A Look Back

Brookfield’s origins date back more than 100 years, to 1899 and the founding of The São Paulo Tramway, Light and Power Co. in Brazil—which established an early template for our longstanding focus on owning and operating long-life assets that provide essential services globally. Over the ensuing decades, by investing our own and our investors’ capital, we have built one of the world’s largest alternative asset management businesses.

Roots in Brazil


In 1899, the São Paulo Tramway, Light & Power Co. is founded by Canadian investors after introducing the first electric streetcars to São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. By 1940, “The Light” employs more than 50,000 people and supplies two-thirds of Brazil’s electric power.

Becoming Brookfield


In 1954, our founder, Peter Bronfman, establishes an investment company with proceeds from the sale of shares in the Seagram Company. Ten years later, the company begins focusing on real assets, establishing the foundation for our firm’s global investment approach. Peter’s Principles still guide the company today.

U.S. Expansion


By 1996, Brookfield begins a major U.S. expansion phase by acquiring marquee properties from distressed real estate developer Olympia & York, whose portfolio includes New York City’s World Financial Center (now Brookfield Place), One Liberty Plaza and 245 Park Avenue.

Renewables on the Rise


In 1999, Brookfield begins building on an existing portfolio of hydropower investments to expand its renewables footprint globally. By 2017, Brookfield will be one of the world’s largest pure-play renewable power operators.

The Aftermath of 9/11


Following the 9/11 terror attacks, many investors believed that Lower Manhattan would never recover. But Brookfield decided to increase its investment in the heavily damaged World Financial Center, and surrounding Battery Park City with the goal of bringing in new businesses and helping revitalize a neighborhood many had given up on. Today, Brookfield Place is a center of commerce in New York.

The Shift to Alternatives


In 2001, Brookfield begins its transformation into a global alternative asset manager with the launch of its first private equity fund, Brookfield Capital Partners I. Brookfield subsequently establishes private funds for infrastructure, real estate and later, the energy transition.

Going Global


In 2002, Bruce Flatt becomes CEO. In 2003, Brookfield enters the European commercial real estate market by acquiring a stake in London’s Canary Wharf. In 2007, Brookfield acquires property manager and construction company Multiplex, expanding its footprint in Australia, Europe and the Middle East. Brookfield also establishes a toehold in Asia Pacific through the acquisition of Babcock & Brown and its nearly $10 billion global portfolio of data, midstream, transport and utility assets.

All-In on Infrastructure


In 2008, Brookfield Infrastructure Partners launches as a publicly traded entity, giving Brookfield greater access to large-scale and flexible capital.

Branching Out with Oaktree


In 2019, Brookfield acquires a majority stake in leading alternative investment manager Oaktree Capital. Since its founding in 1995 by Bruce Karsh, Howard Marks and Sheldon Stone, Oaktree has become one of the world’s largest and most respected credit investors.

Innovating with Insurance


In 2020, Brookfield launches its Insurance Solutions business with a focus on providing capital-based solutions to insurance companies and their stakeholders. Within three years, the business grows to over $100 billion in assets under management.

Leading in Transition


In 2022, Brookfield closes on a record $15 billion for a new climate-focused fund to invest in companies providing solutions to the global climate crisis, with a focus on renewable power and other investments that reduce or eliminate carbon emissions. The Brookfield Global Transition Fund is the first of its kind in a sector that increasingly attracts capital and investor attention.

Evolving to Offer the Best of Both Worlds


Brookfield lists its alternative asset management business, evolving to offer shareholders the best of both worlds. The new Brookfield Asset Management (BAM) offers investors a pure-play, asset-lite alternative asset management business with a focused management team, while Brookfield Corporation, which holds a majority stake in BAM, retains one of the largest pools of discretionary capital globally at $140 billion, deploying it across the Corporation’s three businesses of BAM, Insurance Solutions and Principal Investments.