Robert Fleming (financier)

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Robert Fleming
Born(1845-03-17)17 March 1845
Dundee, Scotland
Died31 July 1933(1933-07-31) (aged 88)
Resting placeSt. Bartholemew, Nettlebed, Oxfordshire
OccupationBanker, philanthropist
Spouse(s)Sarah Kate Fleming
ChildrenValentine Fleming
Philip Fleming
RelativesIan Fleming
Peter Fleming

Robert Fleming (17 March 1845 – 31 July 1933) was a Scottish financier and philanthropist. He was the founder of merchant bank Robert Fleming & Co.

Early life[edit]

Robert Fleming was born in 1845 in Dundee. His father was a bookkeeper.


Fleming got his start at the age of 13 working for local textile firm, Messrs Edward Baxter and Son. By 21, he was Edward Baxter's private clerk. In time, Fleming had learned enough about investment procedures from Baxter to oversee the firm's American holdings.[1]

Fleming launched the Scottish American Investment Trust in 1873, the first of the Scottish investment trusts.[2] He went on to become an international financier in London, establishing the investment bank that bore his name for more than a century and out of which the Fleming Collection of Scottish art and the Fleming Collection Gallery was born.[3]

A contemporary of J. P. Morgan and a close business associate and friend of Jacob Schiff of Kuhn, Loeb & Co., Fleming was widely known and respected in financial circles on both sides of the Atlantic. He was one of the shrewdest investors of his generation and an acknowledged expert in the financing of American railroads. One of his less successful ventures was the 1908 takeover of the bankrupt works of Algoma Steel in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, but he had the foresight to associate with the project James Hamet Dunn, who would come to control the works from 1935.[4]


He made many generous bequests to the city and the new University College. The Fleming Gymnasium (opened in 1905[5] and now housing Forensic Medicine) still bears his name.

The Fleming Gardens Estate in Dundee was erected as a result of a gift of £155,000 Fleming made to improve worker's housing. His gift is commemorated in a plaque and balustraded viewpoint at the junction of Clepington Road and Hindmarsh Avenue.

Personal life[edit]

He was the father of Valentine Fleming and Philip Fleming. He was the grandfather of novelist Ian Fleming and writer Peter Fleming.[3] Sir John Fleming, onetime Lord Provost of Aberdeen and later a local MP, was a younger brother.


He died in 1933 and is buried in St. Bartholomew's Church in Nettlebed, Oxfordshire. His will was proven on 8 September, with his estate amounting to £2,174,803 15s. 10d. (calculated to be equivalent to £157,850,236 in 2020[6]).[7]


  1. ^ Capitalism in a Mature Economy: Financial Institutions, Capital Exports and British Industry, 1870-1939. Edward Elgar Publishing. 1990. p. 141. ISBN 1781959412.
  2. ^ Fry, Michael (2001). The Scottish Empire. Tuckwell Press. p. 270. ISBN 1-84158-259-X.
  3. ^ a b "Painting in Dundee". University of Dundee. 24 June 2002. Retrieved 13 March 2009.
  4. ^ Beaverbrook 1961, p. 74-81
  5. ^ "DSA Building/Design Report: University College Dundee Fleming Gymnasium and Fives Courts". Dictionary of Scottish Architects. Retrieved 13 March 2009.
  6. ^ UK Retail Price Index inflation figures are based on data from Clark, Gregory (2017). "The Annual RPI and Average Earnings for Britain, 1209 to Present (New Series)". MeasuringWorth. Retrieved 2 December 2021.
  7. ^ "Fleming, Robert". UK Government. 1933. Retrieved 13 August 2019.


  • Lord Beaverbrook (1961). Courage: The Story of Sir James Dunn. Fredericton, NB: Brunswick Press.

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