|Andrew Telfer, Senior Partner|
Baillie Gifford is an investment management firm which is wholly owned by 41 partners, all of whom work full-time for the firm. It was founded in Edinburgh in 1908 and still has its headquarters in the city. Assets under management and advice exceed £122 billion (as at 31 March 2016).
Baillie & Gifford WS was formed in 1907 as a partnership between Colonel Augustus Baillie and Carlyle Gifford. Initially, it was a law firm but the financial climate of the time led to the business switching its emphasis to investment in 1908. In 1909, Baillie & Gifford created the Straits Mortgage and Trust Company Limited to lend money to rubber planters in Malaya.
The Straits Mortgage and Trust Company Limited was renamed The Scottish Mortgage and Trust Limited in 1913, and this was followed by the introduction of several other investment trusts. Baillie Gifford’s clients and staff emerged relatively unscathed from the First World War, and the ‘Roaring Twenties’ gave Gifford many opportunities to expand the firm’s investment business. By 1927, the transition of Baillie & Gifford WS from a firm of solicitors conducting institutional investment business to a partnership managing investment trusts was completed with the creation of Baillie Gifford & Co. The firm continued to grow steadily until the outbreak of the Second World War.
Baillie died in 1939 and, the following year, Gifford was posted to New York on UK Government business. However, the firm survived the war and the troubled investment climate which followed. After a period of strong growth in the firm’s staff and client base, Gifford retired in 1965 at the age of 84. Baillie Gifford emerged from a further period of economic weakness in the UK during the 1970s with its position enhanced by growth in the amount of money it managed on behalf of clients.
Assets under management continued to grow strongly during the 1990s. The firm altered the management structure when it reverted to having joint senior partners. And, as the new millennium approached, another huge change occurred with the increased use of technology – a necessary evolution as the business expanded and the client base became increasingly complex.
By the time of its centenary in 2008, Baillie Gifford had offices in New York and London in addition to its headquarters in Edinburgh, and was managing more than £50 billion. Clients included five of the seven largest pension funds in the US and the firm had also attracted significant levels of business from Japan and Australia, as well as continuing to make inroads in other parts of the Far and Middle East.
- Burns, Richard (2008). A Century of Investing: Baillie Gifford’s First 100 Years. Edinburgh: Birlinn Limited. ISBN 978-1-84158-781-3.