Dreyfus Banquiers dates back to the founding of a trading house by Isaac Dreyfus-Bernheim in 1813. For commerce in goods and the forwarding service, he worked with credit extended on bills, credit services and the trade in debt instruments. The real estate lending business in Alsace (France) became a second pillar of the bank. His sons, Leopold, Samuel and Jacques, continued the real estate business and the associated mortgage lending. Following the example of the merchants and industrial entrepreneurs in Basel, in 1853 they went on to invest in setting up their own silk ribbon factory.

The foundation of the private bank as we know it today was laid in 1868. The two older brothers, Leopold and Samuel, returned to the core business. Jacques, Isaac Dreyfus-Bernheim’s youngest son, founded a sister company in Frankfurt, which remained a successful bank in Germany until 1938.

Thereafter the family played an increasingly important role on the Swiss securities and issuing market. After 1890, they also became active in the credit and company foundation business and on the capital market for the electricity industry.

The firm developed successively into a private bank and subsequently played a key role in founding the companies that were to be the predecessors of UBS and Novartis. In 1942 the previous limited partnership was transformed into a joint-stock company.