Glasgow last week rolled out a £1.5m rebranding campaign under the slogan ‘Glasgow: Scotland with style’.
Well, city centre Glasgow might enjoy the likes of Armani, Versace and Ralph Lauren, but it’s just not quite stylish enough for the small but perfectly formed private equity boutique Dickson Minto.
The Anglo-Scottish firm is bringing the shutters down on its Glasgow office at the end of April. It opened the branch in 1997 originally to serve Glasgow’s embryonic private equity community, specifically Royal Bank Private Equity and Bridgepoint Capital.
However, both clients have closed their own doors in the last couple of years and Dickson Minto, canny as ever, has decided that, with the lease coming up for renewal anyway, it’s time to pull out, leaving it with just its Edinburgh office north of the border.
Dickson Minto declined to comment officially on the decision, but it is evident that the powers that be never felt Glasgow was a strategic priority. “I’ve never been a fan of that office at all,” said one partner caustically.
The office has just one partner – Keith Anderson, who didn’t return our calls. Management would like to relocate Anderson and some lawyers to London, according to sources at the firm. Other staff will be offered jobs in Edinburgh, forty minutes away by train.
“The Scottish market outside of investment trusts is pretty stagnant,” said one source. “London, on the other hand, is going to have its best year for a long, long time and we could do with more people.”
The highly secretive Dickson Minto can occasionally be a bit racy. The firm surprised many last August when, as revealed by The Lawyer, it decided to open up its books and become an LLP.
Posters for the Scotland with Style campaign might proclaim “Glasgow – the New Black”. However, the Glasgow experiment was just a step too far for Dickson Minto.