The Last Word... Goes to Scott Walter

28 Nov 2019

Not only Assay Master at the Edinburgh Assay Office, Scott Walter is now also the newly appointed chair of the Vienna Convention – also known as the Precious Metals Convention.

What led you to a career in the precious metals world and eventually at the Edinburgh Assay Office?

I worked in a retail and manufacturing jewellery business where I trained as a goldsmith and a retailer. After a brief stint in self-employment and B2B jewellery industry sales, I accepted a role at the Assay Office to help improve their jewellery handling routines. I never planned to stay more than two years. At 28 I was lucky to become the UK’s youngest ever Assay Master. It has been an incredibly rewarding and diverse career.

What prompted you to accept the chair position at the Vienna Convention?

Scott Walter

The Vienna Convention is a treaty between signatory governments. It’s a Brexit-proof mechanism that facilitates the trade of precious metal articles between member countries. As we face the uncertainty of the post-Brexit regulatory framework, the Convention will become far more important for the UK trade. I want to make sure that the Convention continues to provide value for all its member countries.

What are your main goals for the Convention? What developments are in the pipeline?

The Convention has already begun the work of building a vision and strategy for the future. My ambition for the Convention is to progress that vision to implementation. I hope that we can continue to grow the Convention’s membership internationally.

What is the Convention doing to support the industry as we approach Brexit?

The Convention provides ongoing certainty for importers and exporters regardless of the Brexit outcome by providing a single mark that is accepted by all signatory countries. It is not limited to Europe or to EU member states. The Convention is an international treaty. For companies trading across countries the Convention offers certainty.

Career-wise, who has inspired you?

I learned most of my basic business lessons while working for five years with my uncle in his retail and manufacturing business. Everything from there on has simply
been on a larger scale. The principles of good customer service, cost management, price point, quality control and protecting reputation remain the same on any scale.

If you could have a heart-to-heart discussion with anyone in the industry, who would it be? And what would you discuss?

I would want to sit down with the consumer minister and talk about the hidden impacts of cuts to trading standards authorities and the need to do more to tackle the fake and un-hallmarked product being sold to UK consumers through online marketplaces.

Tell us something not many people know about you?

I race a 1987 Suzuki GSXR1100 motorcycle in the Scottish post classic senior class.

If not this industry, what would have been your career?

Managing a motor sport team (wishful thinking).

What was the last film you saw? Any good?

Joker, starring Joaquin Phoenix. An incredible performance and a skilfully crafted and thought provoking film.

What keeps you awake at night?

The growth in popularity of a post-truth political narrative on both sides of the Atlantic and the erosion of shared objective standards for truth. (Well you did ask.)

Quick Fire

White metal or yellow metal?


Jewellery for men – yes or no?


Two wheels or four wheels?

Two wheels

Paperback or e-book reader?


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