David Scott is the founder and Chairman of LGT Vestra and also the co-founder and Chairman of Tribe Impact Capital LLP.
He has over 30 years’ experience in the private client industry. Prior to LGT Vestra, he co- founded Scott Goodman Harris in 1998 to provide a high level of professional advice to city professionals. This business grew to become one of the top 20 independent IFAs in the UK, managing some £700m of assets. The business was sold to UBS in 2004 and David was appointed Head of HNW for the UK. He grew this business threefold over 3 years. In 2005 he was asked to take over UBS Wealth Management (UK) Ltd (formerly Laing And Cruickshank) in addition to his role as Head of HNW for UBS.
A difference of opinion over how clients should be treated led David to leave UBS to create Vestra Wealth LLP. Having managed an IFA, Private Bank and a Stockbroking firm, he was uniquely positioned to draw together the positive attributes from the three sectors into a unified proposition. He set up Vestra to focus on client service as the number 1 priority. In addition, a decision was taken by David that where Vestra was charging a portfolio management fee, it would not accept retrocessions, or rebate them back to clients. This decision 5 years ahead of RDR marked Vestra as an innovator and not afraid to make the right long term decisions, even if it meant sacrificing short term revenue gains and was a step to improving the transparency to clients. A second key principle was that as an adviser, the firm would not manufacture products to sell thus avoiding the potential conflict seen in many organisations at the time, often leading to double charging for clients.
The business has grown significantly to now manage £10bn of assets. The Princely family of Liechtenstein through the LGT structure bought a majority stake in the business in June 2016, with the executive partners continuing to hold a minority stake.
Why do you support the HeForShe campaign? For example – do you have a daughter or have witnessed the benefits that diversity can bring to a workplace?
I support the campaign as I passionately believe that having a diverse group of people always provides a better workplace environment, where a greater degree of respect for work colleagues is generated. I have sought to create a culture within the firm where all employees recognise that they have a right to be treated equally and fairly, furthermore this is how they should treat others. There should be no limitations as to what someone can achieve at the firm, irrespective of demographic characteristics.
Why do you think it’s important for men to support gender equality in the workplace?
It is important that men voice their support. It is not a matter of taking sides in a debate but just a realisation that it is stimulating to work in a diverse and inclusive environment and to encourage all those who do not support a diverse workplace to see the benefit of it. A diverse and inclusive environment promotes different ways of looking at issues and we believe there is strength in diversity of thought.
How welcome are men in the gender equality conversation currently?
There are two distinct camps: one where you are firmly seen as the problem because you are a male and the other one which is more welcoming. Unfortunately my experience is that in the majority of occasions men are not welcome in the conversation- this is very sad and is a real barrier to more joining the debate.
Do you think groups/networks that include the words “women in…” or “females in…” make men feel like gender equality isn’t really their problem or something they need to help with?
I don’t think titles such as that help the cause. Respect for others is what will change the problem.
These words in themselves project an image of a closed female only group, which in itself does not help the cause.
What can businesses do to encourage more men to feel welcome enough to get involved in the gender debate?
Listening to what some of the men are saying and doing is very important as the more open-minded men often feel that their comments count for nothing.
The absolute focus on gender, as opposed to all demographic characteristics by many of the female groups is also off-putting. I have witnessed examples where the rights of others are completely pushed to one side by various female groups. Such a dismissive attitude does little to demonstrate respect for your fellow human being and can discourage men from entering into the debate.
Do you currently mentor any women or have you in the past?
Yes, it is part of my job to listen to people’s concerns and help them. I think I have always been supportive of all people who want to work hard and behave with integrity.
Have you noticed any difference in mentoring women – for example, are women less likely to put themselves forward for jobs that are out of their comfort zones or are women less likely to identify senior roles that they would be suited for?
I have not noticed that they are less likely to put themselves forward, indeed the opposite is true. The manner in which they go about doing so varies considerably. In my experience, those who go for senior roles or ones outside of their comfort zone is because they have a real passion for it or believe that they are good enough, they tend to win through. They want the role based on merit but without bias against them because they are female