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Pupils visited Fortnum & Mason, one of the world’s most prestigious stores on 17th March, to find out more about managing a high-end retailer, catering for some of the world’s most discerning clients.

Fortnum & Mason at 181 Piccadilly, London, was founded in 1707 by Thomas Fortnum (who was a member of Queen Anne’s royal household), and Hugh Mason. Beginning as a grocery store, Fortnum & Mason’s reputation was built on supplying quality food to the aristocracy, and saw rapid growth throughout the Victorian era. While the store ultimately developed into a luxury department store, today it holds a Royal Warrant and continues to focus on exotic and speciality food.

Although rich in a long tradition, it soon became clear that while wishing to preserve this, Fortnum’s were very keen to put the store at the forefront of 21st century retailing, particularly in relation to on-line commerce and the need to be constantly innovating.

A guided tour of all five floors of the store was led by Fortnum’s Historian, Dr Andrea Tanner. After lunch in the Board Room, Fortnum’s CEO, Tom Athron talked to pupils about his job and the direction he planned to take the store in the future, before fielding questions.

Moorlands pupils with an interest in the medical profession visited one of the UK’s leading private hospitals, the King Edward VII Hospital, and the Harley Street GP Clinic on 16th May.

The King Edward VII Hospital was founded in 1899 and has been known by its current name since it received the patronage of King Edward VII in 1904. All subsequent British monarchs have been the hospital’s Patron. HM Queen Elizabeth II is the current Patron. Notable patients have included the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Queen Mother, Princess Margaret, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cambridge. A host of foreign heads of state have also been former patients.

The pupils met senior members of the hospital’s management, including the Head of Nursing as well as a number of clinicians, including physiotherapy, imaging and Xray. Following lunch, they were able to put further questions to the Director of Operations.

Moorlands pupils visited the London headquarters of internationally renowned private bank Coutts & Co, where they met the Bank’s CEO Peter Flavel.

Coutts Bank is one of the oldest banks in the world, being founded in 1692. Until the 20th century the bank catered exclusively as a clearing bank to the nobility and landed gentry – indeed, members of the Royal family are still personal clients. Today, the bank focuses its activities more on wealth management to a wider range of clients including entrepreneurs, entertainers, sportsmen and women, professionals and executives. There are stringent requirements to being accepted as a client; prospective clients, for example, need at least £1,000,000 in investable assets, not including real estate.

Pupils asked CEO Rob Thomas how Coutts saw the banking industry in 20 years’ time. They were told about how the bank is adopting eco practices, and will be involving itself in a global movement called B Corp, which encourages businesses to carefully consider the impact of their business on all communities: workers, customers as well as the environment. Coutts also advise their clients on how to adopt a more eco-friendly approach and actively took part in the COP26 meeting in Scotland last October.

On the hot topic of Inflation, pupils were keen to discover how long, in the bank’s view, it would remain high. Coutts’ estimation was that the headline rate was probably going to last for a year before the prices start to stabilise again.

In light of current economic difficulties, pupils were keen to find out what advice Coutts’ had for investors. The CEO emphasised that as a private bank, Coutts provided a personalised service to each of their clients and advised them on what to do with their wealth. They have, for example, helped over 100 lottery winners, who on the whole are ordinary people who have little idea on how to manage such a large amount of money.

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