Stockbroking firm in talks with Baillieus over contentious rebrand
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Stockbroking firm in talks with Baillieus over contentious rebrand

A century old stockbroking firm which incurred the wrath of Melbourne's Baillieu family after changing its name over the summer says it will negotiate with family members regarding the rebrand, even though it sees no legal basis to do so.

Baillieu 1889 directors said they would continue discussions with members of the Baillieu family, after what The Age understands is two weeks of pressure from various members to return to its former name of Baillieu Holst.

Former Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu.

Former Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu.Credit:Louie Douvis

On Wednesday, company management denied claims the rebrand was misleading and deceptive.

"[But] given the company’s long history of association with the Baillieu family, we are concerned if the rebranding has caused offence," Baillieu 1889 managing director Gavin Powell said in a statement.

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"The facts of this matter are very important and any suggestion of misleading conduct is plainly without basis."

The Collins Street stockbroking firm was founded in 1889 by ancestor Edward Lloyd Baillieu, but has not had any connection with the Baillieu family since it sold all shares in 1997. The last Baillieu family member left the company in 1999.

But the firm incensed some family members with the New Year's Day rebrand to "Baillieu 1889" which some believed was an attempt to cash in on the establishment family's name.

The Baillieu family, which includes former Victorian premier Ted Baillieu, is regarded as one of the state's most blue-blood families. It includes several former state and federal MPs and family members hold senior positions in law, investment banking and agriculture.

Mr Powell said the decision to change the company name was part of broader strategy to update the overall brand and to "accurately reflect the company's esteemed history".

"It is well known amongst our clients and in the financial services industry that the Baillieu family has had no involvement in our company since 1997," Mr Powell said.

What has remained consistent throughout the company’s history and continues today are its values, standards and integrity, he said.

"In our view there is no legal reason for us to change our name. However, out of respect to the family, we will continue in good faith discussions with members of the Baillieu family."

The Age contacted several members of the Baillieu family but they did not respond in time for publication.

Samantha is the The Age's CBD columnist. She recently covered Victorian and NSW politics and business for News Corp, and previously worked for the Australian Financial Review.

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