RJ Tilney & Co

RJ Tilney & Co


In April 1836 Thomas Tilney and his second son George set up a firm for the purpose of dealing in stocks and shares, with offices at 7, Water Street. Sharebroking was not Mr Tilney's first business. He had followed his father into the shipping business on the Tyne but met with little success. Moving to Liverpool to try his fortunes there, both Thomas and his son George joined the already-existing Liverpool Sharebrokers' Association.

The Association expanded and Mr Tilney's third son Robert joined the firm in the 1840s. After their father's death in 1847 the two brothers continued to run the business, steering it through crises in the 1840s and 1860s before a serious quarrel between them led to thevoluntary liquidation of the original company, Thomas Tilney & Sons and the formation of R J Tilney & Co. Robert Tilney died before his son Robert Henry came of age in 1887. Instructions were left for the business to be carried on by executors.

During the 1880s there was a growing interest in local industry. The Tilney archives record the names Lever (forebear of today's international Unilever), and Brunner Mond (which today forms part of ICI). The growth in power and importance of Liverpool, its international trading links and its thriving business community were reflected in the further development of the Liverpool Chamber of Commerce. The Liverpool Stock Exchange grew in importance and prestige to mirror the town's general prosperity.

In October 1895 R J Tilney & Co took on Mr John Brocklebank at a salary of £70 a year. Later he became a market floor trader, writing letters (by hand) to clients. Later still, in 1903, he became a Member of the Liverpool Stock Exchange, a partner in 1910 and, on the retirement of John Hyslop, the co-head of the firm, together with Col. Robert Henry Tilney.

The firm's concern with insurance stocks is demonstrated in the figures in the R J Tilney Marine insurance book which give details of premium incomes, losses and interest income. The profits recorded increase considerably between 1887 and 1900.

Just before the First World War the Liverpool Stock Exchange and its member firms were flourishing, reflecting the city's general prosperity. R J Tilney & Co shared in this and was highly regarded by other businesses.Fact|date=August 2008

The First World War

Both father and eldest son were involved in active war service, John Brocklebank, the remaining partner held the fort.

In dealing, the general price trend was downwards except for American securities but, towards the end of hostilities there was some improvement. Later, John Brocklebank was to write, "The financial history of the war period worked out n-draculously- all outstanding contracts completed, enormous loans paid off..." The end of the war found the company "with a clean and clear position.”

All fit male staff had joined the forces but the government, persuaded by a letter from Col. Tilney himself at the battlefront, to exempt a Mr Crosbie to keep the company going. However, disaster followed with the death in March 1918 of Major Leonard Arthur Tilney. It was to be 14 more years before another Tilney, Leonard'syounger brother John joined the partnership.

The inter-war period

John Brocklebank, with William Crosbie, his new partner continued to run the company. The 20s began brightly with the cotton boom. The company's books record the names of English Sewing Cotton, Courtaulds, Fine Cotton Spinners etc.

In 1926 John Threlfall was made a partner as a reward for 30 years' loyalty to the firm. Later, Arthur Hyslop joined the partnership.

The difficulties of the post war years were emerging, which culminated in the Wall Street Crash and years of depression. John Brocklebank began to encourage John Tilney to begin with the firm in 1928 before he had finished his degree course. John, later Sir John, co-operated. Looking back he remembers the old office in Castle Street with its tall desks against which the clerks stood to write up the ledgers and the heartache and distress caused by the cotton crash of the 1930s.Fact|date=August 2008

Cash calls were made on holders of partly paid cotton mill shares, which even then were deemed worthless. John Brown joined R J Tilney and became a partner because Grace Brothers, for whom he had worked, closed in Liverpool in anticipation of the Second World War.

Meanwhile the company celebrated its centenary in 1936.

Impact of the Second World War

The experience gained during the 1914-18 war proved helpful when war was declared in September 1939. The Liverpool Stock Exchange closed for two days only but then all transactions were restricted to cash settlement.

At the outbreak of war R J Tilney had 17 male members of staff. Eleven joined the armed forces with three deaths in active service. Of the six remaining, three were over military age and the rest either disabled or too young.

After the war ended the Stock Exchange re-introduced account dealing in 1946 and continuation business in 1949. The company staff and partners held a Victory Reunion dinner in May 1947.


John Tilney was elected to parliament in 1950 as MP for Wavertree, remaining an MP until his retirement in February 1974. Much of the day to day work in the fifties, therefore was covered by John Patrick Bingham, one of Tilney's five partners. Businesswas growing and there were changes proposed in the operation of the Liverpool StockExchange. Therefore it was thought the size of R J Tilney should be increased tostrengthen their impact.

The easiest way was through merger, the first of these being with Messrs Parr & Rae in1958 to form Tilney, Parr & Rae. The new partnership numbered ten and Sefton House became its home until, as part of the Charterhouse Group, it moved in August 1988 to grand new offices in the Royal Liver Building.

Partner Keith Rae looked for further opportunities to expand and contacts were built up with T K Holden & Son.

To try and cope with the pressure being placed on regional exchanges by London, the Northern Stock Exchange was formed in 1965. It comprised the separate exchanges of Liverpool, Manchester, Huddersfield, Leeds, Newcastle, [Sheffield and Oldham. This led to new regulations about the size of member firms, minimum partner] requirements and the creation of a jobbing broking system along the lines of LondoWs. Tilney, Parr & Rae consequently acquired G H Chamberlain and Sing White. The combined Group, with 12 partners was to be known as Tilney, Sing, Parr & Rae.

The mid sixties brought a change in the industry. For the next ten years there was a growth of research and a development in institutional and corporate business.Fact|date=August 2008 The Tilney Partnership took on Alan Binks and John Hancox, both qualified accountants. They became partners with special responsibility for this area of the business.

At the same time the level of direct investment by individuals was declining because of the taxation policies of successive governments after the warFact|date=August 2008 and especially following the introduction of Capital Gains Tax after 1965.Fact|date=August 2008

The fragile economic boom of the early 1970s was followed by rapidly rising inflation, penal taxation of inflation-driven corporate profits,Fact|date=August 2008 higher interest rates with a resultant squeeze on over-borrowed property companies and the subsequent secondary banking crisis.Fact|date=August 2008

However, a period of crisis followed in 1974-5. It was partly caused by industrial unrest under the Heath government and the 3-day working weekFact|date=August 2008 and partly by the rise in oil prices after the Arab-Israeli War. These factors led to a sharp fall in Stock Market values.Fact|date=August 2008

The company responded with a sharp and painful cut in its personnel and activities. Staff numbers went from 158 in 1972 to just 64 by 1974.

When the market improved in the mid to late seventies, the new technology and computerisation meant that a large staff was no longer necessary. Tilney prospered, extending its business into the new areas of building, brewing and electronics, whilst the long established dealing in shipping was extended.

As the firm dealt increasingly with large institutions who wanted informed research at a local level it was decided to expand this aspect of the business. For this purpose Tilney joined with Charles W Jones & Co. Since regional stock exchanges, including the Northern had disbanded, the merger with Jones made Tilney a large enough concern to deal directly with the London Stock exchange. The introduction of the telephone STX system made it possible to extend the range of institutional contacts.

The corporate finance side of the business expanded quickly with Tilney acting as broker to a number of listed companies, many of them locally based. The computer facilities had initially coped with internal client accounting records and the private client department was equipped with desktop terminals, linked to the main computer. This enabled the partners to give a better service to their clients. The system provided a complete record of each portfolio with details of its current value, past transactions, deals in the current account and so on, all of which could be easily accessed while speaking to a client on the telephone.

In May 1986 Tilney was taken over by the Charterhouse Group resulting in Charterhouse Tilney the ultimate parent being The Royal Bank of Scotland. After 150 years of independence the catalyst which joined Tilney to Charterhouse were the changes arising from the Restrictive Practices Case and the resulting change in the structure of the London market known as the "Big Bang". Tilney's base outside London had its attractions; overheads would be lower and no great upheavals would be necessary.

1986 - 2006

In 1988 the Liverpool Head Office moved from Sefton House to the prestigious Royal Liver Building on the Liverpool waterfront - one the world's most famous landmarks.

In 1990 Charterhouse Tilney took over Campbell Neill, a Scottish based stockbroker which resulted in a Glasgow office being established.

By 1993 the wheel had turned full circle and a management buy-out of the private client division was effected with the name reverting to Tilney & Co. Tilney & Co steadily expanded to become one of the largest fund managers and stockbrokers in the U.K. In April 1998 the official name for the main operating company changed to Tilney Investment Management to give a clear statement of the primary business activity to both existing and prospective clients.

In June 1998, formal links were established with Fortsmann-Leff, a New York and Chicago based boutique fund management house.

Tilney back office administration was outsourced to the Bank of New York in 2002 – significantly reducing costs for the firm. Tilney acquired the private client divisions of Edinburgh Fund Managers and SG Hambros in 2003, The Pensions Partnership, a pension consultant (2003) and Cardales, a specialist commercial property fund manager and service provider in 2004.

Senior executives at Tilney led an MBO of the firm in April 2005 with the support of the private equity firm Bridgepoint. Bridgepoint is one of the leading European mid-market private equity buyout groups.

Tilney acquired the discretionary fund management business of Clydesdale Bank in 2006.

Present day

In December 2006, as part of a strategic move to strengthen its presence in the UK private wealth management market, Deutsche Bank acquired Tilney Group from Bridgepoint and Tilney management.

The acquisition was a key element in Deutsche Bank’s private wealth management strategy to expand its onshore presence in its dedicated core markets and expand into various client segments, including the Independent Financial Advisers sector.

Tilney Investment Management has six branch offices, the oldest being Shrewsbury which was opened in 1966. The London office was opened in 1974, Edinburgh after the take-over by Charterhouse in January 1987 and Glasgow as previously mentioned in 1990. Birmingham was created in 1992. Tilney currently holds a total of £6.7 bn of clients' assets in custody.

Tilney Private Wealth Management is the investment management arm of the Tilney Group, which is committed to providing a comprehensive range of services to over 15,000 private clients and employs over 300 staff throughout the UK. It is regulated by The Financial Services Authority and is a member of the London Stock Exchange. All client executives are members of The Securities Institute and participate in a continuous programme of professional development.

Tilney Fund Management -The specialist fund management division of Tilney Investment Management provides dedicated fund management and has been managing institutional funds for over 35 years and has over 100 Pension Fund clients alone with total funds of over E239m. In addition the division manages funds on behalf of Health Authorities, hospital trusts and educational establishments, including several universities. It also offers a Liquidity Management service to institutions with large cash sums to manage.

The Tilney Group also offers a variety of collective products to the individual and institutions through Tilney Collective Management Limited. These were originally launched as Unit Trusts during 1995/1996.

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