Robert Fleming

1845 - 1933

Investment banker. Born in Lochee (Dundee), Fleming was the son of an overseer in a jute mill. He looked to America to invest the huge profits from the Dundee jute industry. He realised the opportunities relating to the great expansion of the USA to the West and in particular he invested in under-valued railway companies. He founded Robert Fleming & Co. and the Scottish American Investment Trust (1873). He was one of the most noted financiers of the economic reconstruction after the American Civil War. By the time of his death, he had built the largest investment trust company in the City of London. Robert Fleming & Co. remained an independent international investment and merchant bank, with several subsidiaries, until it was sold to J.P. Morgan Chase in 2000.

Fleming gave £155,000 to build the streets around Fleming Gardens in Dundee and gave generously to many other local causes. He was made a Freeman of the City of Dundee and was granted an honorary degree by the University of St. Andrews in recognition of his philanthropy and in particular his gifts to University College (which later became the University of Dundee). He died on his Black Mount estate in Argyll and Bute. His fame is somewhat overshadowed by that of his grandson, Ian Fleming, the novelist and creator of James Bond.

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