Britain: A Prince Among Princes

Most ordinary Britons bank with "The Big Five," a quintet of commercial banks* with deluges of deposits from branches around the world. But in London, 17 smaller merchant banks, most of them family-dominated, rank as "The Princes of the City." The biggest of the tight-mouthed princes, who ignore common customers for corporations and countries, is Hambros Bank, Ltd., which has arranged financing for Scandinavian timber, South African diamonds and $20 million worth of Manhattan's Pan Am Building. In a move symbolic of the new direction that London's princely bankers are now taking, Hambros has just announced that in partnership...

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