Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.

(1850- )


Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. (NYSE: LEH) was founded in 1850 and is a diversified, global financial services firm. It is a participant in investment banking, equity and fixed income sales, research and trading, investment management, private equity, and private banking. It is a primary dealer in the U.S. Treasury securities market.

In 1844, twenty-three year old Jewish-German immigrant Henry Lehman settled in Montgomery, Alabama. He opened a dry goods store, simply titled "H. Lehman". Henry’s brothers Emmanuel and Meyer followed him to the United States in 1850. During this era cotton was the principal cash-crop of the southern United States. The three brothers began to routinely accept raw cotton from customers as payment for merchandise. In 1855, though Henry had died, the remaining brothers continued to focus on their commodities trading and brokerage operations. In the aftermath of the US Civil War, the Lehman Brothers company helped finance Alabama's reconstruction. Soon, the Lehman Brothers moved their headquarters to New York City where they helped found the New York Cotton Exchange in 1870. The Firm also dealt in the emerging market for railroad bonds, and entered the financial advisory business.

Lehman Brothers became members of the Coffee Exchange as early as 1883 and finally the New York Stock Exchange in 1887. The firm also began to develop international interests in Europe and Japan, as well as expertise in merchant banking. In 1899 they underwrote their first public offering, the preferred and common stock of the International Steam Pump Company. The Firm was among the first to recognize the potential of issuing stock as a way for companies to raise capital, in contrast to the issuance of debt, which had historically been the method. Today, the firm has in excess of $230 billion in assets under management. Altogether, since going public in 1994, the firm has increased net revenues over 500% from $2.73 billion to $17.6 billion and increased employee headcount over 200% from 8,500 to almost 26,000.

Source: Lehman Brother-Home, Wikipedia