The Princes of Liechtenstein have always been forward-looking. They have continuously improved their companies and operating processes, and have been both pioneering in developing new areas of business and committed to the general good.
The nucleus of the Princely Collections
In 1599, Prince Karl I of Liechtenstein (1569-1627) was appointed Chief Intendant ("Obersthofmeister") by Emperor Rudolf II (1552-1612). In this leading position at court, which brought with it the presidency of the Privy Council, he also came into close contact with Prague’s court artists. His Guardaroba - the name of the rooms in which his most precious objects were kept - contained not only paintings but also carpets, priceless furniture, objects in silver and gold and vessels carved out of semiprecious stones. It is the Guardaroba of Karl I, who also commissioned important works of art such as the life-sized bronze "Christ in Distress" (1607 by Adrian de Fries), which forms the nucleus of the Princely Collections.
The earliest account books belonging to Prince Karl I of Liechtenstein date from about 1600. It is likely that the basic principles governing all aspects of the management of the Liechtenstein estates were also laid down at that time. The Liechtenstein Princely “Instructions” were intended to set standards that would prevent any uncertainty or irregularity. These instructions set out how the estates were to be managed, and described the duties of the Prince’s employees, down to the smallest detail.
Monuments for immortality
Prince Karl Eusebius I of Liechtenstein (1611-1684) - like his father, Karl I - appreciated the arts. He pursued his passion for collecting from his home at Valtice Castle, now a World Heritage Site, and was the first Prince of the House of Liechtenstein to employ architects, stonemasons, stucco plasterers and painters on a grand scale. He regularly used art dealers to acquire paintings and sculptures. Thanks to his skill in business, he was able to be true to his belief that money was only there to enable him to "leave behind beautiful monuments as an eternal and immortal memorial:" the main aim of Karl Eusebius was to restructure the Princely estates and finances, which had been hard hit by the Thirty Years’ War. The numerous paintings of horses also reflect his great interest in breeding horses.
Foundation of a hospital for the poor
In the early modern era, religious conviction and practices were, for the nobility, an expression of their own devoutness and part of their noble self-image. They tried to secure the salvation of their souls by setting up virtuous and charitable foundations, as shown in a letter from Prince Karl Eusebius I of Liechtenstein (1611-1684) to his son Prince Johann Adam Andreas I of Liechtenstein (1657-1712) in 1681: nothing could be more desirable than to have "capital even in eternity, which is acquired by the building of churches, monasteries and hospitals; this multiplies the good deeds and assures a reward in the hereafter." In 1655, Karl Eusebius I founded a hospital for the poor in Litovel in Moravia.
Just outside the gates of Vienna, Prince Johann Adam Andreas I of Liechtenstein founded the model settlement of Lichtental. The Liechtenstein Princely brewery established there in 1694 was intended to provide its economic foundations. The dark, Bavarian-style beer that was brewed in Lichtental soon began to compete successfully with the lighter wheat or "Kaiser" beer that was more common in Vienna. By the beginning of the 19th century, the Liechtenstein brewery was the third biggest brewery in Vienna. After it ceased operations in 1878, the vacant buildings were leased at a profit.
Reorganisation of the imperial asset management
More than once, Prince Johann Adam Andreas I had to provide credit for the imperial house, which was chronically short of money. In 1698, he was put in charge of reorganising the management of the imperial assets, with instructions to bring the chaotic imperial finances into order according to the Liechtenstein example. From 1703 until 1705, Johann Adam Andreas I was also the first President of the "Banco del Giro," which was established after the bankruptcy of the banking house belonging to the court banker Samuel Oppenheimer.
Baroque complete works of art
When he bought a plot of building land not far from the Emperor’s Hofburg palace, Johann Adam Andreas I (1657-1712) also acquired the half-built City Palace in the street now called Bankgasse. The Prince employed numerous artists to turn both the City Palace and the Garden Palace in the Rossau district, which had been begun a few years previously, into Baroque "complete works of art." Nowadays, the Garden Palace and the recently renovated City Palace give a unique and authentic insight into the princely way of life and into a 400-year old tradition of collecting.
Books on art and architecture
In about 1675, Prince Karl Eusebius I (1611-1684) wrote a treatise on architectural theory which is now an important source of information about the architectural ideas of noble landowners in the 17th century. He and his successors greatly extended the family’s private library. In his will, the library was one of the elements that Prince Johann Adam Andreas I (1657-1712) identified as a permanent constituent of the assets that should always remain in the family’s ownership. Numerous acquisitions made by his successor Prince Joseph Wenzel I of Liechtenstein (1696-1772) made the Princely Library into the second largest private book collection in Vienna, after the Emperor’s, in the years around 1800. In addition to focusing on art, architecture and military science, it also encompassed many other areas of knowledge.
Founding of schools
One of the leading benefactors in the history of the Princely House was Maria Theresia of Liechtenstein (1694-1772). Numerous receipts that have been preserved show that she gave considerable sums to churches, monasteries and local communities. The foundations she set up were dedicated not only to piety but also to charitable work, education and teaching. On January 16, 1762, she founded three schools in the villages of Kounice, Mochov and Vysehorovice in what is now the Czech Republic. Maria Theresia thought that for many children the nearest school was too far away, so "in the interests of promoting their salvation and, secondly, educating her young subjects, she was entirely resolved" to establish more schools and employ teachers so that children "could be educated entirely free of charge."
The Savoy Foundation for Noble Ladies, a home for impoverished unmarried gentlewomen
The most well-known foundation set up by Maria Theresia of Savoy-Carignano, née Liechtenstein, is undoubtedly the Savoy Foundation for Noble Ladies. In her will in 1772 she bequeathed this building to be the location of a home for secular noblewomen, under the auspices of the Princely House of Liechtenstein’s financial administration. It was intended to accommodate 20 abandoned ladies, half coming from the Austrian and half from the Bohemian aristocracy and having assets of less than 4000 guilders. It was not a religious foundation. The women who were taken in were free to move around, travel and even marry. These provisions are still in place today, even though there are no longer any noblewomen living in the palace. The Austrian politician and National Councilor Dr. Hertha Firnberg spent the last years of her life at the Savoy Foundation for Noble Ladies.
Foundation of the Princely "Harmoniemusik" group
At the end of the 18th century in Vienna, many a princely house had its own orchestra. In a letter to his father, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart speculated about getting a post as "Kapellmeister" (musical director) with Prince Alois I (1759-1805). However, when the latter founded his own "Harmoniemusik" group in 1789, he appointed Joseph Triebensee to be the “princely director of chamber and theater music.” Triebensee, who was probably the best oboist of his day, formed an ensemble that assured the House of Lichtenstein a leading role in the Viennese music scene of that time. Today, the archive of the Princely "Harmoniemusik" (18th century chamber music for wind instruments) is the biggest ever collection dedicated entirely to "Harmoniemusik" and it gives a unique insight into music production in Vienna in about 1800.
Nursery for exotic trees
From the 1790s onwards, larger and larger sums appear in the account books in the family archive for the purchase of exotic seeds and seedlings which Prince Alois I of Liechtenstein (1759-1805) had sent from overseas and then cultivated in his gardens in Lednice and the Rossau. Prince Alois I was one of the greatest modernisers among the imperial landowners. In 1798, he established a nursery for exotic trees in Lednice. In 1802, the Prince sent his gardener Joseph van der Schot on a four-year journey to America, from where he sent regular reports and plant specimens. Alois I particularly promoted the cultivation of American corn, dye plants and industrial crops, and vines from the Rhine and southern Europe.
Vienna’s first art gallery
During the 18th century, most of the paintings belonging to Liechtenstein’s Princely Family were to be found in the galleries on the second floor of the City Palace in Vienna. There were also many works of art at the estates in Bohemia and Moravia. At the beginning of the 19th century, Prince Johann I of Liechtenstein (1760-1836) decided to transfer most of his extensive art collection into the Garden Palace in the Rossau district. There, from 1810, they were made accessible to the general public for the first time. In order to display about 800 of his paintings in this, Vienna’s first art gallery, Johann I had the Garden Palace extensively altered.
The monarchy’s first farming school
Prince Alois II of Liechtenstein (1796-1858) continued the modernisation work of his two predecessors Alois I and Johann I on the Liechtenstein estates. He established the monarchy’s first farming school on his land and the years when he was involved with Vienna’s Agricultural Society, of which he was President from 1849 to 1858, saw some important innovations and reforms. The over 100-meter-long glasshouse for tropical plants that he had built in 1846 was one of the first iron and glass structures of its kind in Europe.
Altogether, the Prince was a member of 74 humanitarian, scientific and industrial associations, and every year he donated significant sums for charitable purposes.
Successful factory owners
In addition to their agricultural and forestry businesses, during the 19th century Liechtenstein’s Princely Family also owned several factories. As well as the sugar factories in Ceský Brod, founded 1892, and Pecek, founded 1897, and the machine factory in Adamov u Brna, the Liechtenstein brick and ceramics factory in Postorna is especially worth a mention. The around 700 employees who worked here in about 1900 produced paving and mosaic flagstones, stoneware pipes and all kinds of bricks and tiles. The brightly colored glazed roof tiles that were made here became very popular exports. The factory became famous for supplying roof tiles in no fewer than ten colors for St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna.
Secondary school of horticulture and fruit growing in Lednice
It was because of Prince Johann II’s special interest in horticulture that a secondary school for horticulture and fruit growing was established in Lednice in 1895. The Mendeleum Institute that was also opened in Lednice, in 1913, was financed by Prince Johann II and soon became a center for the cultivation of ornamental and food crops of all kinds in accordance with Mendel’s theories of genetics.
Social and humanitarian work
"If I cannot do good, then nothing gives me any pleasure," declared Prince Johann II of Liechtenstein, who acquired the nickname “the Good” because of his notable commitment to social and humanitarian work. As well as introducing advanced welfare benefits for his own employees, Johann also donated significant sums to numerous private individuals, welfare institutions and other charitable and non-commercial organisations. In the year 1900 he donated 10 000 guilders for the construction of a new almshouse in Mödling, and in 1908 he built a women’s hospital in Valtice. This was in addition to providing considerable subsidies to support existing social welfare institutions. Johann II also supported the Pharmacological Institute of the University of Vienna and the Academy of Sciences as well as numerous museums in Vienna, Bohemia and Moravia by giving generous financial contributions and donations. As a patron of scientific endeavor, he also funded some well-known publications on history and art history.
Foundation of the Bank in Liechtenstein
Following an inaugural General Meeting on November 22, 1920, Bank in Liechtenstein opened for business in May 1921 with ten employees. It came into being at a difficult time for business, just after the First World War and Liechtenstein’s conversion to the Swiss franc for its national currency. "We are particularly pleased that we have been able to make our services available to the country in procuring a national loan of 1 million Swiss francs, without committing our own resources," says the first annual report to the General Meeting.
LILA SgAV 01 N 014/108 Bank in Liechtenstein at the government building, exterior photo with employees, ca. 1920, photo: Landesarchiv/Walter Wachter, Schaan
Princely House of Liechtenstein becomes the majority shareholder.
Establishment of the Prince of Liechtenstein Foundation
The Princely House uses private family foundations under Liechtenstein law on account of their advantages for corporate governance and organisation. When the Prince of Liechtenstein Foundation was established, the equity capital of Bank in Liechtenstein was also transferred into it.
Bank in Liechtenstein goes public
A representative office is opened in Hong Kong
LGT opens its first base in the Far East. It will remain loyal to the region even in the difficult period during the Asian financial crisis at the end of the 1990s.
H.S.H. Prince Philipp von und zu Liechtenstein becomes Chairman of the Foundation Board
H.S.H. Prince Philipp von und zu Liechtenstein started his career with the London-based Hambros Bank & Trust Limited, before moving to Banque Rothschild in Paris which specialises in asset management. From 1979 to 1981, he was Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Liechtensteinische Landesbank in Vaduz. From 1981, H.S.H. Prince Philipp served as a member and then Chairman of the Board of Directors of LGT Bank in Liechtenstein, Liechtenstein Global Trust and LGT Capital Management. Since 1990, he has been Chairman of LGT.
Realignment of LGT: going private
Launching of the Princely Strategy
In 1998, LGT had the idea of creating a portfolio similar to the endowment funds that support US universities - globally invested, broadly diversified with a large proportion of alternative investments, and having a very long investment horizon. A large part of the assets of the Princely Family are invested according to the Princely Strategy, which combines traditional and alternative investments in innovative ways. The Princely Strategy gives LGT clients the opportunity to invest using the same strategy as the Princely House of Liechtenstein.
LGT takes over STG Schweizerische Treuhandgesellschaft.
Opening of LGT Bank Deutschland & Co. OHG
Opening of a bank in Singapore
Launch of LGT Bank (Switzerland) Ltd.
H.S.H. Prince Max von und zu Liechtenstein becomes CEO of LGT
H.S.H. Prince Max von und zu Liechtenstein began his professional career as an investment analyst and an associate with J.P. Morgan Partners in New York. After five years in the USA he returned to Europe in 1998 to work for the private equity group Industri Kapital (now called IK Investment Partners). In the year 2000 he returned to work for J.P. Morgan Partners, initially as Director in London and from 2003 as Head of the German office.
H.S.H. Prince Max von und zu Liechtenstein has an MBA from Harvard Business School and a degree in Business Economics from the European Business School.
Establishment of LGT Venture Philanthropy
LGT Venture Philanthropy supports social organisations that offer effective solutions to social or ecological problems and it also helps people to engage successfully in philanthropic endeavors themselves.
Opening of LGT Bank Österreich
LGT exits from its trust and fiduciary business.
Acquisition of Dresdner Bank (Switzerland) Ltd.
LGT sells LGT Bank Deutschland & Co. OHG
25 years of LGT in Asia
Banking license in Hong Kong
Opening of the "House of Philanthropy Solutions" in Zurich
The "House of Philanthropy Solutions" that has been set up by LGT Venture Philanthropy shows how the social organisations supported by the Princely Family and LGT are improving the quality of life for disadvantaged people.
Opening of a branch in Salzburg
Opening of LGT (Middle East) Ltd. in Dubai
Ten years of LGT in Singapore
Reopening of the City Palace
Following extensive renovation work, the City Palace, considered to be the first major building of the High Baroque age in Vienna, has now been restored to its former glory. Its Baroque stucco ceilings blend with opulent Rococo Revival interiors, original furnishings and exquisite parquet flooring by Michael Thonet to form a harmonious whole, revealing insights into the aristocratic life of bygone epochs. The City Palace is the official headquarters of LGT Bank Österreich and houses the archive of the Princely Collections.
Merger between LGT Capital Partners Ltd. and LGT Capital Management Ltd.
Acquisition of a private banking portfolio from HSBC Private Bank Suisse
Archive of the Princely "Harmoniemusik" collection
Since October 2015, the entire archive of the Princely “Harmoniemusik” collection has been available in a 30-volume first edition. In its entirety, it gives a unique overview of music production in Vienna in the years around 1800, especially in relation to opera and ballet. The archive, which has been edited by conductor and cultural manager Heinz Prammer, in its entirety gives a unique overview of music production in Vienna in the years around 1800, especially in relation to opera and ballet. It is the biggest ever collection dedicated entirely to "Harmoniemusik" (18th century chamber music for wind instruments). Nowhere else in the world is there a similar edited collection that can be accessed by the general public.
Some pieces have been recorded on CD by the Harmonia Antiqua ensemble.
LGT acquires majority stake in London-based wealth management partnership Vestra Wealth.
Acquisition private banking operations ABN AMRO Asia and Middle East
Acquisition European Capital Fund Management Ltd. (European Capital) by LGT Capital Partners
Opening of LGT Securities Thailand
Acquisition of majority stake in Indian wealth manager Validus Wealth
LGT acquires leading Indian impact investor Aspada
100 years of LGT
When LGT began operations in 1921, it started with ten people. Today, more than 3,700 employees around the globe work for the bank owned by the Princes of Liechtenstein. Over the past 100 years, the financial institution that was once planned as a national bank has developed into the largest private banking and asset management group that is wholly owned and managed by a family of entrepreneurs.