Other Banks: Merchant, Investment and Foreign

  • Margaret Reid


Merchant banks live on their wits and clearing banks on their deposits, according to an old saw which both captures the size split between the two sectors and pleases the former’s self-esteem. Certainly the two fraternities have long been different and not just by reason of the merchant banks’ smaller scale. Traditionally merchant bankers have tended to hail from wealthier and more privileged social backgrounds than clearing bank officials, while some, like the Rothschilds and the Barings, are centuries-old banking dynasties. The Rothschilds gained a famous market advantage when their carrier pigeons brought the first news of the victory at Waterloo. And so high was the standing of the other house that in 1818 the Duc de Richelieu, France’s first minister, named the six great powers of Europe as England, France, Russia, Austria, Prussia and Baring Brothers.1


Stock Market Commercial Bank Fund Management Investment Bank Corporate Finance 
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  1. 1.
    John Orbell, Baring Brothers & Co Ltd: A History to 1939 (Baring Brothers, 1985) p. 23.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Margaret Isabel Reid 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Margaret Reid
    • 1
  1. 1.LondonUK

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