THE ROTHSCHILD and Rockefeller dynasties have announced a tie-up that will see two of the world’s best-known business families join forces in the asset management industry.
RIT Capital Partners, which is chaired and part-owned by Lord Jacob Rothschild, is to take a 37 per cent stake in Rockefeller Financial Services, the wealth manager.
The multi-million pound deal, whose exact value has not been disclosed, comes after Rothschild secured the blessing of David Rockefeller to buy the stake from Société Générale Private Banking, which bought it in 2008.
Together, RIT and Rockefeller’s asset manager have some $37bn in assets under management. They plan to expand the business in part via acquisitions after the deal’s completion in the autumn.
David Rockefeller, who was previously chairman of the company that owns most of Rockefeller Financial Services, said: “Lord Rothschild and I have known each other for five decades. The connection between our two families remains very strong.”
RIT also brings with it a partnership with other members of the Rothschild family, having become partly owned by Edmond de Rothschild Group in March.
Its board also boasts a roster of well-known City names including former City minister Lord Myners, former banking commission member and JP Morgan banker Bill Winters and Credit Suisse banker James Leigh-Pemberton.
Lord Rothschild has controlled RIT, or the Rothschild Investment Trust, since around 1980 when a family dispute caused him to step back from his involvement in NM Rothschild, the investment bank.
The Rothschild dynasty made much of its fortune investing in government debt throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, but the Rockefellers made much of their money from the founding of Standard Oil in the late nineteenth century.
PROFILE: LORD ROTHSCHILD
LORD Jacob Rothschild, 76, sits at the head of the British branch of the Rothschild banking dynasty that has played a major role in European finance for several hundred years.
Jacob, the father of four children including Nat Rothschild of Bumi plc, began his career at the family company, NM Rothschild, and worked there until 1980, when he had a falling out with Sir Evelyn de Rothschild over the bank’s investment strategy.
He then founded several companies including Global Asset Management and St James’s Place Capital and in 1988 became chairman of Rothschild Investment Trust (RIT), which had been established over 20 years earlier to manage the English Rothschilds’ personal wealth.
The listed FTSE 250 wealth manager is based in Spencer House in St James’s. Lord Rothschild was also deputy chairman of BSkyB from 2003-2008 and has an advisory position on the board of US private equity giant Blackstone.
Jacob Rothschild is also heavily involved in arts philanthropy and has been on the board of the National Gallery and the National Heritage Lottery Fund.
The Rothschild dynasty made much of its fortune buying government bonds and is known in Britain for funding the war against Napolean and Britain’s purchase of the Suez Canal.
PROFILE: DAVID ROCKEFELLER
DAVID Rockefeller, 96, is the grandchild of John D. Rockefeller, the billionaire founder of Standard Oil, which was broken up in 1911.
He grew up in New York and began his career in various political roles in the city and then joined the army during World War II. Following the war, he joined the part family-owned Chase National Bank – now JP Morgan Chase – and became CEO of the bank in 1969, 14 years after a merger that saw it renamed Chase Manhattan Bank.
Having served in a variety of foreign policy roles including as a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, he now spends much of his time donating large parts of his fortune to charity and has signed up to Warren Buffett’s pledge to give away more than half of his fortune.
He has also been involved in various philanthropic projects in arts and economic development, being a co-founder of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, which works on anti-poverty projects, and a major donor to the Museum of Modern Art. Rockefeller is also a major investor in real estate, notably buying 12 acres of land from Columbia University to house the Rockefeller Center, which he then floated. He has six children but was widowed in 1996.