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Druces 250 Interview Series


Druces 250 Interview Series


Adam Chadwick

Curator of Collections, MCC

Adam Chadwick

Curator of Collections, MCC

250 not out: Harnessing heritage to build a business innings

Adam Chadwick is Curator of Collections at the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), based at the Home of Cricket, Lord’s Ground in London’s NW8. Here, he shares his insights on how harnessing the theme of heritage can be a powerful tool to help organisations build a successful innings.


Club history

Our origins – similarly to Druces – go back to the 18th century. We were a club that started off in north east London, just – in Islington. At that point we operated under a different name and in the 50 years from the club’s inception as Marylebone Cricket Club, we changed our location three times within London. That was down to commercial pressure, and the relationship that the club members had with their home ground was essentially one of tenant and landlord. The person who rented the ground on behalf of the club was moved on by increases in rent. He was a businessman. And for all the romance of Thomas Lord, after whom the ground was named; when it came to his retirement in the 1820s he was going to sell to property developers. That was until one of the club members who was a governor at the Bank of England stepped in and saved it, which wasn’t the first time in its history. 

So it’s a club that has changed its name; it has changed its location; it has changed its colours. Our orange and yellow colours may be very famous now, but nobody knows why we have them. It’s not documented or recorded anywhere in our archives. We started off in sky blue, which was Eton’s colour and Cambridge’s colour and has those aristocratic connotations. But in the 1860s, when the question of the freehold of the ground was again at stake, a club member advanced us a significant loan at a very favourable interest rate. That is almost at the same time as the colours changed to orange and yellow. For a long time, we had various romantic notions, but what we suspect is that the gentleman in question was William Nicholson and Nicholson’s gin bottles carry orange and yellow labels!

So, we are not what we purport to be! Much like cricket, actually; that’s a nice reflection of cricket because cricket started off as an excuse for gambling, just as did horse racing under the stewardship of the Jockey Club, prize fighting and many other sports. Then the veil of the Victorians descended and gave us this lovely pristine image of empire and chivalry and of a gentleman’s game.  Those themes – of romance and nostalgia – certainly endure. So that’s our history in a bit of a nutshell; and we face a very different future to the past, that’s for sure.

The iconic Long Room sits inside a Grade II listed building at the heart of cricket's grandest clubhouse and is a prime example of the organisation's heritage. The Long Room features many of the finest paintings in MCC's impressive collection

The iconic Long Room sits inside a Grade II listed building at the heart of cricket's grandest clubhouse and is a prime example of the organisation's heritage. The Long Room features many of the finest paintings in MCC's impressive collection

Internal buy-in

On arrival at MCC (my background was in the commercial art world) my brief was to bring a sense of dynamism to the collections. The club recognised that it had an asset whose potential was not being realised. In my 15 years here since, my role can be split into loose categories. The first period, really, was internal advocacy – helping the club to understand how it can use its heritage. And, interestingly, that was more easily achieved by doing things externally than it was internally. Take the Lord’s tour – which brings visitors to Lord’s on non-match days and takes them behind the scenes for around an hour and a half – the attendance on that has trebled within the 10-12 years that I have been here.

A big success for us came in 2006-2007, as part of a situation we didn’t really want to be in – which was having to take the Ashes over to Australia. MCC had resisted and resisted, until we eventually agreed and it turned into a significant PR coup for the Club. More than anything, the Club thought “wow”, everybody was hugely enthused and on my return to committee, the simple question was: “What’s next?” And that was a real turning point in terms of internal advocacy.

MCC’s initial resistance to sending the urn to Australia was based on its true history; that it was never the trophy for `test’ matches. Pressure however had grown when Australia were beating England for fun and there was public demand for a (physical) trophy; our task was to solve that conundrum. The Australian cricket board and the government (under John Howard – a huge Cricket fan) were clamouring for a trophy, and after the famous 2005 series so was the English Cricket Board, so there were lots of external voices asking if we could do something about this.

The Club’s intransigence is, I think, interesting in the wider context of an organisation and how it endures. It doesn’t always make the right decisions and it may often be seen in a very bad light, but if an organisation builds a commitment to and a momentum around heritage then it weathers those things. Not only that, but people then look back and see that, for whatever reason, it has got through that. So it’s almost the difficult situations in an organisation’s history (if you are looking at heritage) that are really interesting from the point of view of the future.


Internal investment

The second critical factor was an investment in facilities, staff and the collection itself. So we almost faced outwards (to attain acclaim), then turned inwards (to become a more effective operation) and now we are in the process of turning back outwards again. Our real task over the next five years is to spread the heritage around the site because now we have an organised, practical, procedurally efficient museum and archive facility which can service the collection across the site - whether it’s in the Pavilion, in the new stands or elsewhere.

The character of the staff has had to adapt over time to such change. If you look at the three curators, the first one was the daughter of the chief executive – she had absolutely no experience at all but she was efficient and she was disciplined and she was socially very confident, so she had no problem writing to Len Hutton and Denis Compton and saying “Give us your bats for the museum”. The second incumbent had an archivist qualification and was a cricket man through and through and now there is me using a commercial background and good communication to blend the heritage into the core functions of the Club. My staff are all obviously, heritage professionals - they are all trained in what they do - but not all of them had great cricketing knowledge from the outset and they have picked this up from colleagues; the wider staff however are in general mostly cricketing people and we’ve had to educate them to the purpose and practice of modern museums. So it’s a reciprocal relationship which has worked very nicely.

Up to this point, that sense of heritage has been very much part of the fabric of the place – if I sit chatting with the ticket office manager who has been here for 25 years, Lord’s seems to materialise in the course of conversation. But looking at trajectory and sustainability: the Club has grown, even in my time, from an organisation of just over 100 permanent employees to one of over 200 employees and I think that, as we continue to grow, there has to be a more formal system of induction and ongoing ‘education’ (for want of a better word) around our heritage; if not, the ebb and flow of employees prevents them absorbing its history either from colleagues or from the Ground’s atmosphere.  I think that’s another interesting thing about organisations, is how they grow while still maintaining a cohesion and ethos.


What separates MCC from other organisations

In my role, I have worked across sports with other museums: I’ve worked with the All England Tennis Club at Wimbledon, the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, the River & Rowing Museum at Henley and many more, so I am able to make accurate comparisons. The Royal & Ancient has 1,000 members for instance, while MCC has 18,000. However I’ve always found it a very difficult question, picking favourite items from a collection or trying to say how special something is. We are not the oldest, we are not the most elite, we are not the most democratic – it has to be your history and heritage that sets you apart. It’s the episodes in your history and how you’ve handled them. There’s certainly been ambition at MCC, there’s certainly been patience and persistence to guide the game and to administer the laws; the desire to be in control - that’s always been there. There’s certainly been no other club that is so focused on cricket to the exclusion of all else. Our equivalent in Australia – the Melbourne Cricket Club – is bigger but it’s broader, it takes in Australian Rules football, athletics and other sports. So we are very acutely focused on our sport.

The history of the Club, and of the game of cricket, generally, are showcased in the MCC Museum, where some of the game's most historic artefacts housed in state-of-the-art displays and exhibitions

The history of the Club, and of the game of cricket, generally, are showcased in the MCC Museum, where some of the game's most historic artefacts housed in state-of-the-art displays and exhibitions

Staying relevant

Organisations like Druces and MCC have been around for more than 200 years, and continuing to stay relevant is an important challenge. Yes, we have been around for 250 years but that is irrelevant if we are not relevant to the audience we are trying to service now.

MCC took the momentous decision to hand over the administration of English cricket in the 1970s, but Lord’s has continued to be preeminent amongst grounds in the UK; however, suddenly there are no guarantees of staging games beyond 2019, and it is unthinkable that MCC or Lord’s could retain their reputation should that happen. Half of the membership might say “They’d never dare to take it away from us” and “every touring team wants to play at Lord’s”; those statements may be accurate, but the Club can’t be complacent.

The challenge is to strike a balance between acknowledging, respecting and promoting the values and heritage we have built up over more than two centuries here, while ensuring the organisation never rests on its laurels; it is clear that MCC and Lord’s must refine their working practices year on year to meet the challenges of the future. An assumption of longevity and sacred status is dangerous to any business or organisation that wants to thrive.

Looking at Formula 1 and Silverstone as an example: there was an expectation that it would hold the British Grand Prix as part of the staple of Formula 1 but actually that whole idea was challenged and its future is still very much in the balance. We are very mindful of such things and there is an awareness that there needs to be a constant challenging of oneself.

MCC acts as a metaphorical House of Lords presently – the Club is involved in an advisory capacity at elite level and looks after the laws, invests in cricket at university level, supports cricket at Club level and promotes cricket to non-playing countries.

As an example, the new Warner Stand is being built here at a cost of £25 million. Most of the changes in that stand are not just to add seats to the ground; at the heart of it is security. The control room and match day facilities had fallen well behind the standard of those at other grounds. If an organisation is not proactive, it can end up scrabbling to find where it fits in a new paradigm. So we are extremely alive to that and I think that the critical thing is that, if an organisation doesn’t have confidence in itself then it can quickly spiral downwards. If you have confidence in whatever you do, and a commitment to excellence in doing it, that is the critical factor.


The impacts of technology and digitisation

If we look at the MCC’s core function of cricket, then technology is hugely important both for broadcasting and viewing the game but also within the play itself. As an advisor to the game, this makes it very important for MCC, too.  

Working discipline is absolutely crucial to the usefulness of technology in the running of the Club. My department’s role over the last ten years has to a large extent focussed on cataloguing an enormous paper archive to provide thorough, accessible institutional memory. Technological advances are exciting for this project but simultaneously the mushrooming of a new uncatalogued digital archive is a terrifying prospect. It is one thing to find enough server space but another entirely to maintain records that work for you; this relies upon disciplines that manage to transcend the short term somewhat fractured nature of work and working lives today.

From the infrastructure of the physical estate to committee papers, replay screens to financial accounting, greater emphasis year by year is laid on IT systems which themselves change year on year. The pressure on staff to train and keep up with this progress is ceaseless. It is perhaps not surprising that some organisations that endure have actually done so for ostensibly the `wrong’ reasons; they have been behind the times but avoided some of the errors or false dawns that technology sometimes provides.

Challenges in marrying the values of heritage, attached to the likes of Druces and MCC, with modern technology are part of the frustration of current working practice and yet an organisation with confidence will recognise the benefits of both and seek to capitalise on them. A willingness to compromise and adapt will breed success.




Spotlighting heritage while pushing for progress: The Mound Stand

We wanted to develop a canopied stand in the late 1980s. There was a shortlist of firms and that of Michael Hopkins was a wild card entry. He won the commission and he built the stand and it was a tremendous success. Hopkins was very popular with the members and he had a naturally empathy with the game of cricket and the Mound Stand really sparked the latest phase of development which has been extremely successful. So much so that the Media Centre (which frequently prompts visitor questions like “how on earth did that ever get built here?”) was exactly the same process: there was a shortlist of candidates, a wild card entry was added to that shortlist, they were awarded the contract, they built it and won the Stirling Prize for architecture and now tourists from around the world are as interested to visit that as they are to come into the Pavilion!

The Pavilion and the Media Centre are the physical embodiment at Lord’s of the combination of heritage and progress. The two buildings are at opposite ends of the playing area –they gaze at each other. Were they side to side then the visual tension that is currently balanced would be upset. The Mound Stand works as a fulcrum – it has elements of the traditional Pavilion but is undeniably modern. Both of these buildings have spawned imitators all around the world; it’s a fantastic example of how heritage has stood out.

The demands of commercialism have without doubt been resisted over the years; business has almost been squeezed in between the history here at Lord’s. MCC has never levelled the slope of theGround, for example (in fact the Club took the decision to not eradicate the slope). It could have done so and then there might have been tennis here; a women’s tournament at Lord’s alongside a mens’ tournament at Queen’s! There might have been baseball matches. If the Club had wanted to maximise income with a maximum number of seats, Lord’s would look like Wembley. But it didn’t and built individual stands and embraced this unique aspect of our sporting heritage. I can confidently say that we are unlikely ever to be ‘Kia Lord’s’ or ‘Foster’s Lord’s’! So business has been squeezed in alongside the history, rather than the other way around.

And I think that’s a big question for the future – we were a gentlemen’s club but now are almost more a commercial organisation – MCC and Lord’s: the Home of Cricket; how do you marry those two `brands’ successfully so that you get the best of club traditions alongside business?

The view of the iconic Lord's Pavilion, as seen from the Mound Stand terrace

The view of the iconic Lord's Pavilion, as seen from the Mound Stand terrace

How does heritage filter down the organisation?

It’s almost a question of filtering it up!

Although Committees and senior staff spend an enormous amount of time in the Pavilion, for example, that can actually mean they notice things less. Physically moving objects around forces people to notice heritage and when a `hang’ or a room setting comes together, people will feel the difference and remark upon it.  Then they will enjoy showing it off to guests and friends.

The other effective communicator is of course staff. The most obvious promoters of heritage are our tours and tour guides. They are absolutely marvellous. We have 30 tour guides and they know absolutely everything, and bring it all to life with their own little takes on this and that. All staff starting at Lord’s have to take the Tour.

The last five to ten years have been terrific in terms of an increasing staff desire to enjoy this sense of history and I think the final factor in that is engaging with a receptive audience; the visiting public who come to Lord’s invariably have a good time and every time they remark on that, staff cannot help but feel pride in their workplace.

Success in business

I appreciate opportunities for creativity at Lord’s, but leadership is of course the key factor. A strong leader at an organisation such as MCC recognises those unique historical elements that have formed our ‘heritage’ over more than two centuries, and the competitive advantage or differentiation they provide. He/she can marry them to the demands to drive the game of cricket forward and to grow and adapt the Club. These days, a leader seems to have a relatively short time to engage with an organisation and consequently what he/she can effect is limited; however it is amazing what can be achieved.  

Persistence, determination and patience are also keys to fostering business success. A Test batsmen has a doggedness in terms of mental concentration, though he is light on his feet and alive to the thinking of his opposition. The best batsmen are incredibly versatile; they now have to play in three different formats, though most have a classical, uncomplicated technique.


Ian Dembinski

Head of Rathbone Private Office

Ian Dembinski

Head of Rathbone Private Office

Analysing adaptability in business with Rathbones’ Ian Dembinski

Here, Ian Dembinski, Head of the Private Office at Rathbone Investment Management Ltd (Rathbones), talks to Druces about fostering an attitude of adaptability, and how the adaptive spirit has enabled Rathbones to thrive as a fellow enduring brand that has stood the test of time. Ian explores a wide range of issues, tackling topics from differentiation and dynamism through to diversity. He also explains how a key theme for success in business is the ability and willingness to embrace change and identify opportunities for growth in an evolving environment.


History and heritage: An introduction to Rathbones


I would describe our business firstly as fast-growing; in 2001-2002, Rathbones had about £6 billion under management and we employed about 750 people. If you wind forward to 2017 we are now at £34 billion and 1,100 permanent staff. That has been quite a remarkable growth curve. On top of that, we are listed on the London Stock Market with a market cap of about £1.1 billion, which gives us access to growth capital. We have 15 offices across the country, which gives us a great national reach, and we are also based in Jersey which is a very important centre for both wealth resident there or resident non-domiciled wealth that wants to book in Jersey. Originally, to get into our history a little bit, we were headquartered in Liverpool, which is very much the home city of Rathbones. But nowadays we have a headquarters in our brand new offices in Finsbury Circus, complete with moving tree holograms and very close to other venerable institutions such as Druces.

This connects, in a way, to Druces’ heritage. Rathbones dates back to 1742 but actually if you look at the records, that’s simply because that’s where the business records extend to. Actually, there’s very good evidence that Rathbones was trading well before that date and its origins go back to as early as the 1600s, which means that it’s in very good company with Hoares Bank (1672), Barclays (1690) and our very own Bank of England (1694). That is quite a long history and Druces was obviously founded 250 years ago so it’s very much in the same kind of history period. I think the remarkable thing about Rathbones – and what has enabled it to flourish all the way through that time – is a spirit of adaptability and an instinct for opportunity. It started its beginnings in very humble surroundings as a sawing yard in Liverpool and then branched into shipbuilding and general merchants, commodity trading and then morphed into a manager of family funds. It emerged into what it is now, which is a leading UK wealth manager in its own right – and throughout it has shown an ability to evolve and adapt to new conditions. It’s been a partnership; it’s had external alliances; and now it’s a quoted company. All the way through, it’s had an eye for that opportunity to evolve and get into new markets, recognising that what you need to be successful today is not what is necessarily going to make you successful tomorrow.

Ian Dembinski and the newly-formed Private Office: ‘what we do’

My role is Head of the Rathbone Private Office, which is a team looking after our bigger and more sophisticated clients, and operating on the same side of the table as the client to provide a family office solution without the cost and burden of running a family office yourself.

The reason why we’ve identified that opportunity is that if you have considerable wealth of say £30 million to £40 million, you want all of those services but, actually, the cost of running these family offices can be prohibitive at this level of wealth. So what we offer is access to excellent discretionary asset management, using both Rathbones' own investment managers as well as external managers and we’ve expanded our service dramatically, to include advisory services which Rathbones traditionally did not offer. We have tied up with Credit Suisse as our External Asset Management Partner and they have given us access to all their global research and advisory solutions.

We offer advisory mandates because bigger clients don’t always want to grant you discretion, because they tend to be control-orientated; particularly very sophisticated financial market professionals. They often want to have an advisory relationship where you advise them but ultimately they take the final decision. So we had to adapt by going beyond discretionary. Our service is an entirely objective one because, even though we respect and are proud of Rathbones’ investment management services, we recognise that no one firm is brilliant at everything. So, if a client asks us a question about investment management that Rathbones is not the answer for, we have the ability to go and select other managers to work with us.

At higher levels of wealth, clients can sometimes be overwhelmed by the task of deciding how to manage the totality of their wealth. We help clients by offering consolidated reporting across all their managers and over-arching asset allocation advice across all their assets. Our service brings it all together like a family office would and provides them with a consolidated report every quarter. So we’re therefore attacking one of the central problems of wealth management for families and for bigger clients which is fragmentation, and providing them a solution where they can, transparently, see the entirety of their wealth. This is an example of Rathbones evolving to appeal to the larger client base in a systematic way.

Differentiating ourselves from the competition

Firstly, the longevity of our client relationships and our staff retention set us apart. When I was interviewed to join Rathbones at the beginning of last year, one of the things that really struck me was a sense of warmth between the clients and their investment managers. That was immediately very visible because you could see it filtering through when they greeted each other. Our Investment Managers felt like an extension of the family, whereas at other, bigger financial institutions, the turnover of staff and the lack of that closeness of relationship is much more marked.

Adaptable geography: Joining the Circus   We are an extrovert organisation, so we have to go out and see clients; that was true when we were in the West End and it remains true now that we are in Finsbury Circus in the City. So even though people have written that the City is not the place for the private client, I think a) people will and do visit the city; but also b) we are out there meeting clients regularly anyway, irrespective of geography. So our office move from the West End to the City is, again, about us evolving and saying: “Look, we need to run an efficient organisation and have offices that are fit-for-purpose.” The other point about this office is it’s got room for growth. And if you see a business that’s gone from £6 billion in 2001 to £34 billion in 2017, where on earth are we going to be by 2020? So you need that capacity for more space, which this building clearly provides.

Adaptable geography: Joining the Circus

We are an extrovert organisation, so we have to go out and see clients; that was true when we were in the West End and it remains true now that we are in Finsbury Circus in the City. So even though people have written that the City is not the place for the private client, I think a) people will and do visit the city; but also b) we are out there meeting clients regularly anyway, irrespective of geography. So our office move from the West End to the City is, again, about us evolving and saying: “Look, we need to run an efficient organisation and have offices that are fit-for-purpose.” The other point about this office is it’s got room for growth. And if you see a business that’s gone from £6 billion in 2001 to £34 billion in 2017, where on earth are we going to be by 2020? So you need that capacity for more space, which this building clearly provides.

An advisory-driven approach 

The second differentiating factor – and again I’m sure this resonates with Druces – is that we are advisory-driven, not product-driven. We’re different to some of the big financial institutions where you get a sense of ‘product-push’ because you’ve got a big factory which is pumping out product and it needs to find its end-user. It’s a very strong culture here that we do the best thing for the client first and we do not have any sales targets to go and sell this solution or that product. I think this then leads to an objectivity of advice and clients will ultimately benefit and feel that you aren’t trying to sell them something, which I think is a very important cultural difference.

A third area of differentiation is that Rathbones will always retain the discretion for individual investment managers to express their portfolio skill without excessive direction from a central unit. Now, if you are at one of the big investment management firms running more than $1 trillion of assets, you typically have a very powerful CIO who dictates to all of the managers in the regions they operate in about how to run money. That is not the case with Rathbones. If you come to Rathbones you will have access to the investment manager that actually runs your money and he or she will be able to express their views within a given parameter – because we do have a CIO with very extensive research capabilities. However, the investment manager retains their own sense of what is right for the client and uses our research to populate the portfolios. They run the portfolios and are still given a considerable degree of discretion. That’s very different to the very big institutions where the CIO determines views on the Euro or on European equities. In these models, the investment manager is really an asset allocator with limited freedom to express investment views.

In addition, we concentrate on wealth management, so we are not a firm that has investment banking attached to it, offices around the world, asset management, retail banking, like the big conglomerate banks. That gives a clarity of purpose on absolutely everything we do. The larger financial institutions are so complex that the client at the centre of the wealth management business almost feels lost, because they wake up one morning and find negative headlines on the latest scandal which may have nothing to do with wealth management. Now, we are always restlessly trying to make sure that we retain our excellent relationship with the FCA, the regulator and our clients. While you can never say that something won’t go wrong, it’s certainly easier if you stick to your knitting and you’re not going to be impacted by things that are outside of your control. So we are an unashamedly pure investment management business, uninfluenced by external parties trying to direct us to go beyond our natural area of activity. That’s a big difference to the private banking model.

Analysing adaptability

Rathbones is on a journey. Well before I joined, Rathbones decided that it needed to invest in quality equity and fixed income research and have a Chief Investment Officer who could explain the world and our views on markets to our client-base. So we’ve adapted from a model where that didn’t exist 10 years ago, to having a proper research base which still allows the Investment Manager discretion to populate our investment portfolios with smart ideas. We’ve also adapted by creating dedicated teams to look after charities, where we run about £4 billion in a specialist unit. We have a team called Greenbank which runs £863 million of ethical and sustainable investment portfolios. That is particularly targeted at private clients and charities that want to have an explicitly ethical approach to their investment philosophy. We have a team of investment managers and research analysts that research stocks and investment opportunities which fit that need. That’s another example of us adapting away from everybody being a generalist investment manager, to having more specialist units.

Greenbank  runs ethical and sustainable investment portfolios. Click through to learn more about Rathbones' dedicated charity teams.

Greenbank runs ethical and sustainable investment portfolios. Click through to learn more about Rathbones' dedicated charity teams.

We’re seeing the need to continue to adapt in terms of technology; we have significantly enhanced our web-based portal for online reporting to clients. We actually think this is going to be an evolutionary process because the children of our clients are even more tech-savvy than their parents. Over the next five years their demands to be able to look at their portfolios 24/7 and indeed manipulate data online will increase. We see opportunities to significantly improve the client on-boarding experience because, currently, the documentation you have to sign is very extensive. If you can streamline it by doing this with digital signature you also get great risk-control, because everything is electronically recorded, as opposed to everything done by post. There are obviously operational efficiencies in sending valuations and analysis to clients through websites, so there are a lot of opportunities in the tech area for us to evolve. Our quarterly consolidated report is physical, but I can already see that in the next five years this will transition to digital as part of our continued tech journey.

So Rathbones is on a journey: it’s on a journey in terms of developing a CIO with research views; it’s developing specialist teams like Greenbank and other charity-specific servicing; it’s developing our technology platform; and it’s on a journey with the Rathbone Private Office.


Adaptability breeds dynamism

Clients and potential clients see the quality of our discretionary asset management; they see the fact that we are a pure investment manager so therefore we don’t have the conflicts of product platforms trying to sell through us as a wealth manager. They see the length of our history which implies to them that this is an organisation which has the legs to be able to look after a family which itself might have a very long history. When you transpose on top of that the new services that we provide: advisory, consolidated reporting, asset allocation and a wider credit offering - suddenly your appeal is transformed.

All of this is happening inside a 270-year-old business which shows the adaptability of an old firm with an eye for opportunity. The Rathbone Private Office will not be the last of this adaptive approach; Philip Howell or other members of the senior management team always have their eyes trained on new opportunities, based on an instinct for innovation.

Any organisation – to retain dynamism – needs to bring new talent into it, otherwise it can stagnate. Philip Howell has brought in a lot of new talent recently, to help it transition into that growth curve, because the way you run a £6 billion business is not the same as the way you run a £34 billion business, with an ambition to go to £40 billion. You’ve got to have some institutional-style thinking as well as marrying it to the great advisory-driven approach; the impressive long-term client retention; the fact that our staff have got an average stay here of 15 years, which is remarkable. This is paralleled by firms like Druces. It shows that people really like working here, and that really appeals to the client base.

Bringing on and employing young graduates who bring a fresh approach is also a core part of nurturing adaptability and helps an organisation to move with the times. I think we need to practice diversity, which is encouraged – not because it’s ‘politically correct’ but because it’s good for business. At Rathbones, we recognise that the City, in general, perhaps hasn’t done enough for diversity. In our hiring practices, we want to correct that. There’s a tremendous opportunity for Rathbones to make itself more appealing to women as clients. Women are increasingly important, entrepreneurially, and are very important in decision-making around family wealth that perhaps wasn’t the case even 10 to 15 years ago. Sadly, also, you see family break-up with divorces and women often have considerable wealth of their own to manage. We are keen to work with external partners who have a similar standing and viewpoint on diversity, perhaps through diversity events – and that’s another opportunity for us to demonstrate adaptability and expand into a marketplace that hasn’t necessarily been well-served up to now.

There are barriers to overcome and I’ll speak plainly about that. Rathbones has a relatively mature client base and therefore we want to expand our appeal to a younger, dynamic entrepreneurial class. We’re doing various events and tie-ups with external partners to stimulate that. For example, a forum in June where we are inviting 30-40 entrepreneurs who are within 24 months of sale of their businesses. We will present to them some of the key issues around disposal with a panel of investment banking experts and some of our own people talking about how to manage your wealth prior to sale. We want to adapt, also, by appealing to tech entrepreneurs who have perhaps invested absolutely everything in their business but at some point sell their company and then require investment management capabilities.

Dedicating specific marketing spend to diversity and to running women's forums, for example, is again all about adapting. But the interesting point here is around matching rhetoric with meaningful action. You can’t just face the world and say “I’m more modern,” without becoming genuinely modern, internally. That’s the reason you need to hire talent from outside, talent that is going to produce new ideas; that’s the reason you have to try new initiatives, and ask uncomfortable questions about what we are doing around diversity. Then when clients ask you about how many female investment managers you have got – which is a client question I have been asked – you are more likely in five years’ time to have a better answer than the one we do now, speaking with all humility. Again, promoting these values and prioritising diversity doesn’t just come from some altruistic spirit of us being ‘nice’ – it’s because this is good business. Ultimately, that is what will always drive change, not altruistic feelings.


It’s about being consistent in terms of your outward face and your inward face – if you’re going to have a Greenbank ethical business then you have to be a responsible employer yourself.

Musings on Druces

Druces is a similar, long-standing firm that has stood the test of time since 1767. When you think about Druces, you see some of the same attributes about putting the client first, with objective advice; and retaining the best people over a significant period of time, to serve the client base and provide that consistency of approach. There’s also no doubt that Druces has had to cope with big changes in the regulatory, legal and jurisdictional environment and the firm has obviously shown the same adaptive spirit as Rathbones. The world as we know it has changed post Brexit and Trump. Everything that seemed to be set in stone even two years ago, has been completely ripped up, and that is going to create opportunities for Druces to navigate these changes for clients. When things stay very, very static, your opportunity set is less. Not only do we share a postcode and the surrounds of Finsbury Circus, but both Rathbones and Druces share the same values, creating a confidence in each other for the future. 



A present in context: Capturing the moment

Instead of giving yourself a present, what you should do is have a time capsule which you bury in Finsbury Circus and you should have the following contents:

  • One of your partners’ mobile phones so everyone can have a very good laugh in 250 years’ time about how we used to communicate;
  • An invoice to a client, to show how reasonable your fees are;
  • A copy of your payroll, to show how modestly you pay yourselves; and
  • A shrink-wrapped copy of today’s FT, which shows what the news was today, allowing people to remind themselves of the context in which you operate.

Put a lid on that, and then open it in 250 years – which is a mark of your self-confidence that you will be around in that time; that would be my present to you, to organise all of that.


Roy Campbell

Roy Campbell

Roy Campbell, Senior Partner at Druces:

It is with great pride that I am able to talk about the firm as Druces LLP celebrates its 250th year in 2017 with the firm looking forward to future growth and continued success.

It is 250 years since the firm was founded in the City of London and throughout our existence we have strived to stay firmly in step with our clients and their objectives.  The firm’s 250th is certainly a reason to celebrate.  However, while this landmark may be exciting for Druces, it is nevertheless  meaningless to our clients and other stakeholders unless we can continue to prove that the firm is in tune with them and understands their particular space. 

We are all too conscious that need to be more relevant to our clients and intermediaries than ever before.  So, while there is every reason to celebrate, the focus for our 250th year will be firmly on the better understanding of our clients’ needs and arming them with legal advice that progresses their business and personal objectives in the very best and effective way possible.

While we are focused on the future – our next 250 years in business – we also want to take this opportunity to reflect on the values, qualities and achievements that have kept us in business for two and a half centuries and highlight how those qualities will continue to drive us forward in the evolving legal landscape.

As you will see from the shape and fluency of our new anniversary website, the ‘Druces journey’ is interspersed with landmark events and other points of interest. The journey is far from over, but an anniversary milestone such as this is an optimum moment to indulge in past reflection and measure our progress.  Inspired by past achievements (some of which are detailed on our timeline), we look forward to driving the firm forward into the next 250 years.

The strength of the firm continues to grow, thanks in large part to our commitment to the seven core values that have established Druces as a leading firm. As a tour of our interactive timeline will show, the firm is certainly steeped in history.  Recognising, and learning from, our unique heritage is an essential part of the firm’s continued success. But our other core qualities – those of capacity for change, agility, ambition, individuality, integrity, and personality – are also essential in helping us to continue to meet the requirements of clients today. These attributes will remain front-and-centre as we continue to build on our market presence in 2017 and beyond.

To further enhance our appreciation of the qualities underpinning our Firm, we will be bringing you a series of exclusive interviews which will help to showcase how those values have become inextricably linked to tomorrow’s methods of doing business. We want to provide clients with a competitive edge based on sound, innovative advice given in real-time. At the core of that endeavour is a commitment to upholding the attributes that have served our clients so well for the past 250 years. 

You are invited to subscribe to our mailing list – to ensure you do not miss any of the content we are putting together during 2017. We will also add to the calendar of events as we confirm additional activities. 

In summary, and in keeping with the previous 249, we are set for a busy year! But we have always thrived in busy times, and will continue to carve a clear path for clients through the complexities of their chosen fields.

It is my privilege to wish everybody associated with the Firm a very happy 250th.  The legacy of our 250th year will, undoubtedly, provide the springboard to continued growth and I am sure there will be plenty more to celebrate in the coming years. 

Please join us as our journey continues, and here’s to the next 250 years.

Find out more about Roy Campbell on the Druces LLP website