Client Connections
Saul Feldman, 84, former chairman and CEO of U.S. Behavioral Health, became a client when Wetherby started her firm. Over the years, she has helped him with retirement planning and estate planning. For example, she helped him understand estate taxes and invest in grantor retained annuity trusts (GRATs), he says.  She has also evaluated his insurance coverage, set up an educational savings plan for his granddaughter and assists his sons with their financial planning, he notes.

“She listens to her clients and interacts, is always accessible, has high integrity and is totally trustworthy,” he says. But it’s more than her ability to evaluate and introduce investment ideas that impresses him. “From my own experience as an executive, it’s not only what [qualifications] they have but the kind of organization they build,” he says. “Her organization reflects her values,” he says, and her colleagues are “universally helpful and enormously positive.”

Another loyal client is Maggie Kaplan, a lawyer by training and the founder and executive director of the nonprofit Invoking the Pause, an environmental small grants program that cultivates innovative ideas to address climate change.

“It has been quite a gift to work with Deb for the last 11 years,” she says. “We share a passion for social change in the world.” A member of a philanthropic board on which Kaplan served introduced them.

Wetherby has assisted Kaplan, now in her early 60s, with retirement planning and other investment needs. She helped her diversify her father’s estate and set up a family limited partnership. When Kaplan’s father died, Wetherby helped her research and negotiate a Graegin loan to fund the estate taxes. And when the IRS audited his estate, Wetherby and her team “were in the trenches with me,” she says.

Wetherby has also introduced her to various impact investments, which now account for about 50% of her family portfolio. “We set about a multiyear ramp-up,” says Kaplan. “It wasn’t a slam dunk.”

Her impact investments arranged through Wetherby include Root Capital, a nonprofit social investment fund that helps bring agricultural opportunities to economically challenged rural communities in the developing world, and the Media Development Investment Fund, which brings affordable financing and technical assistance to independent news and information businesses in countries with a history of media oppression.

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