Edward Baring, 1st Lord Revelstoke
Edward Baring was a grandson of the firm's founder Sir Francis Baring. He was the fifth son of Henry Baring, but the first by Henry's second marriage. In 1861 Edward Baring married Louisa Bulteel. They had seven sons, two of whom later became partners of Barings, and three daughters.
Edward Baring was admitted as a partner of the firm in 1856, despite the misgivings of Joshua Bates, one of the senior partners at the time, who doubted his business judgment. After the death of Thomas Baring in 1873 the firm was controlled by Edward Baring and Russell Sturgis. Following Sturgis's retirement in 1882, Edward Baring became the senior partner.
For many years he was admired and respected throughout the City. From 1879 to 1891 he was director of the Bank of England and he was also chairman of Lloyds from 1887 to 1892. He purchased Membland, a country estate on the Devon coast and had a London house in Charles Street, Mayfair. In 1885 he was raised to the peerage and took the title Baron Revelstoke.
However, under his leadership in the 1880s Barings began to take more risks in some aspects of its work. The firm underwrote increasingly large proportions of the stock it issued and as a result sometimes found itself taking large amounts of stock for its own account. Towards the end of the 1880s Barings became increasingly active in the issuing of Argentinean stock, despite the country’s economic circumstances.
It was impossible for Barings to sell the large quantities of Argentinean stocks on its books and by the end of 1890 the firm was in the grip of a liquidity crisis. It was forced to turn to the Bank of England for assistance and a loan was arranged. A new company, Baring Brothers & Co Limited, was formed to take over Barings’ business.
Edward Baring was seen as being primarily responsible for the firm’s problems and he did not play a role in the newly-formed Baring Brothers & Co Limited. Meanwhile his houses, furniture and pictures were sold as the partners were personally liable for the firm’s debts.