We have a number of academics and land owners – a very broad mixture of people and a good balance of men and women.”In spite of the recent recession, Edinburgh’s reputation for above average earnings and its pool of well-heeled moneyed professionals persuaded the agency to expand into the city.And further afield it seems there’s plenty of demand from rich lonely hearts – the agency’s global membership has grown by 25 per cent in the last six months, with 3000 members in the UK alone.“I want to meet ‘my partner’, but work is not an environment where I can mix personal relationships, so I needed to find somewhere I can go to meet the right potential partner for me.”The company boss – who did not want to be named – has interests in the textile trade in Edinburgh, London and China.And for them, forking out £10,000 – rising to £40,000 if they want to “headhunt” a husband or wife internationally – to join the elite agency in search of a date, is barely a drop in the financial ocean.“The people we have are the kind who do not miss £10,000 coming out of their bank account.The amount of money doesn’t bother them,” says Emma, who works with A-list clients across Scotland and the north of England.“In Scotland alone we have three to four hundred people on our books and it’s steadily growing all the time.Indeed you might imagine that their biggest worry would probably be finding a big enough stick to beat off all the people desperate to snare them for a date.But it seems the old saying that life’s lonely at the top could be heartbreakingly accurate – and the better-off are finding it harder than ever to find the love of their lives.In Edinburgh we already have a pool of people going through the matching process.“What we’ve found are our members in Edinburgh are generally very busy and spend a lot of time travelling.
Now, rather than face being left on the top shelf with just their piles of cash to keep them company, Scotland’s high earners, well known celebrities and top ranking professionals are finding their hard-earned money actually can buy them love – and are splashing out upwards of £10,000 a year to sign up with an exclusive “headhunter” style matchmaker agency.
Elite agency Berkeley International has just added Edinburgh to a global list of offices that includes, among others, Cannes, Brussels, Melbourne, New York and Milan.
In each area office, staff sift through members’ details and carefully hand pick and match them with other members for dates.
According to Emma Budgen, who runs the new Edinburgh base – the matchmaking agency’s only UK office outside of London – there is a healthy demand from Scottish high earners who simply don’t have the time, the right social network, or the desire to dodge the hen parties in George Street on a Saturday night in the search for prospective partners.
According to one Edinburgh businessman who has signed up, the eye-watering membership fee is similar to what he might spend joining an exclusive “members only” club.
“I have nurtured my businesses which naturally takes time, the subsequent success of these finds me in a fortunate financial position,” he explains.