Alex. Brown

Alex Brown & Sons
Industry Investment services
Fate Acquired
Successor(s) BT Alex. Brown (later Deutsche Bank Alex. Brown)
Founded 1800
Defunct 1997
Headquarters Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
Products Financial Services
Investment Banking

Alex. Brown & Sons was the first investment bank in the United States, founded by Alexander Brown in 1800 and based in Baltimore, Maryland. The firm was acquired by Bankers Trust in 1997 to form BT Alex. Brown and ultimately integrated into Deutsche Bank following its acquisition in 1999.


Founding and early history

Alexander Brown (1764 — 1834), an Irish linen merchant, emigrated in 1800 from Ballymena in Ulster to the United States, settling in Baltimore, Maryland, where he established the first investment banking firm in the U.S.[1] In 1808, the company organized the first initial public offering in the U.S., that of the Baltimore Water Company.[1]

In 1810, Alexander Brown was joined in business by his sons, William, George, John, and James, and the firm was named Alex. Brown and Sons, Inc.[2] By the 1820s, Alexander Brown had expanded his business interests into sterling exchange and international trade, including tobacco and cotton.[3]

Brown's sons eventually started related businesses in various locations, beginning with William. William founded William Brown and Company in Liverpool, England, which later became Brown, Shipley & Co. In 1818, John and James started Brown Bros. & Co. in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. James subsequently opened a branch in New York City in 1825, a predecessor to Brown Brothers Harriman & Co.[2]

George remained at the firm's Baltimore headquarters, where he took a leading role in the founding of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in 1827. Upon Alexander Brown's death in 1834, George became the head of Alex. Brown and Sons, which proclaimed itself "America's foremost international banking enterprise in the nineteenth century."[2]

Some historical records of Alex Brown & Sons are housed in the manuscript collections at New-York Historical Society.

Acquisition by Bankers Trust and integration into Deutsche Bank

At the time the oldest privately held bank in the U.S., Alex. Brown & Sons was bought by Bankers Trust in 1997 to form BT Alex. Brown. Two years later, in 1999, BT Alex. Brown was acquired by Deutsche Bank. BT paid $1.7 billion in a stock acquisition of Alex. Brown.

The Alex Brown name initially survived as Deutsche Bank Alex. Brown, the brokerage services division of Deutsche Bank Securities, but is now a part of Deutsche Bank AG.

The company provided a range of advisory, brokerage, research, and investment services to high-net-worth individual investors in the US. It performed research on more than 2,500 stocks, as well as corporate bonds and foreign securities.

Noted alumni

Alex. Brown's chairman in 1998 was A. B. "Buzzy" Krongard, who was appointed Executive Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in 2001.

See also


External links

  • Deutsche Bank Alex. Brown official website

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