The ink dried over 100 years ago. But the mission endures. — On June 16, 1911, our founder, Henry Phipps, wrote a note to each of his five children expressing his wish to pass the family business on to them. In it, he gave specific direction about the management of the family business and its core principles of private ownership and reinvestment of earnings. This note is the cornerstone upon which Bessemer Trust was built and guides us to this day. To learn more, call our President and CEO, John Hilton, at 212-708-9199.
I have today transferred to your name two million dollars $2,000,000 in bonds and two million dollars in stock, $2,000,000 of the Bessemer Investment Company which I wish you to regard as a trust from me for the benefit of yourself and your children after you. It is my desire that neither the stock nor the bonds of the Company shall pass out of my family and that you will agree among yourselves that the others shall have an opportunity to buy at a fair price the stock and bonds of any one before a different disposition can be made. I hope that the management of the affairs of the Company shall meet with approval of each one but should a difference of opinion arise I desire that the judgment of a majority of you shall be controlling on all questions of policy. I advise that you approve action by the Board of Directors of the Company in reserving all net profits as additions to surplus account and in declaring no dividend on the stock for at least ten (10) years. I urge upon you to live within your income and not to be a borrower on your own account or through the Company.
Realizing that changed conditions may arise which will require freedom in action to meet them I have not fixed rigid limitations as to possession and control of this property but have indicated my earnest desire that a prudent and conservative management of the Company shall be maintained and enforced and that each of you shall put proper restrictions upon your expenditures and lay aside a reasonable proportion of your income.
I have full confidence that this advice will be respected and followed by all of my children.