Since 1931

OUR HISTORY

Growing and Protecting Wealth for Generations

The Story of Fiduciary Trust Company International

Fiduciary Trust was founded in 1931 by families, for families. We have grown exponentially since those early days, but we still focus entirely on preserving, growing and transferring family wealth in the most efficient manner possible through personalized investment advice and tax-efficient estate planning.

These same principles remain firmly in place today - harbored in a culture that promotes accessibility, transparency and an extraordinary level of care and loyalty which has become the hallmark of our firm.

Our Inspiration: Built by Families, for Families

To begin, we were not created by a single family or individual as some of our competitors were, but rather by a distinguished group of professionals hailing from a variety of disciplines and professions who were united by a similar vision for wealth management.

Our heritage traces back to several New York families who recognized an absence of personalized wealth management services to help high-net-worth individuals and families navigate the ever-changing financial world around them.

Their collective vision for Fiduciary Trust was supported and, ultimately, championed by the law firm of Root, Clark & Buckner and the investment firm of Scudder, Stevens & Clark. By combining a client-oriented outlook with the backing of two powerful family run firms, Fiduciary Trust was prepared to launch their services in the center of the financial universe, New York City.  

Dedication Without Distraction 
Although trust companies could offer a variety of ancillary services at the time - such as brokerage services, underwriting securities and commercial banking services - our founders were determined to avoid these distractions and any potential conflicts of interest they might bring.

Instead, they focused on perfecting three distinguishing qualities: specializing in personal trust services and investing, upholding the highest fiduciary standard, and performing diligent research to foster an environment of putting the client's interests above all else.

Milestones

1931 

The Sportsman, announces the firm

Rising to National Prominence

Fiduciary Trust Company of New York officially opened its doors to the public on June 3, 1931 on the 30th floor of One Wall Street in New York City.

In covering the opening of the company, BusinessWeek magazine pointed out that,“…figuratively and literally, this new bank is well above the heads of the Wall Street crowd.”

Daniel MacCormack, who organized and directed Irving Trust’s receivership department, was named Fiduciary Trust's first president. Pierre Jay, former chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York was named chairman of the board and prominent attorneys Elihu Root Jr. and Grenville Clark of Root, Clark & Buchner were named to the board.

While the 1930s began slowly for Fiduciary Trust as the Great Depression weighed on the US economy, by the end of 1935 we had attracted clients in 12 countries and 30 states solidifying our position as a new leader in wealth management.

Learning About Independence 
As our budding company prepared for big moves ahead, a conflict emerged that brought about the creation of a critical fiber supporting our corporate character: In 1935, Fiduciary Trust launched its own research department to supplement the work being done by Scudder, Stevens & Clark.

By the end of the decade, our research department had grown to rival the research provided by the Scudder group. Upset by this development, Scudder & Co. management put their shares in Fiduciary Trust up for sale, presenting Fiduciary’s board with the sudden possibility of an outside buyer acquiring a majority ownership stake in the company.

However, with some expert maneuvering, Fiduciary Trust President John Fiske managed to place a hold on the stock for two days while he gathered enough funds to buy the shares put up for sale by Scudder.

The lesson we took away from that precarious moment in our company's history is that proprietary research will always be critical for the firm. Securing our investment independence was crucial. 

Continued Expansion

Following the experience with Scudder & Co., Fiduciary Trust continued to grow, with assets under management reaching $100 million by 1943.

The company continued to expand through the 1940s under the leadership of President John Fiske and acting CEO, Alice Palache Jones, who served in this role during World War II. By the time the 1950s rolled around, the company had earned a reputation as one of the most prestigious private wealth managers in the northeastern United States.

1935
Fiduciary Trust forms a proprietary research department.

By year-end, the firm has clients in 30 states and 12 countries

1943
Assets under management reach $100 million 

1946
Avertisements celebrate Fiduciary's first 15 years in business
 

Investing in New Technology

Throughout the company’s evolution, Fiduciary Trust has always recognized the importance of preparing for changes on the horizon, especially the changing needs of our clients. Long before the internet revolutionized the way we invest and serve our clients, technology played an important role in our growth.

Early Adoption of Computer Systems
In 1959, Fiduciary Trust’s first computer system went into daily operation, providing portfolio managers with daily account summaries and allowing our relatively small company to keep up with growing demand for our services. By the beginning of 1959, assets under management had risen to $500 million.

Extending Our Global Research Capabilities

The 1960s marked a period of expansion as our corporate culture matured. One major proponent of this change was Harry Fowler, who rose through the ranks to become CEO and chairman of the board in 1962.

Within five years of his tenure as CEO, assets under management reached $1 billion and Fiduciary Trust opened its first international office in London. This office’s main purpose was to provide research on non-US companies and report back to New York headquarters with investment opportunities.

Following the success of the London expansion, Fiduciary Trust opened a wholly-owned subsidiary in Geneva, Switzerland in 1969. This new office further facilitated the management of accounts outside the US and accelerated our push into new global markets.

As this expansion took place, Fowler announced that he planned to retire and one of his top colleagues was preparing to fill his shoes.

Lawrence (Larry) Huntington joined Fiduciary Trust as a finance intern in 1956 between his junior and senior years of college.

After graduating from Harvard, Larry served in the military for three years before rejoining the firm at the age of 24. Once back, Mr. Huntington quickly worked his way up the company ladder through the investment management department. At the age of 35, he was appointed president of Fiduciary Trust.

Persisting Through Economic Challenges

By 1973, Larry Huntington had assumed the position of CEO and soon thereafter restarted a major expansion campaign that had been delayed by a severe downturn in the worldwide economy.

His first order of business in 1974 was relocating the company’s headquarters from One Wall Street, where it had been since 1931, to the newly constructed World Trade Center, occupying floors 90 and 94-97 of the South Tower. 
 
A Deeper Bench in Investment Management
Four years later, Fiduciary Trust acquired the private investment counsel firm of Davis, Palmer & Biggs to add to our already impressive investment management capabilities.

Bolstered by these moves and acquisitions, Fiduciary Trust Company of New York was positioned to enter the ‘80s full steam ahead.

1958
Advertisememts ran in the New York daily papers


1959

Fiduciary Trust installs its first computer system
 
Assets under management reach $500 million

1965
Assets under management reach $1 billion

1973

Advertisements ran in the Wall Street Journal

1974
Fiduciary Trust moves to the World Trade Center 

Serving a Global Community

By the early 1980s, it became clear that a growing number of Fiduciary Trust clients had business interests, personal ties and family members living and working outside the New York area—and beyond the borders of the United States. Ultimately, providing these clients with a local touchpoint became a high priority.

National Expansion
In 1982, Larry Huntington replaced Harry Fowler as chairman of the board and set his sights on additional expansion opportunities, both at home and abroad. The decision to open an office in Los Angeles that year created a presence on the West Coast and was the first step toward expanding into Asia.

Furthermore, to more accurately reflect the expansion of the past two decades, the board voted in 1987 to rename the company Fiduciary Trust Company International. Two years after the rebrand, the firm’s Hong Kong office opened, providing yet another platform to serve new clients and a base for the company to explore new markets.

Continual Innovation in Investment Management
Throughout this period of dramatic growth, our portfolio managers were encouraged to innovate, take a fresh look at existing strategies and inspire one another in friendly competition. It was around this time that the firm also created portfolio management teams, centered around specialized market sectors and investing strategies that would build off each other.

This restructuring established the groundwork for the highly collaborative approach our investment professionals take to this day.

Embracing the Fiduciary Standard

In 1994, the company hired several seasoned wealth management professionals to enhance our business for individual clients. They included Jim Goodfellow and Gail Cohen, both of whom would go on to later serve as chairmen of Fiduciary Trust.

One of this team's first assignments was to travel around the country and meet with attorneys to educate them about the formidable legal responsibilities they carried as fiduciaries and explain how Fiduciary Trust was uniquely qualified to help them meet those obligations. 

Committed to What it Means to Be a Fiduciary 
Today, our role as a legal fiduciary remains one of the many strengths that set us apart from financial professionals who are held to the less stringent “suitability” standard. In fact, our founders created their own set of fiduciary standards nine years before the SEC established industry-wide regulations. You could say the fiduciary standard is our birthright. It is inherent to our corporate DNA.

Our passion for the fiduciary standard and strong cross-border capabilities did not go unnoticed. In 1996, the United Nations named Fiduciary Trust Company International one of three advisors to the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund; which provides retirement, death, disability and related benefits to member organizations.

Within the span of nine years, Fiduciary Trust opened offices in Washington D.C., the Cayman Islands, Melbourne, Delaware and Tokyo (with the acquisition of Sanyo Investment Management Co.’s license). As the 1990s drew to a close, assets under management totaled $50 billion.

In 1999,Larry Huntington passed the CEO torch to company president Anne Tatlock, one of the few women who were rising through the ranks and shaking up the status quo on Wall Street. She was appointed chairman a year later poised to guide us into a new millennium stronger than we had ever been.

1980
Wall Street Journal advertisement features Fiduciary's specialized approach
  

1982
 
Los Angeles, California office opens 

1987
The firm is renamed Fiduciary Trust Company International

1990
Washington, DC office opens

Fiduciary Trust receives a Cayman trust company charter

1992
Miami, Florida office opens

1999
Assets under management reach $50 billion


Franklin Templeton: The Right Partnership at the Right Time

In the early 2000s, a wave of consolidation swept through the financial services industry. As an established global wealth management firm with a relatively small operational footprint, Fiduciary Trust was a prime target for acquisition. While we treasured our independence, our leadership team recognized that it would become increasingly difficult to compete against large financial conglomerates with vast resources and deep pockets. The decision to open bidding at that critical juncture proved to be exactly the right choice.

In early 2001, after several large companies expressed an interest in buying Fiduciary Trust, our path to future success became clear. One of the largest global investment managers, Franklin Templeton, had a strong history of purchasing companies, facilitating the integration of their back office resources, and then allowing the newly acquired company to operate with independence. Furthermore, Franklin posessed the global capabilities and corporate integrity that the management team believed aligned most with our existing beliefs and needs. In April of 2001, Fiduciary Trust became a wholly owned subsidiary of Franklin Templeton.

The Tragedy of September 11

Just months after this strategic merger, tragedy struck. On September 11, 2001, Fiduciary Trust and Franklin Templeton lost 87 employees in a terrorist attack that shook the world.

It is impossible to convey the enormity of this attack and the immeasurable toll it took on the families and friends of our fallen colleagues. We will always honor their memory.




2001

Fiduciary Trust is acquired by Franklin Templeton Investments, a global investment leader 
 
 
  




Enhancing the Client Experience

At Fiduciary Trust, success is measured by our ability to help clients achieve their long-term financial goals. Since the late 2000s, we have pursued this mandate in several different ways. 

A Full-Service, Team-Based Approach
When Jim Goodfellow and Henry Johnson were appointed C0-CEOs in 2006, they encouraged the firm to continue the work Anne Tatlock had championed—improving client satisfaction and strengthening our investment success.

Relationship teams were formed to manage every aspect of the client experience. This created multiple touchpoints for our clients, expanding interaction beyond portfolio managers to include the entire support system in place around them.

Henry assumed the role of CEO in 2009 and advocated for Fiduciary Trust to become more actively engaged in sponsoring the arts, philanthropic endeavors, and investing in the communities where our employees and clients live. Office comradery and mutual appreciation of efforts fostered an inclusive, family-like atmosphere, which would prove especially helpful in the challenging economic environment that followed.

Weathering the Financial Crisis

The atmosphere of comradery, collaboration and mutual respect that helped our organization rebuild after the tragedy of September 11 also helped us weather the market challenges of the 2008 financial crisis and the global recession that followed. 
 
Guiding Clients through Challenges 
Relying on time-tested investing principles, such as selecting companies with strong fundamentals and carefully managing risk exposures, Fiduciary Trust earned high praise from our clients for our investment performance during that difficult period.

Our commitment to the fiduciary standard also provided our clients with the comfort of knowing that their assets would never be mixed with the firm’s own assets—a practice known as comingling. This practice is allowed for brokerage firms, but not for legal fiduciaries, and it can be particularly risky for investors if a brokerage firm goes bankrupt or becomes insolvent, as we saw during the financial crisis.

2006
Advertisement celebrates 75 years in business

2010
Advertisements feature eight decades of wealth management expertise

A Turning Point Brings New Leadership
By the middle of the next decade, Fiduciary Trust’s board of directors faced a new crossroad in the company’s journey. The needs of our clients were becoming more complex, technology was advancing rapidly, and next-generation clients were becoming more difficult to reach through traditional approaches. When CEO Henry Johnson left the firm in late 2015, the board’s mission was clear: a new leadership team was needed to modernize the company and lead it forward into a new era.

After a nationwide search, the board of directors hired John M. Dowd to become the first outside CEO in the company’s history. Dowd, a 30-year veteran of the wealth management business, is supported by two Fiduciary Trust veterans: General Trust Counsel Gail Cohen, who was elevated to chairman of the board, and Chief Financial Officer, Larry Sternkopf, who was promoted to president and COO. With the addition of John and the backing of the entire firm, Fiduciary Trust was ready and able to dive into a new chapter of growth and development. 

Moving, Expanding, and Modernizing

Over the next several years, our company’s focus on the future prompted several changes aimed at providing our clients and employees with more contemporary amenities and accessibility.

In the summer of 2016, our company’s evolution took another leap forward as Fiduciary Trust moved into a spacious, modern office building at one of Manhattan’s premier locations: 280 Park Avenue. Designed to infuse elegant modern architectural elements with the latest technology, our new headquarters represents a strong connection to our esteemed history while wholly embracing the exciting possibilities of the future.



2013

Boca Raton, Florida office opens

2015
Miami office moves to Coral Gables


2016
  
John M. Dowd joins Fiduciary Trust as Chief Executive Officer


Fiduciary Trust moves to new headquarters at 280 Park Avenue in Manhattan
Growing and Protecting Wealth for Generations

Just as we did when we first opened our doors in 1931, Fiduciary Trust continues to focus on preserving, growing and transferring family wealth in the most tax-efficient manner possible, building bridges from one generation to the next.

Our corporate culture still demands the extraordinary level of accessibility, transparency and loyalty to clients that fuels the success of our clients.

Some of the major initiatives that are underway today include:

  • Introducing new technologies that make our portfolio management process more efficient, reduces risk and broadens the menu of advice we offer.
  • Developing wealth-planning tools that give our clients a clear view of their current financial health and the pathway that leads to long-term success.
  • Helping the next generation become smart investors and manage wealth responsibly with programs such as our Young Investors Club.

While Fiduciary Trust continues to leverage all the advantages modern technology has to offer, we also recognize its limitations. No algorithm or software program can replace the personal guidance of our experienced portfolio managers, trust attorneys and tax specialists; working closely with clients to address highly complex and individual wealth management challenges. In our view, technology doesn’t threaten those relationships—it strengthens them.

Wealth Planning Throughout the World, Across Generations

As we move forward into the 21st century, managing wealth is becoming more complicated every day. From the complexities of living and working in different countries around the world to the ever-changing tax environment at home and abroad, new challenges are requiring families, individuals and institutions to look for innovative, new solutions.

Just as we have done throughout our history, Fiduciary Trust will continue to help you meet these challenges in the future - with personalized financial advice, specialized tax and planning services, and the loyalty demanded of a legal fiduciary.

Since the day we were founded, our mission has always been to simplify the complex financial lives of those we have the privilege of serving. We look forward to strengthening this tradition with you in this generation and the generations ahead.

2017
Arlington, Virginia office opens

2018

Advertisement features Fiduciary's wealth management services and expertise

2020
Acquire Athena Capital and Pennsylvania Trust