Anthony Hilton: Rowland keeping it in the family bank
Saturday 30 March 2013
I rather fancy the idea of being so rich that you buy your own bank to look after your money rather than having to lie awake worrying that your high street branch is about to go bust on you.
Channel Islands-based David Rowland did that, buying the Luxembourg subsidiary of one of the failed Icelandic banks – and his daughter Venetia Lean, with whom I had lunch a few days ago, is one of the team running what is now known as Banque Havilland – named after the family home.
It was a slightly odd feeling talking to the daughter because I used to interview the father fairly often 40 years ago, when he was a controversial figure, and they have a lot of the same mannerisms. But more to the point they seem to have a similar passion and flair for business, and not content with simply running the family funds, the bank has now opened a London office, recruited some key people from Citi's private bank, and is looking to expand its client base.
Only seriously wealthy people need apply – but apparently after this week's events in Cyprus they are doing so in droves.
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