Lazard Freres

From Wikispooks
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Tools.png This article lacks deep contents

Group.png Lazard Freres  
(BankSourcewatch WebsiteRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Lazard freres.jpg
Founder• Alexandre Lazard
• Élie Lazard
• Simon Lazard
HeadquartersHamilton, Bermuda (incorporation) 30 Rockefeller PlazaNew York City, New York, United States (operational)
Member ofCouncil on Foreign Relations/Corporate Members, World Economic Forum/Strategic Partners
Sponsor ofWEF/Young Global Leaders
SubpageLazard Freres/CEO
Membership• Alexandre Lazard
• Kenneth M. Jacobs
• Andrew M. Alper
• Ashish Bhutani
• Richard N. Haass
• Steven J. Heyer
• Michelle Jarrard
• Sylvia Jay
• Iris Knobloch
• Philip A. Laskawy
• Jane L. Mendillo
• Richard D. Parsons
• Ashish Bhutani
• Scott D. Hoffman
• Evan L. Russo
• Alexandra Soto
• Alexander F. Stern
• Franklin D. Raines
• Felix Rohatyn
• Bertrand Badré
• Antoine Bernheim
• David Dautresme
• Michel David-Weill
• Jean-Jacques Guiony
• Anne Lauvergeon
Big money sponsor of the WEF/Young Global Leaders

Lazard Ltd (formerly known as Lazard Frères & Co.) is a financial advisory and asset management firm that engages in investment banking, asset management and other financial services, primarily with institutional clients. It is the world's largest independent investment bank, with principal executive offices in New York City, Paris and London.

For more than a century, the mystique and reputation of the "Great Men" who worked there allowed the firm to garner unimaginable profits, social cachet, and outsized influence in the halls of power. Discretion, secrecy, and subtle strategy were its weapons of choice.[1]


The origins

Lazard Frères & Co. was founded in 1844 in New Orleans, Louisiana, by three brothers who emigrated from France to the United States, Alexandre, Élie and Simon Lazard[2]. Their activity was originally trading goods from France. The siblings, joined by another brother, Élie, and their cousin Alexandre Weill, settle in San Francisco ,California, during the gold rush, after their business in New Orleans burned down in 1848.

It was by storing the gold of the pioneers, then by organizing the transfers of gold from diggers to their families in France and finally by occasionally financing clients that Lazard Frères turned to financial services[3]. Alexandre Lazard moved to Paris where he opened an office in 1854[4]. Between 1870 and 1880, the company continued its international expansion by opening an office in London and then in New York, in addition to that in San Francisco. Lazard quickly took a prominent place in gold transfers and transatlantic foreign exchange markets, thus becoming the hub between the French and American business communities.

One of the eight original founding members of the Federal Reserve Bank in 1913.[5]

The three Houses of Lazard

During the 20th century, the three Lazard houses (United States, France, United Kingdom) were managed independently although they were allies. The partners of each house gradually build a powerful international network within economic and political circles, like André Meyer or Felix Rohatyn, and played a major role in the evolution of the North American and European economic landscape[6]. Lazard is the house that invented modern investment banking, that of mergers and acquisitions. Lazard intervenes in particular in emblematic operations such as the New York bankruptcy in 1975, but also sovereign crises such as that of Greece in 2015[7]. In 1953, Lazard launched an asset management business in London, which was the ancestor of what is now Lazard Asset Management.

A unified group

In 2000, at the initiative of Michel David-Weill, the three Lazard houses were brought together under a single entity: Lazard LLC. In 2005, under the leadership of Bruce Wasserstein, who became Managing Director, Lazard Ltd went public. The group is now headed by Ken Jacobs, appointed CEO when Bruce Wasserstein passed away in 2009. As financial operations today are mostly transnational, the teams work in an integrated manner, bringing in sector expertise in addition to local know-how.