About us

Metropolitan Safe Deposits is based on traditional values of trust, honesty, reliability and service but has a modern attitude evidenced in our long opening hours and our approachable staff.

They are always available to answer any queries or make arrangements on your behalf, from the moment you consider opening an account. The process complies with all legal requirements but is actually straightforward: you simply need to provide evidence of your identity (a passport, for example), where you live (utility bills and bank statements are commonly produced) and, if you are not an EU citizen, proof that you are compliant with British Home Office guidelines.

Open about corporate structure and ownership

We were pioneers of the trend for openness about our history and ownership. The original company, Metropolitan Safe Deposits Limited, was formed in 1983. Our holding company, Metropolitan Safe Custody Limited, owns 100% of Metropolitan Safe Deposits Limited and 100% of Metropolitan Vaults Limited. Metropolitan Safe Deposits Limited owns and operates our two Central London vaults in Knightsbridge and St John’s Wood. Metropolitan Vaults Limited was formed in 2018 to own and operate the new Chiswick vault in West London under the trading name of Metropolitan Safe Deposits.

In March 2007, the business was sold to a group of private investors led by Christopher Barrow, a former investment banker who is our chief executive and largest shareholder. All the shareholders are individuals who have successful business backgrounds mainly in investment banking, investment management and property development. The £3 million funding of the new vault in Chiswick has been entirely through shareholder equity and existing cash resources. The Metropolitan group has no bank debt.

About us

The Board of Directors

Paul Selway-Swift has been non-executive chairman and a shareholder of our holding company, Metropolitan Safe Custody, since 2007. He spent many years in the financial services industry with the HSBC group, latterly as deputy chairman of their global investment bank. Until recently, he had a portfolio of non-executive directorships in the UK and abroad.

Christopher Barrow spent nearly 30 years in equity research, investment banking and asset management in Asia and the UK, most recently 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.

Chief operating officer Colin Mitchell has been involved in safe deposit management for more than 35 years. 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.

Finance director Steve Watts has been closely associated with us 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 his title suggests, he looks after Metropolitan’s financial affairs.

Charles Barrow was a founding partner of The Southern Properties Group, a private property development and investment company, which specialised in mixed commercial and residential schemes. He has been a non-executive director and shareholder of Metropolitan since 2007.


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