Case | HBS Case Collection | October 2010 (Revised March 2012)

Bessemer Trust: Guardians of Capital

by Tom Nicholas and David Chen

Abstract

Henry Phipps, Jr. made his fortune in the steel industry alongside one of America's most celebrated entrepreneurs—Andrew Carnegie. His wealth was administered in the form of trusts, which he hoped would provide a stream of income for his family and their descendants into the future. Phipps had a clear vision for the intergenerational disposition of his assets, which required both an efficient organizational structure for the wealth to be administered and leadership on the part of family members to keep his original vision intact. Despite undergoing several significant legal and leadership changes, the trusts survived relatively intact and continued to achieve their express goal of preserving the capital Phipps created and providing income for Phipps family members.

Keywords: Wealth; Asset Management; Family Business; Business History; Income Characteristics; Entrepreneurship; Capital; United States;

Citation:

Nicholas, Tom, and David Chen. "Bessemer Trust: Guardians of Capital." Harvard Business School Case 811-031, October 2010. (Revised March 2012.)