Interactive Investor

Lord Jacob Rothschild dies aged 87

The financier developed RIT Capital Partners into a £3 billion investment trust.

26th February 2024 12:52

Sam Benstead from interactive investor

City financier Lord Jacob Rothschild has died aged 87. 

He was a key to the development of RIT Capital Partners investment trust. 

Jacob Rothschild was appointed chair of Rothschild Investment Trust in 1971, which then had £5 million in assets. In the 1980s, he left the family bank, N.M. Rothschild & Sons, to focus on the investment trust, which was renamed RIT. 

The trust was built up through a combination of growth and acquisitions, and eventually split to become two entities in 1988: a listed vehicle called RIT Capital Partners and wealth manager St James's Place.  

From August 1988 to September 2019, when Rothschild was chair of the trust, assets grew from £281 million to £3 billion. To date, the trust’s share price has compounded to date at an annualised rate of 10.7%. It invests in listed equities, as well as private firms and funds run by external managers.  

The current market cap of the trust is £2.7 billion, but assets sit near £4 billion due to the 25% discount to net asset value (NAV) on the trust.  

Rothschild was honorary president until his death, and his immediate family remain the largest shareholders with a holding of around 21%, according to the investment trust’s most recent figures. 

His daughter Hannah Rothschild joined the board of the trust as a non-independent non-executive director in August 2013.

At end of May 2023, the Rothschild family had the second-highest skin in the game among investment trusts, at £549 million. In first place was Pershing Square Holdings, where the manager's shareholding was £1.36 billion.   

Among playing a key role in the investment trust industry, Lord Rothschild was a patron of the arts and chaired the boards of the National Gallery and Heritage Lottery Fund in the 1990s. 

The Rothschild Foundation said: “Jacob Rothschild was an extraordinary person, and his loss will be felt by many. The family is committed to continuing his legacy and the foundation which he loved and endowed. His daughter Hannah assumes the role of chair of the Rothschild Foundation. We will all be inspired by his vision, ambition, and his commitment to excellence.” 

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