Corporate Philosophy

Corporate Philosophy

The ability of Arbuthnot to adapt and grow has come from managing the business through seven key principles developed over time.

A word from Sir Henry Angest, Chairman and Chief Executive

Origins of Arbuthnot Latham
George Arbuthnot (1772 – 1843) was a son of the Edinburgh banker Robert Arbuthnot. He started in 1803 as a partner in Latour & Co. in Madras (today Chennai), Southern India. Latour & Co. had been set up in 1780 by Count Francis Joseph Louis Latour de Quercy, who died in 1808. In 1807 Latour & Co. became Arbuthnot & Co. and George Arbuthnot became the leading partner until he retired in 1824. In his farewell letter to the partners he said: “…not only give the constituent (client) the assurance that his money is safe, but also give him the feeling that he is benefitting himself by dealing with the House.”

In 1826 John Alves Arbuthnot started as a clerk at Arbuthnot & Co. and in 1831 became a partner. He married the daughter of George Arbuthnot. Upon his return to London he established, together with Alfred Latham, the trading house Arbuthnot & Latham on 13 March 1833.
(For more details, read the book: Arbuthnot Latham 1833 – 2013 by David Lascelles)

The importance of history and Sun Tzu
The importance of previous experience cannot be overstated. “Those who are not willing to learn from history are doomed to repeat the mistakes of previous generations.” A good place to start, therefore, is with the famous Chinese General, Sun Tzu and his writings in “The Art of War” c. 2500 years ago. He established some basic truths such as:

  • “He whose ranks are united in purpose will be victorious.”
  • “The commander will surely choose those who are most fortunate.”
  • “The traits of a true commander are: courage, wisdom, humanity and integrity.”

The Seven Principles
Ever since George Arbuthnot first gave guidance about corporate behaviour, it has been the culture of Arbuthnot to follow his advice. The Seven Principles summarise Arbuthnot’s corporate philosophy and ethics.

During the 186 year history of serving its customers, Arbuthnot has proven its ability to adopt and grow by applying such principles with pragmatism and common sense.

The continued application of these principles will allow the business to pursue growth in a controlled manner, providing a high quality service to its customers whilst delivering good returns to shareholders and securing the well-being of its employees. To this end an inclusive and balanced work environment will provide a rewarding as well as challenging multiformity.


Arbuthnot serves its shareholders, its customers and its employees with integrity and high ethical standards. This is demonstrated in a progressive dividend policy, in fair pricing and in pay for performance.


Arbuthnot attaches great importance to good relations with customers and business partners, and treating them fairly and promptly. Arbuthnot believes in reciprocity.


Arbuthnot is independent, and profit and growth oriented while maintaining a controlled risk profile.


Arbuthnot's approach is based on diversification to spread the risk, a long-term view to further growth, empowerment of management and a culture of rewards for achievements to engender loyalty.


Arbuthnot's business is conducted in an innovative, flexible and entrepreneurial manner, with an opportunistic and counter-cyclical attitude.


Arbuthnot does not sacrifice long term prospects for short term gains – nor sacrifice stability for quick profits, and it will never put the whole company at risk.


Ultimately, the success of Arbuthnot depends on the teamwork, commitment, and performance of its employees, combined with the determination to win.

Economic Perspectives

Ruth Lea CBE, Economic Adviser to the Arbuthnot Banking Group, discusses the latest economic developments.