First Republic Bank is an American bank and wealth management company offering personal banking, business banking, trust and wealth management services. The bank specializes in delivering personalized relationship-based service through preferred banking or trust offices on the United States East and West Coasts, including San Francisco, Palo Alto, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Newport Beach, San Diego, Portland, Palm Beach, Boston, Greenwich and New York City.
First Republic offers wealth management services through First Republic Wealth Advisors and First Republic Investment Management. Brokerage services are provided through First Republic Securities Company LLC and Trust services are provided through First Republic Trust Company.
Started as a "tiny thrift" company, The company was founded in 1985. Since its founding it has undergone a series of ownership changes since 2007, beginning with its announced purchase by Merrill Lynch on January 29, 2007 for $1.8 billion to augment their private client business. The company was to be operated as a separate business of Merrill Lynch. The Merrill transaction was finalized on September 21, of 2007. Robert J. McCann, president of Merrill's Global Wealth Management group stated their purpose was to accelerate their strategy of "growing our high net worth, private banking business" Over the same weekend that Lehman Brothers Holdings filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, on September 15, 2008, Merrill Lynch and its subsidiaries were acquired by Bank of America.
In October 2009, the First Republic once more changed ownership, with the announced purchase by two private equity firms, Colony Capital and General Atlantic of just under 50%, and a group of other investors that includes the chairman, James Herbert and the former COO Katherine August-deWilde. The price was valued at about $1 billion. Both equity firms have had prior relationships with First Republic Bank as Thomas J. Barrack, Jr., the head of Colony, had been a board member prior to the Merrill Lynch deal and General Atlantic had been an early investor in the firm putting up about $5 million in 1987. The deal was consummated on July 1, 2010. The London-based AltAssets news service reported that an additional $800 million was provided by the new investment consortium to meet new capital requirements established by U.S. regulators.
In the years leading up to 2016, the bank's private wealth management unit acquired advisory team such as Constellation Wealth Partners. By April 2016, American Banker says the company had $62.1 billion in assets. With clients such as Mark Zuckerberg, also by then First Republic had opened branches at the Facebook and Twitter Inc. headquarters in Silicon Valley. Barron's in September 2016 decided to list First Republic Bank at 21 on its list of America's Top 40 Wealth Management Firms. By December 2016, First Republic Bank had $68 billion in assets.
In December 2016, the bank acquired Gradifi, a startup in Boston, for an unknown cash amount. Two years old, Gradifi worked with companies to help their employees pay off student debt, and First Republic had become a client in August 2016. Becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of First Republic, Gradifi continued to operate in Boston under its own name with the same chief executive and an increase in employee count. Gradifi retained its customer base including PricewaterhouseCoopers, Natixis Global Asset Management and Penguin Random House.
There are currently 68 office locations of First Republic, all of which are in the United States.