The Bank of New York’s rebranding cuts ties with the fading Wall Street era

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Wall Street has lost another name in its “Gilded Age,” with Bank of New York Mellon’s decision this week to drop “Mellon” from its brand and simply call it BNY.

Mellon was founded in 1870 and emerged as one of the prominent financial brands during the waning years of the 19th century, marked by massive expansion fueled by US industrialization. A son of the family, Andrew Mellon, also served as U.S. Secretary of the Treasury before the Great Depression.

“The names of the Gilded Age have faded since the 1960s,” said Gary Richardson, former official historian of the Federal Reserve system.

This period produced several families whose names still stand out on Wall Street today: John Pierpont Morgan, whose family name was the foundation for both JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley.

The Warburg name, made famous by Paul Warburg’s role in creating the Fed in 1913, still lives on on Wall Street through the private equity firm Warburg Pincus, co-founded by his nephew. And the names of Marcus Goldman and Samuel Sachs live on through their eponymous company.

But others, such as Kuhn, Loeb and more recently Lehman Brothers have faded from public view. Lehman Brothers collapsed in 2008 in the largest corporate bankruptcy at the time, and what remained is now part of British bank Barclays.

Brokerage company PaineWebber with the slogan “Thank You PaineWebber” inspired one Saturday night live drama in 1982, its brand was dropped after UBS acquired it in 2000. PaineWebber acquired another Gilded Age stalwart in Kidder Securities, Peabody.

Bank of New York The history stretches back even further than Mellon – to 1784 when it was founded by Alexander Hamilton. With an office on Wall Street, it was the first stock to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Today, it is the world’s largest depository bank, a role that is vital to global finance but also largely invisible.

The company acquired Mellon in 2007. This week’s move to phase out the Mellon brand after 17 years is a common practice on Wall Street, where brands often join only temporarily after a merger.* Kuhn Loeb has shared the highest income with Lehman Brothers for a period after the merger. the two companies merged in 1977 to form Lehman Brothers, Kuhn, Loeb, but the name was later dropped.

While the Mellon name may be obscure on Wall Street, it is prominent in Pittsburgh, where the company is headquartered and its name is associated with Carnegie Mellon University, Mellon Square and Mellon Park.

Today, Forbes ranks the Mellon family as one of the richest families in America with a net worth of about $14 billion. Timothy Mellon is a top Republican donor to Donald Trump and has also helped finance Robert F Kennedy Jr.’s long-term campaign for the White House.

“In terms of the importance of families during the Gilded Age, I would definitely put the Mellon family in the top five,” said Charles Geisst, a financial historian and author of the book. Wall Street: A History.

BNY, whose legal parent company name will remain Bank of New York Mellon Corporation, said the streamlined BNY brand is part of an effort to “improve familiarity with who we are and what we do.” What”. Today, it oversees nearly $50 trillion in assets as part of its custody, markets and asset services business.

BNY plans to still use the Bank of New York Mellon name on its Pittsburgh signs. It will also keep the Mellon brand for its passive index fund business.

Natalie Sunderland, BNY’s global chief marketing officer, told the Financial Times: “This work is really grounded not only in the growth of our business but also in customer feedback globally”. “BNY is an abbreviation of what we already know, not a completely different name.”

The rebrand also brings a more modern look to a company that is sometimes seen as stuck in the past.

For many years, the joke that circulated around the Bank of New York was that, when founder Hamilton began his deadly duel with Aaron Burr in 1804, he told the employees not to change a thing. nothing until he comes back.

*This story has been revised to correct the number of years since the merger


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