Coutts seeks agency for global PR strategy

Coutts Group, the international private banking business which owns the Queen’s bankers Coutts and Co, is close to appointing an agency to handle its global PR.

Coutts Group, the international private banking business which owns

the Queen’s bankers Coutts and Co, is close to appointing an agency to

handle its global PR.



Burson-Marsteller, Shandwick, Edelman, and Hill and Knowlton will pitch

for the business later this month. The account is likely to carry a

budget close to pounds 2 millon according to one agency source.



Coutts, owned by NatWest Group, has never used external PR help on a

retained basis before although it used Fishburn Hedges on project work

late in 1996. Fishburn Hedges was asked to pitch for the new account but

declined because it lacks a global network.



Deborah Botwood-Smith, director of group corporate communications at

Coutts, said: ’This fits in with our overall communications

strategy.



I came in around two years ago and have concentrated on things

internally.



We are now moving into a more active phase of communications.’



The appointed agency will work on building awareness of Coutts’

activities globally with particular emphasis on the UK, Latin America,

Asia and selected European markets. Botwood-Smith added: ’We need

external advice because a private bank needs to promote itself in

markets where it does not have a physical presence.’



Coutts offers private banking across three service areas: banking

services, trusts services and investment services. The appointed agency

is expected to work across these areas with a particular emphasis on

building Coutts’ reputation across the Far East and Latin America.



Coutts Group has 44 offices around the world, with its in-house

communications team based at its head office in London. Last year it

suffered a fall in profits of 72 per cent from pounds 105 million to

pounds 29 million because of a leap in bad debt provisions.



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