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What is our History?Bookmark and Share

Metropolitan Safe Deposits Limited was originally formed in 1983 to construct and operate the Belgravia safe deposit, which was closed in 2008 by the current owners on the grounds that the vault was of a sub-optimum size and poorly located. At the end of 1987, Metropolitan Safe Deposits acquired substantial safe deposit vaults in Knightsbridge and St John’s Wood, both of which had opened in 1983 under different ownership. In 1994, the enlarged business was sold to new owners based in Switzerland. 

In March 2007, Metropolitan Safe Deposits was sold to a group of private investors led by Christopher Barrow, a former investment banker. In February 2012, Calculus Capital (www.calculuscapital.com), a London-based private equity firm, acquired a significant minority stake in the business. In August 2012, Metropolitan Safe Deposits acquired the business of The London Safe Deposit Company, based in Regent Street (see press release).

Metropolitan Gold Limited was established in 2012 to provide an online service to customers who wish to buy gold and silver investment bars. This new agency business will be launched in 2013. Its sister company, Metropolitan Safe Deposits will provide safe storage facilities.

Who are the Directors?

The Board of the holding company, Metropolitan Safe Custody Limited, comprises Paul Selway-Swift (Non-Executive Chairman), Christopher Barrow (Chief Executive), Colin Mitchell (Chief Operating Officer), Steve Watts (Finance Director), Charles Barrow (Non-Executive Director) and Lesley Watkins (Non-Executive Director).

Paul Selway-Swift spent many years in the financial services industry with The HSBC Group, latterly as Deputy Chairman of HSBC Investment Bank Ltd with responsibility for investment banking and private banking globally. Since his retirement from HSBC, he has built up a portfolio of non-executive positions in the UK and overseas. Paul has been Non-Executive Chairman and a shareholder of Metropolitan since 2007.

Christopher Barrow spent nearly thirty years in equity research, investment banking and asset management in Asia and the UK, latterly working for Dresdner Kleinwort as country head in India and head of client services in London. He led the acquisition of Metropolitan in 2007 and, as Chief Executive, oversees the group's business with particular emphasis on strategic and regulatory matters. He has been a shareholder since 2007.

Colin Mitchell has been involved in safe deposit management for over 25 years. He joined the business in 1987 as a branch manager following Metropolitan's acquisition of a rival company, for whom he then worked. He was appointed to the main board in 2012 and, as Managing Director of the group's subsidiaries, he is responsible for the day-to-day management of Metropolitan's business.

Steve Watts has been closely associated with Metropolitan since 2007, initially as the partner at SRLV Accountants who carried out the financial due diligence on behalf of the new owners in 2006/07. As Finance Director, he looks after Metropolitan's financial affairs.

Charles Barrow is a founding partner of The Southern Properties Group, a private property development and investment company, which specialises in mixed commercial and residential schemes. He has been a Non-Executive Director and a shareholder of Metropolitan since 2007.

Lesley Watkins joined Calculus Capital in 2002 since when she has been the firm's Finance Director. She was previously a Managing Director in the corporate finance divisions of UBS and Deutsche Bank. Lesley is a non-executive Council member of the Competition Commission and is Chair of its Audit Committee. She has been a Non-Executive Director of Metropolitan since October 2013.