David Huie

David Huie (1831-1919) worked for the Royal Bank of Scotland from 1858 to 1907, including serving as the Bank’s cashier, 1892-1907.

Background and early life

David Robertson William Huie was born in Edinburgh in 1831, the son of the prominent Edinburgh surgeon Dr Richard Huie (President of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, 1840-2) and his wife Eliza Syme.

He was educated at Edinburgh High School and Edinburgh University.

Career in insurance

In spring 1848 David Huie began his working life as an apprentice at Standard Life Assurance Company. His apprenticeship lasted five years, after which he remained at Standard Life as a clerk. In 1856 he moved to the company’s London office.

Huie was one of the original Associates of the Faculty of Actuaries, founded in 1858. He became a fellow of the Faculty in 1863. He remained closely connected with the Faculty of Actuaries until 1879, after which he focussed his professional interests more closely on banking.

In 1864 Huie became vice president of the Actuarial Society of Edinburgh. 

Career in banking

In January 1858 Huie left Standard Life to become assistant accountant of the Royal Bank of Scotland. In 1865 he became principal accountant.

In December 1874 he was appointed to the important post of company secretary, a role which brought him regular involvement in all aspects of the bank’s business and administration. While serving as secretary, he was involved in the formation and development of the Institute of Bankers in Scotland – the first professional banking institute in the world. He was one of the original members of the Institute’s council, and served as its vice president, 1886-9.

In March 1892, after 18 years as secretary, David Huie was appointed cashier of the Royal Bank of Scotland. He held this post until his retirement in 1907.

Personality, appearance and family life

On 19 June 1861 David Huie married Selina Sophia Greville of Wrexham.

A biographical sketch of Huie published in 1904 described him as:

‘very tall and slightly built…strong and wiry, and carries his age well. To have been upwards of fifty-five years engaged in responsible professional duties is something to be proud of’. It went on to note, ‘though placid in temperament, the subject of this sketch can speak in a sarcastic and cutting way on occasion; and a slight curve of the lip, gleam of the eye, and movement of the eyelashes indicate that he is about to say something severe and incisive.’

Retirement and death

In January 1907, at the age of 75, David Huie submitted his letter of resignation to the board of the Royal Bank of Scotland. In it, he expressed his disappointment that poor health prevented him from completing 50 years’ service with the bank – a milestone he would have reached the following January. He assured the bank that ‘during the period of my management I have given my life to the bank’. It was agreed that his resignation would take effect from 1 May 1907.

David Huie lived for a further 12 years, and died on 6 December 1919. His wife Selina died in the same year.

Related publications

  • Biographical sketch in 'Moneta', Scottish Banks and Bankers (Edinburgh, 1904)
  • Obituary in Bankers' Magazine, 1920