The brothers Johann Friedrich Schröder (1780-1852) and Johann Heinrich Schröder (1784-1883), sons of the successful Hamburg merchant Christian Matthias Schröder (1742-1821), came to London in 1800 and 1802 respectively. Alongside mercantile activities, specialising in sugar, their firm acted from the outset as an acceptor of bills of exchange. After his elder brother's retirement in 1817, Johann Heinrich Schröder set up his own firm, J. Henry Schröder & Co. in 1818, and maintained close ties with Germany through his Hamburg firm of J.H. Schröder & Co., set up in 1819. In 1853 the firm began issuing bonds, at first for overseas railway construction and from 1863 for sovereign states.
Johann Heinrich Schröder was succeeded as senior partner by his son Baron Sir John Henry William Schröder (1825-1910) who in turn was succeeded by his nephew Baron Bruno Schröder (1867-1940). In 1923 the partnership set up a commercial bank in New York, the J. Henry Schroder Banking Corporation and related investment banking entities. The German declaration of a moratorium ('Standstill') on the repayment of foreign debt in 1931 caused the firm in London to severely curtail its business activities.
It was not until 1953, under Baron Bruno's son Helmut Schroder (1901-1969), that recovery of the Standstill debts could begin to be made and the firm could restructure. In 1955 it became a private limited liability company, and in 1959 the partnership was dissolved and a publicly listed holding company, Schroders Limited, was set up to take ownership of the firms of J. Henry Schroder & Co. Ltd. and the J. Henry Schroder Banking Corporation. In 1960 Schroders Ltd bought the investment bank Helbert, Wagg & Co. Ltd. and in 1962 it was merged with J. Henry Schroder & Co. Ltd. to form J. Henry Schroder Wagg & Co. Ltd.