Our Heritage

Founded in 1854, H.M. Payson is one of the longest-standing independent investment firms in the United States – no small feat in an industry characterized by booms and busts. We’re still here today because generations of families have trusted our rational, steadfast, independent investing approach to see them through the ups and downs, and to grow their wealth for generations. To what do we owe our longevity? Being far removed from the dramas of Wall Street? Perhaps. We’ve long-prided ourselves on our rational perspective and prudent approach. But our staying power is about more than history; it demonstrates our ability to remain relevant and responsive to a dynamic marketplace.

1821 ⇒ Henry Martyn Payson is born in Portland, Maine

1846 ⇒ Henry, at age 25, opens a hardware store on Exchange Street with a partner

1849 ⇒ Henry’s business goes bankrupt and he loses both his wife and son 

1850 ⇒ After a rough passage, Henry arrives in San Francisco to try his hand at prospecting

1854 ⇒ Henry returns to Portland older and wiser, opens a small stockbroker’s office, and though not legally bound to do so, Henry pays off all his creditors from the hardware store 

1863 ⇒ President Abraham Lincoln delivers the Gettysburg Address

1866 ⇒ Henry loses all his record books in Portland’s Great Fire 

1873 ⇒ Henry guides his clients through the Great Panic, when many railroads failed

1888 ⇒ Henry’s nephew, Charles, sails to London to sell bonds for the Portland Water Company

1893 ⇒ HM Payson is a safe haven for client assets throughout the panic of 1893, which triggered widespread bank failures

1918 ⇒ Armistice is signed; WWI ends

1929 ⇒ The stock market crashes on Black Tuesday, triggering the Great Depression

1941 ⇒ Japan attacks Pearl Harbor, U.S. enters WWII

1945 ⇒ Unconditional surrender by Japan ends WWII

1974 ⇒ First in-house computerized punch card program installed

1981 ⇒ HM Payson completes the final underwriting for Houlton Water Co.

1987 ⇒ Black Monday: stock market crash of 1987

2000 ⇒ Tech bubble bursts and HM Payson is chartered by the Maine Bureau of Financial Institutions as a nondepository trust company

2001 ⇒ Terrorists attack World Trade Center and Pentagon

2004 ⇒ HM Payson celebrates its sesquicentennial

2008 ⇒ Bear Stearns and Lehman Bros. collapse, triggering the Great Recession

Today ⇒ HM Payson continues to uphold the values of its founder and namesake: Trust, Integrity, Independence, and Fair Dealing. We are an integrated financial advisor dedicated to serving the best interests of our clients and their families.