Loading

Our History

Join us as we trace our firm's approach to investment management through the generations, right back to our founders Colonel Augustus Baillie and the irrepressible Carlyle Gifford.

Image for headphones

Headphones or speakers recommended

Your capital is at risk. Past performance is not a guide to future returns.

2000 - 2017

The global generation

1979-1999

The great bull market generation

1947-1978

The post war generation

1908-1947

The founding generation

A new millennium dawns. But with it a world of problems is ushered in.

A severe bear market. The sub-prime mortgage scandal. The destruction of the twin towers. The second gulf war. A bloody war in Iraq. Confidence in the markets is not high.

Yet this generation of Baillie Gifford’s partners will go on to deliver unprecedented global growth for its clients. How?

Four ways:

The successful surge in overseas business. A growing reputation for expertise in emerging market investing.

The birth of a concentrated 'global best' ideas portfolio that would prove to be a new way of looking at investing in the 21st century.

And a determination that despite a world in turmoil the firm must maintain its passion for investing, ultimately for the benefit of its clients.

It is the spring of 1979. And the UK market is about to go from strength to strength.

The Conservatives take power introducing sweeping changes. This leads to new opportunities.

The performance of the Baillie Gifford UK team over the next 20 years will prove invaluable to the firm’s clients.

But the key decision that will lead to growth is the serious move into pension funds.

Fortunately Baillie Gifford’s approach to investing will attract a large number of pension fund clients to want to invest with them.

And this will see assets under management grow from £3.5 billion to £16.2 billion pounds.

In only 10 years.

Proof that this generation of partners took full advantage for their clients during the great bull market of 1982 to 2000.

The finance act of '65. The Arab Israeli war in '73, leading to the quadrupling of oil prices. Rampant inflation. Sky high interest rates.

Problems for the markets mounted. And this generation was caught unprepared.

The problem was that the senior partner saw new business as a distraction, and so declined to seek any out.

But allowing the firm to become so dependent on Trusts was a strategic error.

Then in '78 the firm lost its second biggest client.

Mergers were considered. The sale of the business was discussed. But the partners were determined to remain independent.

And so they set the firm on the path that would lead to new business opportunities.

Colonel Augustus Baillie and the young Carlyle Gifford's first move into the investment business came in 1908 with the idea for a Trust to invest in the rubber industry, as the launch of the Model T Ford took America by storm.

The roaring twenties fed the pair's appetite for growth. Despite even the Wall Street Crash in 1929, the firm continued to expand.

Then in World War Two came Gifford's finest hour. The Governor of the Bank of England chose him to sell the country's assets on the New York Stock Exchange in order to build the nation's war chest. The way he went about it made him a celebrity in the US.

Time magazine calling him, "No nervous Nellie as he oversees the biggest selling order in history."

It was a fitting final success story for the first generation of Baillie Gifford.

Following in the founders' footsteps.

In one way the Baillie Gifford of today, based in Calton Square, is a very far cry
from the original two partners and five clerks who started it all in Hill Street in 1908.

But when it comes to taking a curious, patient and brave approach to investment
management for the benefit of its clients, absolutely nothing has changed.