The business comes from recommendations by existing clients, their accountants and their attorneys. “We don’t cold call,” she says. “We don’t embed ourselves in pre-public companies, so we’re there when a liquidity event takes place.”

The majority of clients range in age from 40 to 70. The most common attribute among new clients, she says, is they often come to her in the midst of a transition—such as a change in career or relationship or an intergenerational shift in assets.

The firm often works with two or three generations and is even serving four generations of one family. “We view the family as the client, not just the generation we might start working with,” says Wetherby. The firm develops relationships with newer generations once a family sets up structures for them.  

Team Building
Wetherby, who holds a BS in commerce from the University of Virginia and an MBA from the University of California, Berkeley, is a very team-oriented manager. Sharing equity with her associates has never given her second thoughts. There have been only two months in her firm’s history when she was the sole owner. “I’ve always believed in sharing ownership and always wanted partners and people who acted like owners,” she says.

“Over the years, I’ve found that we’ve made better decisions as a group than I would have made individually,” she added. Today, no single shareholder owns more than 23% of the firm and two other partners have at least 10%, according to the firm’s ADV.
Wetherby says this has helped her attract and retain great people who serve clients exceptionally well. Indeed, her shareholders include well-educated types who face no shortage of employment opportunities in the Bay area.

“Our clients and our existing employees have been a wonderful source of talented people over time,” says Wetherby. “We’ve also gotten some great referrals from other firms we interact with (accountants and attorneys) as well as other RIA firms in other geographies who have sent people our way. We do also post at colleges, on job sites and on our own Web site.”

Wetherby Asset Management is structured with client service teams that include wealth managers, investment associates and operations associates. Team members hold complementary skill sets and diverse specializations in such areas as trust and estate law, investments, insurance, investment banking, private banking and technology, says Wetherby.

Each team holds a weekly meeting to discuss ideas and share client stories that could be relevant or beneficial to others, says Graeme Agate, the firm’s business development associate.  “This structure encourages a sense of belonging and team spirit,” he says. “We have found that having multiple contact points on client relationships and accounts leads to enhanced efficiency and client satisfaction.”

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