, a joint venture which became one of Britain's largest and most profitable unit trust businesses. He was also a director of a number of investment and insurance companies with Fleming or Coutts connections.

Had he not set sail elsewhere, Hugo Money-Coutts might have gone on to senior positions in the financial world: he was highly intelligent as well as charming, with an enquiring mind but a low threshold of boredom. Even during his City years he found time to travel widely in search of rare plants, particularly of the Daphne family: the collection he built up was donated to the Royal Horticultural Society in 1962.

He was also a dashing sportsman. Having rowed in the VIII at Eton, he and his schoolfriend Alan Godsall trained for the Silver Goblets at Henley after the war - but withdrew (as did several other pairs) when they realised the strength of the Soviet team taking part in the regatta. Undismayed, the duo took up motor sport, entering the Monte Carlo Rally in an Allard saloon.

As cheerful amateurs without even a third man in their car, they observed with awe the large teams of mechanics who cosseted top professional competitors such as Stirling Moss. Nevertheless, the powerful V8 Allard succeeded in being the first car actually to reach Monte Carlo. Money-Coutts went out on the town to celebrate, and had to be kicked and hauled out of bed at 5am to take the wheel for the last stage of the rally, a gruelling circuit of the surrounding hills.

They finished, creditably enough, in sixth place overall, but had less success in the notoriously hair-raising Alpine Trial: hurtling through treacherous Dolomite hairpins they slid off a precipice - to be followed shortly afterwards by another car carrying the motoring correspondent of The Daily Telegraph. Both crews survived to commiserate in a local hostelry, and Money-Coutts later returned to the Alps to take up bobsleighing; he represented Great Britain in the Oertzen Cup on the Cresta Run in 1960, finishing second. He was also a member of the Royal Yacht Squadron. In later years he left Majorca to live in northern mainland Spain.

He married first, in 1951, Ann Emmet, whose mother, Baroness Emmet of Amberley, was Conservative MP for East Grinstead and a delegate to the 1952 UN assembly. They had two sons - of whom the elder, Crispin Money-Coutts, born in 1955, succeeds to the barony - and a daughter. By his second marriage to Jinty Calvert in 1965, he had a son and two daughters. He died on November 10.



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