Dominick & Dickerman LLC was founded in 1870 and is one of the oldest, continuously operating financial services institutions in the United States. We are an historic name on Wall Street and one of the earliest members of the New York Stock Exchange (Seat No. 3). Our history is the history of America and our values of hard work and clear focus are the values upon which America was built.
The formation of Dominick & Dickerman in 1870, reflected the enormous possibilities of a country engaged in post-Civil War reconstruction. The vast areas west of the Mississippi River were largely wilderness. It was the era of the railroad and the dawn of “Empire Builders”. William Gayer Dominick and Watson Bradley Dickerman met on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange and formed the partnership of Dominick & Dickerman.
The transcontinental railroad opened the West. The Union Pacific pushed across the continent and by 1871 more than 7,300 miles of railroad track had been laid. For Dominick & Dickerman, these were years of consistent growth as well. Twice in four years the firm moved to larger offices, firstto 34 Broad Street then to 64 Exchange Place, and again, in 1876, to 19 New Street and, finally, to 64 Broadway. In May 1873 Bayard Dominick, brother of William Gayer Dominick, became a member of the New York Stock Exchange and four years later was promoted to partner of the Firm.
The country recovered rapidly from the depression of 1873 and the next few years saw the return of more prosperous times. By 1878, the gold-premium had practically disappeared and the credit structure of the country was again sound.
The 1880's & 1890's
Introduction of the telephone into the Stock Exchange facilitated business. Orders from brokers could be transmitted to the floor of the Exchange and report of executions could be received instantly. Brokers and their clients, however, considered use of the telephone as undignified and unsafe to transact business, and so business continued to be conducted in person, walking to and from the exchange on each trade, well into the 1880’s. At this time, most of the securities listed on the New York Stock Exchange were railroad-related. Issuers of industrial securities were reluctant to make their earnings reports public as was then required by the Exchange. Non-railroad securities were not traded on the Exchange until 1885, and then only by the department devoted to unlisted stocks.
In 1881, Dominick & Dickerman again moved their offices, this time to the corner of Wall Street and Broadway. In December of the same year, William Gayer Dominick transferred his membership on the Stock Exchange to George Francis Dominick. In 1899, Watson Dickerman withdrew from the Firm, and the name of Dominick & Dickerman was changed to Dominick & Dominick, a name it would carry for the next 116 years. Mr. Dickerman was a member of the firm for twenty-nine years and during that time served as President of the New York Stock Exchange and as a member of its Governing Board.
The turn of the twentieth century saw the inception of America’s great industrial corporations including American Car & Foundry Company, General Electric Company, American Locomotive Company, National Biscuit Company (Nabisco), American Sugar Refining Company (Domino Sugar), American Tobacco Company, Inc., International Paper Company, and United States Steel Corporation among others.
The new century marked new production methods and the development of the internal combustion engine, which revolutionized a number of industrial sectors. In anticipation of economic shifts, Dominick entered the investment banking business, participating in the initial public offerings (IPOs) of many notable companies including General Motors, Johnson & Johnson, and Phillips Petroleum, to mention a few.
World War I
The outbreak of World War I forced the New York Stock Exchange to close for nearly four months. The longest period in its history. Bayard Dominick Jr was a member of the Board of Governors and of the Clearing House Committee of the Exchange at the time. On November 28, 1914, the Exchange reopened for limited dealings in bonds only, since pending sales orders far outnumbered buy orders. Trading in stocks was renewed on December 12, subject to minimum price restrictions. Upon open, the market suffered its worst percentage drop ever, nearly 25 percent. On April 1, 1915, all restrictions were removed and the New York Stock Exchange once again functioned normally and without restraint.
Investment institutions did not generally offer preferred or common securities until the mid-1920’s, confining themselves to bonds and railroad stocks. In 1919, Dominick headed a syndicate through which $50,000,000 of General Motors 6 per cent debenture stock was offered at $90 per share, the largest piece of industrial preferred stock financing ever arranged.
Dominick also formed a closed-end fund, the Dominick Fund, by selling 200,000 shares worth $10 million to the public. The fund was eventually listed on the NYSE in 1959, and subsequently merged into the Putnam Fund in 1973.
The Stock Clearing Corporation was formed in 1920 as a successor to the Stock Clearing House, organized in 1892. Bayard Dominick, Jr. served on the Board of Governors of this new Corporation.
The Better Business Bureau of New York was organized on June 6, 1922. Bayard Dominick Jr. was installed as its first president. The Bureau continues its valuable work in cooperating with the District Attorney’s office to suppress fraudulent financial practices.
In 1926 and 1927, respectively, Bayard Dominick Jr. and Gayer G. Dominick sold their seats on the Stock Exchange. On January 1, 1926, Andrew Varick Stout retired as senior partner and Gayer G. Dominick assumed the position.
Dominick weathered the market crash of 1929 and the subsequent Great Depression, and again rode the wave of a recovering Nation to greater successes.
The 1930s & 1940s
In 1936, Dominick acquired A. Iselin & Company, a Swiss investment bank operating in Canada and Europe. The acquisition of Iselin instantaneously made Dominick an international banking house. Dominick would eventually create and operate branches in every major European city.
World War II
Starting in 1939, a number of employees and senior partners left Dominick to join the war effort in Europe. The drain was so severe that Gayer Dominick, who had been the firm's Senior Partner from 1926 to 1938, had to leave retirement to manage Dominick through the war years. Following the end of the war, the US economy was poised for yet another expansion, and so was Dominick. Dominick underwrote the stock issues of Alexander Smith Carpet Company, Great Plains Oil (Canada), and Arvida Corpoation Montreal.
The 1950s & 1960s
Dominick developed an advanced clearing and settlement system, all of which was previously performed by hand . In the 1950’s, Dominick started to automate its clearing and settlement services, keeping four persons busy in Dominick’s vault 24 hours per day.
Dominick incorporated in 1964, after almost a century as a partnership. By incorporating, the company was better able to preserve capital and to limit individual risk. In 1966, Dominick acquired Townsend, Dabney, Tyson which had a headquarters in Boston and 15 offices throughout New England. By 1969, Dominick opened 30 additional branch offices throughout the country, and continued to grow its retail and underwriting businesses. The Firm underwrote a number of well-known securities including Flying Tiger Aircraft, McCulloch Oil's petroleum and real estate operations, MGM movie and casino activities, and Lomas & Nettleton. The Firm also pioneered certain transaction structures such as the use of equipment trusts and leveraged buy-outs.
By the beginning of the 1970’s, Dominick had successfully built itself into an internationally known, full service broker-dealer. Like many other Wall Street firms, however, a growing regulatory environment and the economic effects of the worst bear market since the Great Depression suggested downsizing which the Firm effected to maintain its long term viability.
The 1980s, 1990s & 2000s
Dominick emerged intact from the 1970’s. The Firm cleared for more than 100 NASD firms and maintained a number of business lines including investment banking, private wealth management, and research. In reaction to market trends and exploding regulatory requirements, however, Dominick decided to focus on private wealth management (retail) and investment banking only, divesting its other business lines.
In 2014, Dominick exited retail brokerage to focus on investment and merchant banking globally. As part of this strategy, we expanded our investment banking team in order to provide coverage for our clients into South and Central America and to increase our capabilities in North America, Europe and Asia. Our bankers are native to or have lived and worked in the countries we serve. In addition to English, we conduct our business in a number of languages including Spanish, Portuguese, Mandarin, Taiwanese and Malay. We continue to grow our firm by hiring experienced professionals with advanced skills and long-standing relationships in the markets they serve and by engaging clients for whom we can provide meaningful services and advice.
In 2015, we reverted to our original name, “Dominick & Dickerman,” in honor and continuation of our heritage and the principles upon which our founders based this company.