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Nationalisation and a new beginning


Much to the family’s regret, Banque Rothschild was nationalised by the French government in 1981. Between 1981-1982, Banque Rothschild, was one of 39 to be nationalised by the French government, and the Rothschilds were obliged to leave the rue Laffitte, which had been the base of the Paris house since Baron James's days. The bank founded by James de Rothschild as de Rothschild Frères became Compagnie Européenne de Banque, (it was subsequently acquired by Barclays in 1991).

A new beginning

Paris Orléans

The Compagnie du chemin de fer de Paris à Orléans was founded in 1838 as a railway company. In 1938, it was nationalised along with five other railway undertakings to form the national state railway company SNCF. After the nationalisation of rail operations, the company became a simple property company. After the Second World War, French branch of the Rothschild family took over the remains of Paris Orléans and transformed it into a holding company for its banking activities and corporate investments. Following nationalisation of Banque Rothschild in 1981-1982, the French Rothschild family decided to use Paris Orléans as a launchpad for building a new Rothschild bank in France, creating P.O. Gestion as a banking operation. At this time, the company held majority stakes in Paris Orléans Gestion, now Rothschild & Cie Banque, in the public property management company SGIM (Société de Gérance d'Immeubles Municipaux) , and smaller investments in the insurance broker SIACI, in the wine business with SGDBR, now Domaines Barons de Rothschild (DBR) and in Francarep, which was initially an oil exploration company. 

Paris Orléans took on its profile gradually. Francarep slowly started to shed its oil and gas operations in favour of a private equity activity. Paris Orléans bolstered its presence in the capital of Francarep by contributing its holdings in SGIM, then SIACI and, finally, DBR. In October 1986, the Rothschild family were granted the right to use family name again, and P.O. Gestion became Rothschild & Associés Banque. Paris Orléans took a minority stake in Rothschild Concordia AG (a banking group operating in the UK and the rest of the world). This stake was increased in 2000 and then 2001.

In July 2003, The French business, Rothschild & Cie Banque and the UK business, N M Rothschild & Sons Limited were brought together, the realisation of a long held plan. In 2008, the Rothschild family banking group further reorganised its shareholdings by unifying their capital under a single company regsitered in France, a shareholder of Paris Orléans, completing the unification of the family business nearly two centuries after the Rothschild brothers left Frankfurt to establish their own family firms. In 2015,  Paris Orléans, was renamed Rothschild & Co. 

P.O. Gestion and P.O. Banque, 1982-1986

Following nationalisation of the historic business, the former Directors of Banque Rothschild, David de Rothschild (b.1942), Nathaniel de Rothschild (b.1946) and Jacques Getten set up P.O. Gestion as banking operation. Around this time New Court Securities in U.S. became Rothschild Inc. with Guy and Evelyn de Rothschild in charge. By 1982 Eric de Rothschild (b.1940) and David de Rothschild were equal partners, with David in charge of P.O. Gestion. In 1984 Nathaniel de Rothschild set up his own Nathaniel Rothschild Holdings in New York. In 1984 P.O. Gestion was given permission to have status as merchant bank – but was not allowed to use Rothschild name. Thus P.O. Banque was created 1984 with ownership divided between the French family, N M Rothschild and Sons, Cie. Financière Edmond de Rothschild, Rothschild Zurich AG, and a group of banking colleagues. By March 1986 P.O. Banque was managing $400 million of clients funds, with capital assets of $6 million.

Rothschild & Associés Banque, and Rothschild & Cie. Banque, 1986-2003

In October 1986, the Rothschild cousins were granted the right to use family name again, as Rothschild & Associés Banque. Rothschild & Associés Banque was created 1986, with the new partners David and Eric de Rothschild. The partners had considered renaming the bank back to de Rothschild Frères, but the name adopted was Rothschild & Associés, then becoming Rothschild & Cie. The business focus was on asset management and corporate finance. Rothschild Bank AG in Zurich concentrates on private banking and managing funds trusts.  By 1990 David and Eric sat on the board of the London bank N M Rothschild & Sons Limited, as well as having external business interests in wine, champagne, luxury goods and insurance. In January 1992 David became deputy chairman of N M Rothschild & Sons Limited.

Rothschild & Co., 2003-present

In 2003, after 44 years with the family firm, Sir Evelyn de Rothschild stepped down as Chairman of N M Rothschild & Sons Limited. The appointment of David de Rothschild as his successor as the Rothschild Group Chairman brought together again the English and French Rothschild business houses, with the merger of N M Rothschild & Sons Limited with Paris Orléans (originally founded in 1838 as a railway company, after the Second World War, the French branch of the Rothschild family transformed it into a holding company for its banking activities).

In 2011, the firm rebranded from N M Rothschild & Sons Limited to Rothschild & Co. In 2015, the parent company of the Rothschild Group, formerly known as Paris Orléans, changed its name to Rothschild & Co. to match the trading name of the business. In 2017, Rothschild & Co acquired the family-controlled French private bank, Compagnie Financière Martin Maurel. This merger united the businesses of two European financial families. After the acquisition, Rothschild & Co became the leading private bank in France. 

In 2018, Alexandre de Rothschild (b.1980) succeeded David de Rothschild as Executive Chairman.  In Europe, Rothschild & Co. forms a confederation of separate banks with Rothschild & Cie Banque in France and Rothschild Bank AG in Switzerland. 

Today Rothschild & Co. is one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory groups, employing around 3,000 people in over 40 countries around the world, providing strategic, M&A, wealth management and fundraising advice and services to governments, companies and individuals worldwide.