Built on big shoulders
Northern Trust began in Chicago in 1889, founded as a trust
company for rich individuals and the businesses that were booming
in the city of Big Shoulders. While many banks and financial
services companies went bust during the Great Depression, Northern
Trust held on, and continued to grow during World War II and
afterward. In 1969, it opened shop across the Atlantic in
London, becoming the first Illinois bank to expand overseas.
In 1974, Northern Trust developed services to address new standards
set out in the Employees Retirement and Income Security Act.
Today, Northern Trust invests in 90 countries and has clients in
39 nations. It has 68 offices in the United States and nine
offices abroad. As of June 30, 2009, it had $75 billion in
banking assets, $3.2 trillion in assets under custody and $558.9
billion in assets under management. In addition, Northern
Trust has assumed the role of being the largest administrator of
offshore private equity funds in Europe and one of the world's
leading providers of institutional index management services.
Great assets, global reach
Northern Trust divides its business into four sectors.
Personal financial services (PFS) provides fiduciary, wealth
management, investment management, tax and estate planning,
brokerage, asset and fund administration, and private and
commercial banking services for high-net-worth individuals,
families and family offices. Corporate and institutional
services (C&IS) provides a wide range of asset servicing
products and services to corporate and institutional clients.
Northern Trust Global Investment (NTGI), meanwhile, provides
active, passive and enhanced products as well as
manager-of-managers programs and comprehensive portfolio
service. Lastly, worldwide operations and technology deals
with the company's information management and delivery capabilities
to cater to the global market.
In April 2008, Northern Trust surprised everyone who thought that
the recent onslaught of mortgage-related financial disasters in the
industry extended to every bank. The firm reported stellar
first-quarter results, with net income coming in $385.2 million, up
from $186.7 million in 2007's first quarter. Revenue, too,
did extremely well, coming in at $1.15 billion for 2008's first
quarter, up from $823.8 million in the first quarter of 2007.
The firm's impressive balance sheet was due in large part to its
connection as a member bank of Visa U.S.A. When Visa had its
initial public offering in March 2008, it meant good news for
Northern Trust, the firm reaped a $244 million pre-tax
benefit. CEO Frederick Waddell said that the firm's
"excellent growth in trust, investment and other servicing fees,
foreign exchange trading income, and net interest income" were
also major factors in Northern's remarkable
Northern Trust ranked No. 53 on Newsweek magazine's Green
Rankings list of 2009. According to the magazine, Northern
Trust "has a notable record of owning and operating certified green
buildings. Seeks out energy suppliers that offer renewable
energy; relies 100 [percent] on renewables for its U.K.
offices. Strong environmental management team sets
environmental targets and objectives and measures performance."