Brigadier Bev Smalley, banker

Bev Smalley, who has died at 71, was one of the pioneers of private wealth management in Yorkshire and the North of England.

Bev Smalley
Bev Smalley

For many years the regional client manager for the private bank Coutts & Co, he was one of the best-known personalities in the region’s business community. His clients, many of whom became personal friends, ranged from lottery winners to captains of industry and entrepreneurs.

He had entered banking with NatWest and transferred to Coutts to open its first office north of the Thames Valley – in Leeds – in 1992.

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The success of the operation led to him being headhunted to open a Leeds office for the American bank, Merrill Lynch.

When that closed, he moved to Hambros, where he remained until his retirement in 2011 – following which and as the result of his declining health, he and his wife, Lindsaye, moved from York back to Nottingham.

Bev said that had he not been a banker, he would like to have been a professional soldier. As it was, he forged a successful parallel career in the Territorial Army, rising to the rank of Brigadier – at that time, the highest rank open to a TA officer. He was appointed OBE in 1991.

With a profound disdain for the increasingly process-driven regimes that were transforming banking, he was often forthright in sharing his opinions, whether or not they were shared by his superiors.

Outside work and the TA, he was active in the community as a governor of St Peter’s School, a member of the York Merchant Adventurers’ Company and as coach to York Hockey Club Juniors.

He is survived by Lindsaye and two children, Amelia and Christopher.