About the Archive
The Baring Archive is one of the finest archives of a financial institution anywhere in the world. This website provides an introduction to the organisation and content of the Archive and will enable casual enquirers, historians and researchers to begin to see and understand the wealth of material that is held in the Archive.
The Baring Archive is owned by ING, which acquired Barings in 1995. In 2008 The Baring Archive, together with the associated historical portraits, was loaned to The Baring Archive Limited, a charitable company established by ING to manage the collections and encourage their use as an educational resource.
The Baring Archive contains material from the establishment in 1762 of the London merchant house of John & Francis Baring & Co, later known as Baring Brothers, through to the firm’s acquisition by ING.
The documents illustrate the range of Barings’ business activities. For much of the nineteenth century, the firm specialised in issuing bearer bonds for overseas governments and businesses, especially railway companies. Towards the end of the nineteenth century, work for domestic companies commenced, beginning with the flotation of Arthur Guinness Sons & Co Ltd in 1886.
In the twentieth century, when the London capital market was closed for long periods to overseas borrowers between the wars, transactions for British businesses became much more important. After 1945 corporate finance work for British businesses, banking, and fund management for pension funds, institutions and individuals formed the firm’s three principal divisions. From the late-1970s and the abolition of exchange controls, the firm’s business once more became internationally spread.