A number of family-owned banks have lost their way in the past century – Britain’s Barings is the most famous of modern times – but the Speyer family is the subject of George W Liebmann’s new book. Speyer owned and ran the third largest investment-banking firm at the turn of the 20th century – behind Morgan, and Kuhn, Loeb & Co. Whereas the other two were American, Speyer was a Jewish banking dynasty that had offices in London, Frankfurt, and New York. The projects they financed included the Southern Pacific Railroad, the London Underground, and the infrastructure of the new Cuban republic. In addition to the investment-banking firm, Leibmann discusses the family’s role as leading philanthropists globally. Leibmann’s book tells the history of this great banking dynasty which ended up being dissolved in 1939 – a surprising end to one of the great international banking companies of the pre-WWII era.
The Fall of the House of Speyer: The Story of a Banking Dynasty By George W. Liebmann
Published by IB Tauris