At the height of the global financial crisis in 2008, I walked through the doors of Coutts to start a career that opened my eyes to a new world of possibilities. I came into Private Banking with nothing more than a strong ambition to succeed, and a desire to show others that a career in this field was possible for the many who never consider it as achievable.
Growing up I didn’t know the purpose or function of a Private Bank. I didn’t know any bankers or people working in the finance industry. The people I looked up to were those working in my local community. The men and women who worked tirelessly, often underfunded and underpaid to provide skills and opportunities to broaden our horizons. I didn’t quite know what I wanted to be when I was young, but I knew that I wanted to be someone who could offer a different perspective to people. Especially to those from disadvantaged backgrounds that are restricted from navigating the social economics that control their world.
I come from a West African household, where money was rarely the topic of conversation whenever the family gathered. It felt culturally inappropriate to talk about money, but we were always encouraged to work hard to make enough of it, so we could have the life we wanted. We were reminded about the power and scarcity of it, but never taught about how to make, grow or preserve it. That was something we had to go into the world and discover for ourselves.
I realised that my experience was not unique when speaking with friends and colleagues in the Black community. For many people, the most memorable financial advice they received at home was ‘money doesn’t grow on trees’. Five years into my banking career, I realised I had a perspective that could change that. A perspective that could help people from all walks of life to make better informed choices. That perspective was about understanding money, and what it means not just to be wealthy but to be able to create and grow wealth.
Wealth is a complicated, multi-faceted concept which can be as elusive as the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Yet it can be achieved, either by individual effort or as a community. The notion of growing wealth within the Black community is vital. There are many examples of minority groups combining resources to create an ecosystem that has a real impact on a micro and macro scale.
Lilian Chovin, Head of Asset Allocation at Coutts, says, “We believe it’s best to stay focused on the future when investing – we recommend looking ahead five years or more. How do markets look over the longer term? How does that match with what you want from your money over time?”Stagflation became financially synonymous with the difficulties the UK and other economies faced in the 1970s. The oil producing organisation OPEC embargoed oil exports to many western nations, pushing up oil and energy prices dramatically. The rise in the cost of living, fuelled in part by wage price spirals, coincided with stagnant economic growth, and unemployment was high while things got more expensive. This resulted in stagflation.
Although we currently have an energy shock, especially in Europe, as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the main driver of today’s inflation pressures was the pandemic. It led to a large demand for goods when strained and locked-down supply chains couldn’t cope.