Lehman Brothers

Topics: Lehman Brothers, Subprime mortgage crisis, Financial crisis Pages: 10 (3684 words) Published: May 15, 2013
Table of Contents

1.0History of Lehman Brothers3
2.0 Causes of its Failure5
3.0 Effects of Its Failure8
4.0 Lessons Learned after the Collapse9
5.0 Conclusions11
6.0 References12
7.0 Appendices13

In year 2008, financial crisis had led to the collapse of many banks in United States. Lehman Brothers was one of the banks that had filed its bankruptcy on 15 September 2008. It was the biggest bankruptcy in the history and it still is for now. Being the fourth largest investment bank in United States that had been established for 158 years, its failure had brought a big impact to the world financial markets. The failure of this large investment bank had triggered people around the world.

After the failure of Lehman Brothers in 2008, there are a number of analysts and researchers that had tried to figure out the root of such event, the causes of the collapse, the effects of the failure and some lessons that could be learned from the failure of Lehman Brothers. All these papers and analysis have their own point of view. Therefore, there are a few objectives that I would like to focus on. In this paper, we will first focus on “What caused its failure?” Everything that happened will have its own reasons and causes. Next we are going to focus on “what is the effect of its failure?” Another objective that we are focusing on is the lessons that we gained from this failure. It is very important to study the story of Lehman Brothers who was a legend because it was established in 1850 until 2008 and they had survived through the world financial crisis.

1.0 History of Lehman Brothers

Lehman Brothers was first founded by a new German immigrant Henry Lehman in Montgomery, Alabama in year 1844. He started up a shop named ‘H. Lehman’, which sells groceries and dry goods to some local cotton farmers. In 1847, his brother Emanuel Lehman arrived, and they change the name again to ‘H. Lehman and Bro’. In 1850, their youngest brother Mayer Lehman arrived in Montgomery and once again they changed its name and ‘Lehman Brothers’ founded by then.

During that time, cotton was one of the important crops thus they have a high market value. The three Lehman brothers started to accept raw cotton from their customers as a source of payment for merchandise. Within a few years, the trading of cotton had become their most important part of their operation. In 1855, Henry Lehman passed away at the age of 33 from yellow fever. After Henry’s death, Mayer and Emanuel continued their business on commodities trading. They have their own policy, only their family members-sons, brothers, and cousins-that were permitted to be their partners. This policy carries on until 1920s.

Their business grow and they formed a partnership with a cotton merchant John Wesley Durr to build their own storage warehouse. They used this warehouse to store their mass amount of cotton to enable them to support larger sales and trades. Their business continued to expand and they set up an office in New York in year 1858. However, Lehman Brothers faced hardship during the period of Civil War but they managed to rebuild their business after the war, and focusing their operations based in the New York office. Lehman Brothers expand to include sales and trading of other goods. Besides forming the New York Cotton Exchange, they were involved in establishing the Coffee Exchange and Petroleum Exchange. In 1867, Lehman Brothers became the agent of the Alabama government in selling the state’s bonds.

In 1906, under the leadership of Philip Lehman, son of Emanuel, he partnered with Goldman Sachs, together they brought the General Cigar Co. to market followed by Sears, Roebuck and Company. There were around one hundred new issues that were underwritten by Lehman Brothers in conjunction with Goldman. Philip Lehman retired in 1925, and the company was taken over by his son, Robert Lehman. Under Robert’s leading, the company...
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