Rothschild restructure plan to firm family control

Over two centuries after his Frankfurt-based ancestor Mayer Amschel Rothschild sent his sons to Paris, London, Naples and Vienna to create what became known as ''the world's banker'', Baron David de Rothschild is about to take the final step to seal the reunification of his sprawling family dynasty.

During the 1800s, when it was at its height, the familyis said to have possessed the largest private fortune in the world. Today, Rothschild businesses are on smaller scale than they were throughout the 19th century, although they encompass a diverse range of fields, including: private asset management, financial advice, mixed farming, wine, and charities

The 69-year-old chairman of the Rothschild group's move would bring its French and UK assets under the roof of Paris Orléans, a French listed entity with its roots in a 19th-century railway company.

The move would culminate a process that started a decade ago of integrating the French banking operations with NM Rothschild, the UK-based investment bank which gained fame in 1815 when Amschel's son Nathan Meyer Rothschild made a fortune buying British government bonds in anticipation of Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo.

In the 19th century, the House of Rothschild prospered as a loose European partnership that financed states, companies and armies throughout the continent, but de Rothschild's reorganisation underlines the fact that in today's world, a banking group cannot afford to operate as a network of loosely connected regional fiefs, according to analsyts.

The reorganisation is aimed at finally cementing the family's grip on the business, and with it the dominant position of the two French family branches of David and Eric de Rothschild.