Over the generations, the Zurich-based private bankers from the Rahn, Bodmer and Bidermann families have constantly had to adapt to economic realities. But they have always remained true to their values. The families weathered crises in previous centuries secure in the knowledge that future generations would also need to be prepared for unexpected events.

Limmatquai in Zurich and the «Zum gewundenen Schwert» building (1750)

Rahn+Bodmer Co. in the 18th century

In 1750, Zurich merchants Caspar and Hans Conrad Schulthess set up a silk trading business in the «Zum gewundenen Schwert» building on the Limmatquai. Hans Conrad Schulthess had learned about securities and currency trading in Lombardy in addition to the silk business. So the Schulthess brothers also traded securities through their company. These activities laid the foundations for the private bank now known as Rahn+Bodmer Co. Although wholesale silk trading accounted for the bulk of earnings, the banking business continued to grow. In 1855, the company stopped selling goods altogether.

Hans Conrad Schulthess, 1714-1791

Rahn+Bodmer Co. in the 19th century

The company is first listed under «Bankers» in the 1805 official directory. In 1817, the oldest son Hans Conrad and his brother Heinrich took over their father's business, which operated under the name «Caspar Schulthess Erben». Heinrich Schulthess took over at the helm from 1849. He was involved in the creation of the «Bank in Zurich» and was a founding member of the committee of the first banking company in Switzerland. He was also the last member of the Schulthess family to be involved in the business. New names appeared in the list of the bank’s partners: Hans Conrad Escher, who was succeeded by his son of the same name, and Heinrich Mousson. The company quickly outgrew the premises at Hirschengraben and moved its offices to the «Bank in Zurich» building on Bahnhofstrasse. The bank stayed there until 1895. Following the introduction of the new Swiss Code of Obligations and a change in partners, the bank’s name was changed to «Escher & Rahn» in 1893.

Rahn+Bodmer Co. in the 20th century

The current partner families were first represented by Louis Rahn in 1882 and Max Ernst Bodmer in 1917. In 1917, the private bank was renamed «Rahn & Bodmer». The bank is domiciled at the current address since 1932. Louis Rahn was succeeded by Victor Conrad Rahn, who served as a partner at the bank for 46 years. Other important events include being licensed to trade on the stock exchange in 1923 and the creation of the Swiss Private Bankers Association in 1934. Max Ernst Bodmer, who was both a qualified banker and lawyer, helped to draft the articles of association and was the Association’s first chairman. Victor Conrad Rahn’s son, Hans-Rudolf Rahn, served as a partner between 1951 and 1990. Frank P. Bodmer, the son of Max Ernst Bodmer, was a partner from 1964 to 1997. In 1951, the partners took on the first member of the Bidermann family as a partner – Richard M. Bidermann. In 1961, Richard M. Bidermann became the second Rahn & Bodmer partner to serve as president of the Swiss Private Bankers Association. Hans J. Bidermann took over from his father in 1964 and remained a partner until 2000.

Rahn+Bodmer Co. in the 21st century

The last major generational handover took place at the turn of the century. Today the bank is under the management of Peter R. Rahn, Martin H. Bidermann, Christian Rahn, André M. Bodmer and Christian R. Bidermann. The employees of Rahn+Bodmer Co. are dedicated to Zurich's oldest private bank and to providing comprehensive and targeted client support.
Rahn+Bodmer Co. is part of an exclusive group of non-listed, owner-managed Swiss private banks in which the partners have unlimited liability.


  • 1336

    The guilds begin to shape economic, political and social life in Zurich for several hundred years up until the French Revolution

  • 1351

    Zurich joins the Swiss Confederation

  • 1587

    The Werdmüller brothers apply to Zurich city council for permission to set up business as silk merchants

  • 1721

    Johann Jakob Bodmer and Johann Jakob Breitinger publish the first edition of their literary review

  • 1750

    Caspar and Hans Conrad Schulthess establish their silk trading business

  • 1763

    Salomon Gessner founds the Zurich porcelain factory in Schooren, Kilchberg

  • 1775

    Johann Wolfgang von Goethe visits Johann Caspar Lavater in Zurich during his first tour of Switzerland

  • 1780

    First edition of the (Neue) Zürcher Zeitung newspaper

  • 1781

    Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi publishes Leonard and Gertrud, a Bildungsroman

  • 1789

    The French Revolution begins

  • 1795

    The events collectively known as the Stäfner Handel end the dominance of the city and guilds over rural areas

  • 1798

    French troops occupy Zurich

  • 1817

    The bank trades under the name of «Caspar Schulthess Erben»

  • 1831

    Zurich adopts a liberal cantonal constitution

  • 1833

    Founding of the University of Zurich

  • 1839

    Escher, Wyss & Co. build Switzerland’s first steam engine

  • 1847

    First Swiss railway line opens between Zurich and Baden

  • 1848

    First constitution of the Swiss Confederation

  • 1852

    Zurich abandons the gulden as a currency in favour of francs

  • 1855

    Founding of the Zurich Chamber of Commerce

  • 1861

    The poet Gottfried Keller is appointed Chancellor of the Canton of Zurich

  • 1876

    Swiss financial crisis, which continues into the 1890s

  • 1882

    Louis Rahn appointed as the first representative of the current partner family

  • 1886

    First petrol car marks the start of the era of the motor car

  • 1892

    The new city theatre (now the Opera House) opens its doors, having been built in just one single year

  • 1893

    Bank renamed «Escher & Rahn»

  • 1912

    Escher & Rahn becomes a member of the Swiss Bankers Association

  • 1912

    Zurich adopts a stock exchange act

  • 1914

    Assassination in Sarajevo marks the outbreak of the First World War

  • 1917

    Max Ernst Bodmer becomes the first representative of the current partner family; bank is rebranded «Rahn & Bodmer»

  • 1918

    Starvation, housing shortage, unemployment and general strike

  • 1919

    Founding of Ad Astra airline; later merges with Balair in 1931 to form Swissair

  • 1923

    Private bank Rahn & Bodmer is licensed to trade on the stock exchange and becomes a member of SIX Swiss Exchange

  • 1929

    New York stock market crash

  • 1932

    Private bank Rahn & Bodmer moves to the current offices at Talstrasse, Zurich

  • 1934

    Concept of banking secrecy introduced in the Swiss Federal Act on Banks and Savings Banks

  • 1934

    Swiss Private Bankers Association is formed – Max Ernst Bodmer is co-author of the articles of association and the Association’s first president

  • 1939

    Swiss national exhibition held in Zurich; start of the Second World War

  • 1946

    Winston Churchill makes speech at the Münsterhof, Zurich

  • 1951

    Richard M. Bidermann appointed as the first representative of the current partner family

  • 1961

    Construction of the Berlin Wall, which divides Berlin until 1989, when the fall of the wall marks the end of the Cold War

  • 1961

    Richard M. Bidermann appointed president of the Swiss Private Bankers Association

  • 1967

    Riots after Rolling Stones concert at Zurich’s Hallenstadion

  • 1984

    The overwhelming majority of Swiss voters throw out a proposal to end banking secrecy

  • 1999

    The Dow Jones closes at over 10,000 index points for the first time

  • 2000

    Rahn & Bodmer, Zurich’s oldest private bank, celebrates its 250th anniversary

  • 2001

    A year of disasters: 9/11 terrorist attacks; Swissair fleet grounded and massacre in the Zug cantonal parliament

  • 2002

    Launch of the euro; Switzerland joins the United Nations

  • 2009

    Conversion from general partnership to limited partnership Rahn & Bodmer Co.

  • 2011

    Crisis in the eurozone

  • 2013

    Switzerland and Australia sign double taxation agreement; erosion of Swiss banking secrecy

  • 2015

    Bertrand Piccard begins round-the-world flight in the Solar Impulse 2

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Copyright © 2021
Rahn+Bodmer Co.
All rights reserved.
Site notice