Best Bank Account For Millionaires

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Hollywood has everyone believing that being a millionaire is about having secret bank accounts in tax havens and clandestine rendezvous in the middle of nowhere. Although the image of the movie creators is often stretched, they have one thing right, being a millionaire requires having a unique account that can handle the massive cash flow in and out of the account on short notice.

With the modern anti-laundering laws, moving money isn’t as easy as it used to be. The rise in corruption and dirty money has forced governments and banks to work closely to weed out these vices.

For millionaires, that means carefully choosing the bank you work with to ensure they have the right balance of security and convenience to keep up with your liquidity needs. But, of course, these requirements change from one person to the next, and different institutions offer varying features. That’s why we will look into the different types of millionaire bank accounts.

Types of Private Banking for Millionaires

When looking into banking options, millionaires have two primary options available to them:

  • Personal banking – This is the typical method of banking we all know, where the bank offers its products and services to the general public.
  • Private banking – Private banking is reserved for high-net-worth individuals and is offered by the same banks that offer personal banking. In addition to the normal services offered by personal banking, private banking includes customised services, individually-tailored products, and investment opportunities. It is a more exclusive method of banking.

Most banks in the U.K. have a private banking arm designed to attract affluent clientele. The benefits of private banking vary according to the bank of choice. 

 Why Do Millionaires Use Private Banks?

There are numerous reasons why millionaires turn to private banks. The most obvious is these banks’ wider range of services and financial products. Private banks also offer better convenience and expertise under the same roof.

Under private accounts, millionaires can access other perks like more favourable options and rates that make these types of banks extremely attractive.

You’ll likely find the same services that personal banks offer in private banks, like credit cards, checking accounts, and savings accounts. But you’ll also find other services that you can’t find in regular banks.

Types of Services Offered by Private Banks

 Being a highly affluent person has its benefits. One is banks working hard to attract your business and net worth. The range of services offered by private banks varies, but these are some of the typical services that you will find at most private banks if you’re a millionaire:

Higher rates on savings accounts

If you’re wondering why the rich keep getting richer, that’s because they get the best of everything, including higher interest rates on savings accounts. While personal banks offer tiered rates, private banks offer the institution’s highest rates on savings accounts.

Dedicated customer service

Being a high-net-worth client comes with better treatment and more efficient service. Because millionaires are high-priority clients, they get the matching treatment. As a private bank customer, you get more advisory services ad portfolio management options than you would in your typical branch.

Higher payment limit

Personal bank accounts limit the amount of money you can transfer in a day. It’s one of the safeguards in place to prevent money laundering. Although private banks have the same limits, they are higher. Typically a customer in a private bank can move larger sums than typical accounts. However, clients can also use payments services to facilitate sending large sums of money within the country and across borders. ATM withdrawals, debit card purchases, and bank transfer limits are all significantly higher with a private bank.

Better borrowing terms

Besides getting better interest rates on their savings accounts, millionaires also get better interest rates on loans. The rates are typically lower because the clients are at lower risk.

Cash management accounts

This is easily the most compelling feature of private banks. Cash management accounts use bank partnerships to spread funds to multiple accounts to protect more than the standard deposit insurance. This is particularly important for high net-worth customers because it reduces risk and ensures they get most of their deposits back in case of liquidation. Millionaires can also use fintech apps to move money around in different accounts and even pay for products and services.

Fee waivers

Millionaires automatically get waivers on fees and charges for various services, including wire transfers, safety deposit boxes, and cashier’s checks, among others.

Real estate management

Private banks can also provide services that help clients manage their real estate portfolios. The services provided include advice on management and acquisition strategies to maximise cash flow or selling tasks like identifying qualified buyers or minimising capital gains.

Best Private Banks for Millionaires

Most banks in the U.K. have a private banking wing. Which bank you choose depends on how large the bank is and the types of services available at the bank. Here is a collection of some of the best private banks in the country in no particular order.

Barclays Bank

Barclays PLC is a British multinational universal bank headquartered in London, England. It has two primary divisions, The Barclays U.K. and Barclays International divisions, which are supported by the service company Barclays Execution Services.

Barclays has a storied history in the U.K. finance market. It traces its origins in the jewellery banking business in the 17th century, which is how it built trust with its clients. It has a national listing on the London Stock Exchange and a secondary listing on the New York Stocks Exchange. It is considered the most powerful multinational corporation in terms of ownership.

Barclays Bank U.K. consists of the U.K. personal banking, the U.K. business banking, and the Barclaycard consumer divisions. A U.K. Stand-alone bank and other entities within the group manage these.

The Barclays International division has the corporate and investment bank and the Consumer, Card, and Payment business.

However, while Barclays is clearly a force to reckon with in the financial sector, it’s not considered a major player in private banking. That’s because, in 2014, it limited its private banking to clients with at least £ 500,000.

Lloyds Banking Group

Lloyds Banking Group is a domestic financial behemoth and one of the largest banks in the country, with over 30 million customers and 65,000 employees. It was formed from the acquisition of HBOS in 2009. But the group’s legacy is almost half a millennium-long and dates back to the founding of the Bank of Scotland by the Scottish Parliament in 1695.

Lloyds Banking Group also has a presence in other destinations like the Middle East, Asia, and Europe.

It operates under several separate brands, including Lloyds Bank, Halifax, Bank of Scotland, and Scottish Widows.

Like Barclays Bank, Lloyds has a national LSE listing and a secondary NSE listing. The private banking wing of Lloyds banking Group offers numerous benefits, including quick and convenient access to the specialist lending team and personal introductions to specialist partners.

The bank also provides financial advice and tax experts, variable interest rates, instant online access by telephone, and non-renewable accounts to maintain the interest rate.  

Metro Bank

Anthony Thompson and Vernon Hill 2010 founded Metro Bank. It was the first major bank to be opened in the U.K. in over 150 years.

The bank has had its fair share of ups and downs, and as recently as 2019, it announced it did not have enough capital to meet regulatory requirements. Although the reactions after this announcement greatly affected the bank’s shares and deposits, it is still operational.

Metro Bank provides banking services to individuals and legal entities. In 2020 the bank agreed to acquire Retail Money Market Ltd, and in 2021, the bank finalised the sale of a £3.04 billion residential mortgage portfolio to NatWest, and the deal was finalized.

The bank has an impressive private banking division with impressive benefits for high-net-worth individuals.

To be eligible for private banking at Metro Bank, you must have at least £1 million in assets or borrowings with the bank. The borrowings can include a mortgage.

As a private bank customer, you get to enjoy dedicated personal services and access to specialist teams in various sectors, including private clients, sports and entertainment, and professional and senior executives.

The account’s perks also include a money management account, credit cards, mortgage and buy-to-let services, foreign currency accounts, and enhanced rates of various accounts, including fixed-term and savings accounts. Members also get access to the partnership loans solution to make it easier to buy into a partnership allowing you to focus on your career and getting to the next level.

NatWest

The National Westminster Bank, or the NatWest, is a major retail and commercial bank in the United Kingdom. The bank was founded in 1968 after the National Provincial Bank and Westminster Bank merger. In 2000, it became part of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group, which was later renamed NatWest group.

NatWest is considered one of the Big Four clearing banks in the U.K. It has a large network of over 960 branches, 3,400 ATMs, and a 24/7 action line telephone line. Currently, the bank has over 7.5 million private clients and 850,000 small business accounts.

NatWest’s private banking account is called Premier Banking. Under this umbrella, the bank offers a number of different accounts, including the NatWest Premier Select Account and the NatWest Premier Reward Account.

To be eligible for these accounts, you must be a U.K. resident with a sole income of £100,000 or a joint income of £120,000 paid into the NatWest bank account or have a minimum outstanding mortgage borrowings of £500,000 or savings or investments of at least £100,000.

The benefits of these accounts include concierge services, cinema discounts, round-the-clock expert help, and online banking.

These banks have also partnered with fintech apps that open more opportunities, lower rates and fees, and easier access to funds. Apps make accessing money easier and saving on transfer and processing fees. For individuals transacting a lot of money, these savings on fees can accumulate to hundreds of pounds every month and into the thousands annually.

How is Banking Different For the Ultra-rich?  

Banking looks slightly different for high-net-worth individuals – okay, it’s very different. The queues are not as long, and the banks offer better interest rates to such individuals. But the same also applies to those with a higher account balance anyway.

When considering private banking, you should know that having a million pounds in your account will not guarantee access to all the exclusive banks. In most cases, you will need more than that. Simply put, to be considered for some of these private banks, you should be the crème de la crème of the wealthy, the 1% of the 1%.

Here are some factors that millionaires consider when selecting a private bank:

Jurisdiction

Every country is its own jurisdiction. They can make their own laws, more specifically tax laws, and have a legal framework.

When dealing with this much money, the tax becomes a big thing. But, just like the poor, the rich also don’t like paying taxes, which is why jurisdictions pay a lot of attention to their tax laws.

While some countries opt to increase their taxes, others have done the opposite by reducing them. Reducing taxes attracts wealthy investors and their money. This gives them access to capital that would be previously unavailable.

Most rich people opt to move their money into a bank account in a jurisdiction that offers them lower taxes. If their current jurisdiction has unfavourable tax laws, they can set up a shell company in their preferred jurisdiction and funnel money through it.

Onshore and offshore accounts

This is something you might have heard about, even in movies. Offshore accounts are simply bank accounts held at a bank located out of the U.K. The accounts are perfectly legal to have as long as all the due taxes are paid. However, the accounts are often associated with tax avoidance, but this isn’t always the case.

Countries often share financial information with each other, so having an offshore account doesn’t guarantee tax avoidance or keeping your money secret. But are some secretive jurisdictions that don’t share the information with other countries, but these are very few.

The greatest reason millionaires have offshore accounts is not to evade taxes but rather for risk management. In countries where the central bank only insures a small number of bank deposits, millionaires and billionaires must identify management accounts that can help protect more of their money, but this isn’t the best solution.

Also, offshore accounts help protect the money’s value against other currencies. Like other currencies or investments, the value of the pound also fluctuates. If you have a lot of money, these changes can be worth thousands of pounds. To safeguard against this, the rich diversify their portfolio by moving some of their money offshore.

Asset Diversification

Money kept in a bank account is liquid cash. While this is good to have, it doesn’t grow as it would in other types of investments.

High-yield checking accounts give you rates of 1% with a low-risk level. But millionaires typically want a higher return on their money, even if it means greater risk.

Therefore, millionaires have different bank accounts that do not contain cash. Instead, they opt for assets like mutual funds.

Still, they keep some of their wealth in bank accounts in the U.K. most of them are the same ones regular people use but lean towards the bank’s private banking more instead of the personal banking we use.

Final Thoughts

Undoubtedly, being a high-net-worth individual comes with numerous perks and benefits. Among them is the types of banking available, like private banking. These options are more convenient and open many investment opportunities and valuable information that these individuals can capitalise on to make even more money.

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