Lazard is a financial advisory and asset management firm that engages in investment banking, asset management, and other financial services primarily with institutional clients. Its principal executive offices are in New York City, Paris and London. Lazard was founded in 1848 and operates from 42 cities across 27 countries in North America, Europe, Asia, Australia, Central and South America. The firm provides advice on mergers and acquisitions, strategic matters, restructuring and capital structure, capital raising and corporate finance, as well as asset management services to corporations, partnerships, institutions, governments and individuals. On July 12, 1848, three jewish French brothers, Alexandre, Lazare, and Simon Lazard, founded Lazard Frères & Co. as a dry goods merchant store in New Orleans, Louisiana. By 1851, Simon and two more brothers, Maurice and Elie, had all moved to San Francisco, California, while Alexandre moved to New York. Lazard Frères began to serve miners engaged in the California Gold Rush, and soon expanded into banking and foreign exchange.