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The London house under Nathaniel, 1st Lord Rothschild, 1879-1915

Nathaniel (1840-1915), created first Lord Rothschild in 1885, inherited his father's position as senior partner in 1879. Under his leadership, during a period of unprecedented growth in overseas investment the London house made over 70 loans, and was instrumental in establishing the Exploration Company to exploit new mining opportunities in the New World.

The bank also acted as bankers to the governments of Brazil, Chile and Egypt. Widely respected by financiers and politicians alike, Lord Rothschild earned a reputation for shrewd financial judgement.  He presided over a steady increase in the bank's profits, expanding the bank's mining interests in Spanish and South American copper and taking advantage of investment opportunities in West African gold fields and South African diamond mines. During his influential leadership, the British government favoured Rothschilds as a source of finance for her colonial interests in India, Egypt, the Ottoman Empire and South Africa.  Their appointment as bankers to the Chilean government in 1887 increased the Rothschild share of Latin American railway and public utility finance, a specialisation which was to bring them important contracts in the inter-war years.  Alongside their prestigious foreign loans, which included issues for the United States, Russia and later Japan, acceptances formed between ten and fifteen per cent of the bank's business at the end of the century and had increased in volume, as had speculation in foreign stock.