Making An Impact
While managing clients’ money is important to Wetherby, “We also want to connect the money to its purpose in their lives and have it be a bigger conversation,” she says. Her firm spends a lot of time talking to clients about their goals and objectives.

Nearly a decade ago, after some philanthropic clients expressed interest in impact investing, the firm made its initial venture into the area. “I picked up and pursued it because of my own personal belief of harnessing the capital markets for social good,” she says. Impact investments aim to generate environmental or social impact and generate financial returns.

According to Taylor Jordan, managing director of Imprint Capital, Wetherby Asset Management was one of the early adopters of impact investing for a firm its size. Its wealth management services and impact focus combine “the best of both worlds,” he says. Imprint performs the impact due diligence on investments while Wetherby’s firm performs the financial due diligence. Investments must pass muster on both fronts, she says.

Although only 3% to 4% of Wetherby Asset Management’s overall assets are allocated to impact investments, she estimates that about one-third of its new business inquiries result from its expertise in impact investing and sustainability.

“It probably is one of the biggest interest areas that we see, even among existing clients,” she says. She notes that some second and third generation clients really want their portfolios to reflect their values and beliefs. Approximately 10% of her firm’s clients incorporate impact investments in their portfolios. On average, they are allocating about 15% of a portfolio to these investments.

Wetherby expects this will become a bigger part of clients’ objectives over time as industry offerings expand. “It’s a little bit of a chicken and egg thing,” she says. “The universe of impact investing, while it’s growing, is still not that big.”  Clients’ impact investments are based on their individual interests.

She is personally interested in the alleviation of poverty and the empowerment of women and girls. She sits on the board of BRAC USA, an affiliate of a Bangladesh-based development organization. She has also been very involved in City of Joy, a women’s leadership center in Bukavu, in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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