British banker Jacob Rothschild dies aged 87

Jacob Rothschild attending the Belle Epoque Gala Dinner at The National Gallery on March 16, 2006 in London, England.

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British financier Jacob Rothschild, a senior member of one of Europe’s best-known banking dynasties, has died at the age of 87, his family announced on Monday.

The family, in a statement to the UK’s Press Association news agency, called Rothschild “a towering presence in many peoples’ lives”.

He was “a superbly accomplished financier, a champion of the arts and culture, a devoted public servant, a passionate supporter of charitable causes in Israel and Jewish culture, a keen environmentalist and much-loved friend, father and grandfather,” the family said.

Rothschild, born in England in 1936, started his career at the family bank, NM Rothschild & Sons, in 1963 before going on to co-found J Rothschild Assurance Group, which became today’s London-based wealth manager St James’s Place.

He was involved in many business endeavours, including founding investment trust RIT Capital Partners, which has backed a variety of companies, from hedge funds to clean technology start-ups.

Rothschild was also known for being a long-standing patron of the arts, and was trustee of Britain’s National Gallery between 1985 and 1991.

Ed Vaizey, Britain’s former culture minister, paid tribute to Rothschild on X, describing him as one of the country’s greatest cultural philanthropists.

Waddesdon Manor, an English country estate managed by the Rothschild Foundation, said on social media platform X that it and the foundation were “deeply saddened” by the death, calling Rothschild a “businessman, entrepreneur, philanthropist and cultural leader”.

The Rothschild banking family traces its roots back to 18th century Frankfurt, from where different family members moved to cities across Europe to build out banking businesses.

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