The bank was founded by the American George Peabody in 1838 as the UK branch of his US bank which subsequently became known as J.P. Morgan & Co. In 1904, Edward Grenfell was made a partner in the firm, and, in 1909, it underwent a change of name to become Morgan, Grenfell and Company. It played a key role in reconstructing Europe in the 1920s and had an extremely effective corporate finance department. J.P. Morgan & Co. divested 33% of its shares in Morgan Grenfell in 1933 and all the remaining shares in 1982.
In 1990 Morgan Grenfell was acquired by Deutsche Bank for $1.48 billion and was renamed Deutsche Morgan Grenfell  until 1999 when the use of the Morgan Grenfell name was discontinued by Deutsche Bank.