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Inside Merchants House

Alasdair Ronald is a graduate from Aberdeen University whose career is in the world of investment management, managing portfolios for private clients, charities, trusts, and self-invested personal pensions. He has always had an involvement with local charities and is the current Lord Dean of Glasgow.

When did you first become involved with Merchants House?

Early in my career I joined Glasgow Junior Chamber of Commerce which was key to my personal development and went on to become its Chairman. It’s Annual General Meeting was held in the stunning Grand Hall of the Merchants House and I was, and still am, impressed by the grandeur of that room every time I walk in.

25 years ago, the Lord Dean of Guild contacted me to invite me to become a member of the House. Over the years I had learned a lot about its activities, networking opportunities and charitable work, and I remember feeling that I must have made it in life!

What’s been the most memorable event you attended?

I attended AGMs, speaker events, dinners, outings, golf days and clay pigeon shoots, but my most memorable event was a fund-raising afternoon tea. The speakers represented charities that the House had supported financially over the previous year. Many in the Hall were in tears hearing how our guest speakers had overcome adversity such as loss of limbs or drug addiction and gone on to work unofficially for the charities that had helped them.

Tell us a little more about the Merchants House charity.

For more than four centuries the House has been a benevolent institution that has sheltered thousands of Glasgow families from destitution. For many involved the attraction of applying for membership is the opportunity to give something back. Over the past 5 years the House has committed over £2.5m of grants and other charitable financial assistance to individuals and third sector organisations which make an impact in Glasgow and the west of Scotland, primarily in the areas of social need, education, arts and culture, and medical and research. By supporting the House financially, members are helping those worse off than themselves.

What are the benefits of being a member?

Members have the opportunity to network and to meet new people. In addition, they can:

attend fantastic events and to listen to speakers from the worlds of business, medicine, charity and art
take part in the outings and organised excursions
earn CPD hours where appropriate
nominate a charity for the Grants Committee to approve for financial support
benefit from discounted rates on venue hire and reduced rates on parking when attending events in the House
The Merchants House is part of the fabric of Glasgow and the city is the richer for it. There is much to gain from being a member.

You are currently the Lord Dean of Glasgow. What is your favourite thing about the city?

It has often been said but People Make Glasgow. During my time in office (prior to the Covid19 pandemic) visitors to the city consistently spoke warmly about the welcome they received from the people of Glasgow. Many organisations regularly bring their conventions and conferences to the city because they know delegates will enjoy their time here. And visitors are much less concerned about the weather than we are!

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