Private bankers have been defined as owner-managers of their bank, irrespective of their type of activity, which could be in any field of banking, sometimes in conjunction with another one, especially commerce in the earlier periods.
Analysing the experiences of European private bankers from the early modern period to the early twenty-first century, this book starts by examining the slow emergence of specialist private bankers, largely from amongst those who provided commercial credit.
This initial consideration culminates in a focus upon the roles that they played, both during the onset of the continent's industrialization, and in orchestrating the finances of the emerging world economy.
Its second theme is privatebanking's waning importance with the rise of joint-stock competitors, which became increasingly apparent in Britain during the mid-nineteenth century, and elsewhere within Europe some decades later.
Lastly, attention is paid to the decline of private bankers in the twentieth century -a protracted anduneven decline, combined with the persistence and even the enduring success of some segments of the profession.
It concludes with the revival of private banking in the late twentieth century as a response to the development of a new market - the management of personal wealth.