Earl Feldhorn; senior vice president; Wedbush Securities; Los Angeles, CA; AUM: About $300 million with partner Timary DeLorme
Why he likes his job: “The stock market is great fun. What we do as financial advisors has a lot to do with everything in the world. If I can improve clients’ economic well-being, it’s very wonderful.”
In 1938, 24-year-old Charlotte Feldhorn was nine months pregnant when she traveled from Vienna, Austria, to the Gestapo in Berlin to try to convince the Nazis into releasing her husband Julius from the Dachau concentration camp.
Despite the savage secret police pushing her down a flight of stairs, she managed to get to the Nazi in charge and indeed talked him into freeing Julius, who earlier had been imprisoned for months in the Buchenwald concentration camp.
The day after returning to Vienna from Germany, Charlotte delivered a son. Julius was released three months later — a hair’s breadth before Hitler stopped freeing prisoners — and with baby Earl in tow, the family fled to the United States.
“My father had started the process to get to the U.S. as soon as Hitler was elected. But one day the Nazis came and took him away,” says Earl Feldhorn, 72. “For years my mother didn’t like to talk about what happened. But just the other day [at age 96] she elaborated a bit. She said that the Gestapo supervisor was moved because she looked just like his daughter.”
For 49 years, Feldhorn has been a financial advisor at Los Angeles-headquartered Wedbush Securities, a brokerage firm and investment bank with 100 offices nationwide. He and partner Timary DeLorme manage about $300 million in assets for some 1,500 clients.
Feldhorn grew up mostly in New York City, but his career began in L.A., where it flourishes still. He joined Wedbush in 1962, six months after Dad Julius came aboard as a broker.
Based in the heart of the city’s revitalized downtown, the unassuming younger Feldhorn started as a 24-year-old trainee and rose to become producing branch manager of the L.A. office for 18 years. Now senior vice president, he was also, at various junctures, compliance officer, Pacific Stock Exchange floor trader and over-the-counter trader.
“Earl is one of the most honest people I know,” says Sam Yellen, a retired accountant and a client for two decades. “He never asks anybody to invest in anything he doesn’t believe in. Everything is thought out and a good decision.”
Feldhorn focuses on investing large-cap equities for high-net-worth clients and generating income via covered-call options. But he has no account minimum: “I don’t want to shut people out. It’s a lot of fun if you can take someone who has a modest amount of money and make it into” a lot.
The FA enjoyed his first taste of that in the 1960s, when he turned a pre-retiree postal worker’s $400 life savings into $40,000 — in three trades.
Feldhorn entered financial services following graduation from Bradley University, with a B.S. in business administration, and a short sales stint in the family furniture business. When Julius, a rabbi’s son who owned a furniture store in Austria, arrived in America, he could secure only odd jobs. Eventually, he went on to pioneer the aluminum outdoor furniture business and with great success.
But when, in Los Angeles, he was defrauded by his business partner, he made the move to stock brokerage. He died in 1992 at age 82.