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The 1980s and 1990s: expansion and innovation

Advising on privatisation

In the 1980s and 1990s, after initial involvement in the early 1970s when in 1971, the British Government asked N M Rothschild & Sons to handle the sale of the Industrial Reorganisation Corporation, N M Rothschild & Sons Limited took a leading role in the international phenomenon of privatisation, developing a pioneering role in the field. Under the leadership of Sir Evelyn de Rothschild (1931-2022), the firm was to handle many government privatisations in the 1980s and 1990s, most notably British Gas in 1986, followed by the 10 UK Water Authorities in 1989 and the 12 electricity distribution boards in 1990.Up to 1997, the Rothschild Group had advised on over 100 privatisations in over 30 countries around the world. These appointments included the widest range of industrial sectors and types of privatisation, from masterplans to individual companies. Rothschild has been widely acknowledged as both pioneer and leading adviser in the field of privatisation.


In 1980, Jacob, 4th Lord Rothschild (b.1936) left the family firm to pursue independent business interests, including Rothschild Investment Trust (now RIT Capital Partners plc), J. Rothschild Assurance Group (now St. James's Place plc) together with numerous other successful business enterprises. 

In 1986, the investment division of N M Rothschild & Sons Limited (which had been separately incorporated as N M Rothschild Asset Management Limited in 1973) became its sister company, specialising in the management of the assets of major pension funds and insurance companies and offering unit trusts and other investment vehicles to large institutional investors and small investors. Rothschild Asset Management (RAM) was acquired by Insight Investment in 2003.

In the late 1980s, N M Rothschild & Sons Limited outgrew its New Court headquarters, and acquired several buildings in St. Swithin's Lane, including 1 King William Street, which was refurbished for the company in 1989.

Throughout the 1980s and into the 1990s, a large number of new offices were opened across the world, in Australia, Singapore, Japan and the United States. Rothschild & Cie Banque in Paris and Rothschild Bank in Zurich in Europe, Rothschild Asset Management (C.I.) Limited in the Channel Islands and Rothschild Asset Management (Isle of Man) Limited in the Isle of Man were also established. In 1998, N M Rothschild & Sons Limited, celebrated the 200th anniversary of Nathan Mayer Rothschild's arrival in the United Kingdom.