Our Group is the result of entrepreneurial and innovative family enterprise based on our values. A philosophy driven approach that gives us independence and courage to develop long-term visions and identify opportunities.
Welcome to Joseph Sassoon Group
Joseph Sassoon Group is a successor firm to Shoshan Frères & Co, established in 1512. Today we are one of the world’s oldest privately owned investment management firms with deep expertise spanning the Investment, Asset Management, Investment Banking and Corporate Finance, and Private Banking arenas.
We combine the best of investment and asset management expertise at Joseph Sassoon to provide you with high quality investment portfolio management capabilities designed to meet your needs and reflect your values. We deploy specialists in each area of advice, including portfolio construction and management as well as ESG, to provide you with the best service we can.
Accountability Is Our Guiding Principle
Not only are we one of the world’s oldest merchant banking groups, we are also one of the most dynamic investment management firms. We combine over 500 years of experience with a consistent focus on the future.
Joseph Sassoon Group is managed by personally liable partners – a principle that continues to be the cornerstone of a trusting relationship with our clients.
1512 – The Early Years
In 1512, the brothers Moses, Abraham and Yitzhak Ibn Shoshan (ancestors of today’s Sassoon family) founded their company in Constantinople after fleeing from the Spanish Inquisition in the Iberian Peninsula. The company was originally involved in the textile, precious metals trade and the import and export business.
1829 – The Merchant Bankers
Joseph Sassoon, the younger son of Salah Sassoon, treasurer of Baghdad, took over The Merchant House of Sassoon. Joseph Sassoon himself became financial advisor to Sultan Mahmud II of the Ottoman Empire. Joseph Sassoon innovatively added banking services, and renamed the firm Sassoon & Sons, restructuring the firm as a “Factoring and Acceptance House”.
By relocating its headquarters to Aleppo in 1830, Joseph Sassoon launched the dynasty of his branch of the family .
The firm enjoyed an excellent reputation beyond Constantinople, shipping and insurance complemented traditional business, thus helping the Ottoman Empire in general and Constantinople specifically becoming a major economic and trading center. In 1837 the firm opened its first permanent merchant trading and banking house in Alexandria, Egypt.
1921 – Overcoming Adversities
Nissim Eliau Sassoon was named President & Chairman of Sassoon & Sons. After merging with the banking house Cattaui Crédit Foncier the firm was restructured and renamed Sassoon & Co under a new partnership.
Nissim foresaw the challenges facing a traditional bank active in trade finance, coupled with the rise of antisemitism, which later lead to the Holocaust, he decided to withdraw the firm from active banking. Sassoon & Co survived the era of World War II as a family office.
Family archives demonstrate that his son Eliyahu (Elias) Nissim Eliau Sassoon used family resources and network in the shipping industry to break the British blockade on Jewish immigration to the Land of Israel.
Being a family owned and operated business ensures particular independence from corporate interests, minimizes corporate bureaucracy and ensures a high level of management continuity. In its 509 years of existence, Sassoon has been run by only one family with a personal stake and responsibility.
As an independent investment management, merchant bank, Sassoon remains exclusively committed to its clients. In 2022 the firm was relaunched and rebranded under our current brand: Joseph Sassoon Group in honor of the founding patriarch of this branch of the family.
1625 – A New Dawn
By 1625, Jacob Sassoon, a great-great-grandson of Abraham Sassoon was already the fourth generation to run the company. He rebranded the firm as The Merchant House of Sassoon and intensified the trade in goods far beyond the borders of Constantinople, deepening relations with Syria, Iraq, Egypt, the Arabian Gulf region and Persia in the East, Brazil and Cuba in the West, South Africa in the South and The Netherlands in the North.
The firm headed by Ruben Sassoon in 1776 began financing trade, as a result of recognizing the lack of a reliable banking system in the Middle East, in order to provide traders with the necessary financial tools to support their exports to the West.
The firm, initially began by granting loans to their customers and made advance payments on deliveries from their suppliers. Ruben Sassoon increased the assets he had built through trading by adding insurance services. He insured trading transactions between importers and exporters, therefore becoming increasingly active as a banker.
1859 – Expansion Through Innovation
Trade in cotton was growing, the increased importance of shipping and industry in Egypt was reflected in the ambitious modernization projects undertaken by Khedive Ismail Pasha, Egypt’s monarch.
Sassoon & Sons became the first investors in the construction of the Suez Canal and among the first subscribers of shares in Compagnie Universelle du Canal Maritime de Suez (The Suez Canal Company). In 1861 the firm acquired 15% of all bonds issued by the Suez Canal Company making Sassoon & Sons the largest bond holders of the Suez Canal Company.
In 1898 the firm co-founded National Bank of Egypt.
1951 – A New Newer Start
After the end of World War II, Eliyahu (Elias) Nissim Eliau Sassoon who had already joined the business as partner in 1949 was named Chairman and President of the firm. He decided once again to begin active banking with the then more than 430-year old company.
Sassoon & Co became active in many fields, industrial regeneration and the start of export trade brought a large number of old customers back and reconnected with some foreign partners of earlier years.
In 1952 Sassoon & Co cofounded Banque du Caire (Bank of Cairo) in partnership with the Cattaui family.
In 1965 the firm was relocated to the United States and continued to manage the family’s assets as a family office.