Ian Yankwitt, Tortoise’s founder, and our dear friend, mentor and colleague passed away on November 5, 2020.
Ian was born in Brooklyn in 1968. He graduated in 1989 from Yale University, where he majored in Economics and Political Science and worked for the Yale Investment Office. He received his law degree from Cornell University, magna cum laude, Order of the Coif, in 1993, and clerked for a federal judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. He practiced law for 10 years, first at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, where he was known for his pro bono work and then at the Federal Defenders of New York, where he worked as a federal public defender.
It was at the urging of Ian’s first clients that Ian decided to switch careers and open an investment management and financial planning firm. In 2004, Ian founded Tortoise on the simple premise that top-quality financial advice and investment management were not readily available, even to those with significant net worth. He chose the name Tortoise because it immediately reflects the underlying objective of the firm’s investment philosophy. Namely, it is more important to maximize the probability of having enough money rather than striving to have the most money. Under Ian’s leadership, Tortoise grew to manage over $1 billion of assets for its clients. As much as the success of the firm, Ian valued the relationships he shared with clients and colleagues at Tortoise. He actively promoted camaraderie at Tortoise, working to shape the careers of the team as a mentor and friend, while always serving the best interests of clients.
Ian was extraordinarily caring and intelligent. He had an unwavering desire to help others and do the right thing. His vision and guiding force will always be at the foundation of everything we do at Tortoise.