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Helping Girls Step Up to Entrepreneurship

As the school year ended and summer began, Page Curtin, a mother of three, was looking at a summer of canceled plans for her children. Her daughter M.G., 12, would not be going to sleep-away camp as planned.

Then she heard through her husband’s employer about a program that aimed to teach girls financial, entrepreneurial and business skills in a five-week virtual program. M.G. jumped at the opportunity, and during the program she joined other girls to create a mask awareness campaign that would be driven by tweens.

The program, Girls With Impact, “became a great Plan B,” Ms. Curtin said. “It provided a little bit of structure to the week. She had homework, and she was accountable for each session.”

It also helped her daughter begin to understand things many parents fret about for their children: knowledge of personal finances, business skills and the ability to collaborate.

Financial literacy programs are intended to give children an understanding of business skills at an early age. The practical guidelines they learn will help them later when they need to make decisions about cars, college and debt, and the lessons will stick with them as they begin to manage their own finances in their 20s.

Private banks and wealth managers have for years designed programs to help the children of their wealthiest clients with these skills. But Girls With Impact is a nonprofit organization created by a group of successful businesswomen.

A majority of parents surveyed this year ranked financial literacy at the top of their list of noncore courses they wanted taught in school, according to a report to be released next week by the Charles Schwab Foundation. The report surveyed 5,000 people in February before the pandemic took hold and 2,000 more in June.

Second was health and wellness, at around 40 percent; college placement finished third. When parents were asked about the importance of various life skills to their children, learning money management tied with the dangers of drugs and alcohol.

“This pandemic has exposed so many Americans’ financial vulnerabilities,” said Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, chair and president of the Charles Schwab Foundation. “People are putting a high priority on educating this next generation, so they don’t experience what they’re experiencing today.”

The aim of Girls With Impact is to push the students to grow comfortable discussing money and ideas with new people their own age and learn skills that may spur them to go into business themselves.

“You can go online and learn pieces of this, but the beauty of this program is in the structure, the experience of being in a setting with peers” who might question your ideas, said Jennifer Openshaw, the chief executive of Girls With Impact and a former Wall Street executive. “It can be scary.”

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Credit…Marcus Smith for The New York Times

When the organization surveyed graduates of the program, it found that 81 percent viewed themselves as leaders after the course, versus 47 percent before, and 91 percent said they were more confident raising their hand, an increase from 44 percent at the start. More than 80 percent said they were better equipped to manage cash flow in a business and felt more financially literate in general.

Interest in the program has surged. In the six months of the pandemic, more than 2,900 girls have completed the program, increasing the number it has reached since starting two years ago. In total, 3,175 girls have participated in the program.

In some ways, Girls With Impact had an advantage when the world went virtual after the pandemic closed schools and offices. The program has always used Zoom, so it was able to work out the kinks in the years before the coronavirus sent teachers and students online.

“The world has finally gotten with the fact that digital learning is here,” Ms. Openshaw said. “When Covid hit, we went into schools with our program, and they were not prepared. Now, parents are seeing that if it’s done well, it can keeps kids advancing and prepared.”

An ancillary benefit of many parents working from home during the pandemic is that qualified working mothers with extra time are asking about becoming a mentor or coach. “The power of this is, it’s more accessible to people even in remote areas,” Ms. Openshaw said.

In its original incarnation, the program brought together girls from different socioeconomic backgrounds who lived relatively close to one another. But it has expanded to reach girls around the country, with some paying the full $495 tuition for the program and others receiving financial aid through the group’s mix of individual and corporate donors.

The program has allowed participants to focus on real-world issues like the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement.

“One of our graduates said entrepreneurship is activism in disguise,” said Josephine Panzera, the organization’s chief operating officer, who has a background in corporate finance. “She wants to take her frustration and execute on it.”

Neha Shukla, a 15-year-old high school sophomore in Mechanicsburg, Pa., began worrying in April about her grandparents contracting the coronavirus.

She applied to the program, and with her interest in engineering and technology, she began working on a device that would keep people six feet apart. The result is a hat with sensors that beep and vibrate when someone breaches the six-foot perimeter.

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Credit…Marcus Smith for The New York Times

“I just realized that it’s difficult to estimate six feet,” Neha said. “Once I programmed the device, wired, soldered and assembled it, it really came together. You no longer have to guess.”

It’s been a hit with her friends, too: “The ultrasonic sensors look like eyes; it’s really cute.”

Through the initial stage of the program, called the Academy, Neha has filed for a patent and is working on upgrading the technology to include voice commands. What she has found most helpful is the mentorship. After completing the initial program, she became eligible for the Boardroom, a more involved mentoring program to help participants continue to develop their idea.

But not everyone is an entrepreneur, so Girls With Impact has added a series of programs it calls future-ready workshops. They include hourlong seminars on innovation, money and email etiquette, as well as a primer on entrepreneurship that may direct girls to its flagship program. They cost $15 to $20 each.

“We’re very upfront with the girls that the end goal for everyone may not be running a business,” said Liz Czepiel, an instructor for Girls With Impact and a business coach who has worked with executives at Bain, Spotify and United Rentals. “But this is a taste of what that might entail. Success definitely centers around building confidence.”

About three weeks before the stay-at-home orders were put in place, Ms. Openshaw addressed a group of women packed onto a veranda at a fund-raiser at a home in Greenwich, Conn. Gretchen Carlson, the former Fox News anchor who was instrumental in the #MeToo movement, spoke about the challenges she faced.

But it was the young women who talked about their ventures who brought the affluent women to consider making donations. One of them, Kellie Taylor, 19 and a Girls With Impact participant, started her business two years ago as a senior in high school. Her company, named Cleo after her grandmother, is building an app to find beauty and fashion resources for African-American women and girls.

Ms. Taylor, who grew up in Stratford, Conn., said her business was inspired by her braids. “I had the hardest time finding someone in Stratford or Bridgeport to do my hair,” she said.

Nervous at first to even try starting a business, she said, she was encouraged by her mother. Two years later, Ms. Taylor is refining it, and she is working with the same mentor.

“I still have my mentor’s number,” she said. “I text her whenever I need her help.”

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Can’t Afford a Birkin Bag or a Racehorse? You Can Invest in One

Antonella Carbonaro, a consultant to financial technology companies, saved up to buy her Birkin bag, a luxury tote made by Hermès that sells new for tens of thousands of dollars. Since getting her bag in 2018, Ms. Carbonaro has stored it in her closet, bringing it out only on special occasions.

But when she heard that there was a marketplace to buy shares in other Birkins, including more exotic versions that can fetch six figures, she was in. It is not a lark. Ms. Carbonaro, 30, sees her shares in an exclusive bag as an alternative investment, no different than stakes in private equity funds that invest in a basket of companies.

“This is a visual way to participate in different asset classes that aren’t as accessible,” Ms. Carbonaro said. “Investing in shares of Birkin bags, even though I have one, is getting more exposure.”

She bought 10 shares in a Bleu Lézard Birkin bag that was valued at $61,500 in an offering last year. Earlier this year, she bought 25 shares in a gray Himalaya Birkin. It was valued at $140,000 in an offering in May.

Unlike owning a fractional share of a condominium, she will never be able to use her investment. Shares are traded until the owner of the marketplace sells the asset.

Ms. Carbonaro’s first Birkin investment is trading up 6 percent from the purchase price on Rally Rd., a platform that deals in fractional investments in collectible items. The other one is still in the lockup period and its shares cannot be traded yet.

The market for investing in fractions of items otherwise seen as collectibles — and largely reserved for the wealthiest people — has seen an uptick in interest during the pandemic as people spend more time at home.

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Credit…Rally Road

Rally Rd. began by selling shares in exotic cars several years ago but has expanded to art, books, wine and whiskey, memorabilia and Birkin bags.

“In the beginning, it was like equity markets: just safe, blue-chip investments,” said Rob Petrozzo, a founder and the chief product officer at Rally Rd. “Over the past few months, we’ve seen with people being inside, they’ve gotten access to more information and they have been exploring the app more fully.”

He said existing investors on the platform had doubled the number of items they owned shares in. Initial offerings have sold out five times faster than before the pandemic, as new investors on the platform began buying up shares more quickly.

To accommodate growing interest, MyRacehorse, which sells shares in racehorses that are far smaller stakes than those sold by traditional racing syndicates, has partnered with a top stud farm, Spendthrift, to extend the length of the investments. Before, its model had been to sell the horse when it was done racing. Now, investors can participate in the breeding fees, which can be many times any racetrack winnings.

The fractional movement is not limited to luxury items. Fidelity, the mutual fund giant, offers “stocks by the slice” where you can buy a portion of a share starting at $1. And many private equity funds, which have high minimum investments and long lockup-periods, have created mutual fund versions of their funds.

Eugene Olmstead, a retired internet technology executive, said he had 1 percent to 1.5 percent in 11 horses, all bought through his self-directed individual retirement account.

“You’re not going to get a worthwhile return on your investment unless you have a certain percentage,” said Mr. Olmstead, 58. “I’ve done my research, and I’m investing in ones that I think in the long run will give me a decent return.”

Of the 11 horses he has bought shares in, only two are old enough to race. He said both had average winnings of $12,000 a race. He has received some dividends from those races, but said the money was not substantial yet.

“It’s money I don’t need right now,” he said. “It gives me a chance to wait for those returns.”

Another owner of fractional shares in horses, David Falo, 58, compared buying stakes in young horses to investing in companies on private platforms before their initial public offering. “The horse may not do well, or the horse could get injured,” he said, “but it gives you a little thrill along the way.”

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Credit…Jeenah Moon for The New York Times

There are many caveats. Trading through Rally Rd. and MyRacehorse are done through apps, which makes buying and selling easier and creates a community. But the apps turn investing into games, as has happened with the stock-trading app Robinhood. That can distort the financial consequences of ill-considered investments.

Compounding the risk, an asset typically bought for personal enjoyment or bragging rights cannot be analyzed the same way that a private equity investment would be.

“There could be return potential, but who knows?” said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer of Cresset Capital. “There’s no liquidity and no control. When do you get your money back? You don’t know. The other is the carrying costs could be high.”

In the case of the shares in the racehorses, expenses like training and boarding are shared just as profits are. “You own full equity in the horse,” said Michael Behrens, founder of MyRacehorse.

Another issue is that buying these assets in slices can mean a person is paying more than she or he might if the person could buy the whole asset, and that could dampen returns or make it hard to resell the asset.

“You’re buying an overvalued slice of the whole,” said David Abate, senior wealth adviser with Strategic Wealth Partners. “If you decide you want to get out of this investment, you’d better understand how the secondary market works.”

The fees are disclosed but baked in. With MyRacehorse, 15 percent of the offering of a horse goes to the company upfront. But each horse is part of an entity that has been registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

“This is high risk; I’d never tell people otherwise,” Mr. Behrens said. “We’re not trying to build a platform that says this is going to be a really good asset class. Many horses have been bought for $1 million and never made it to the racetrack.”

As with other alternative investments, buyers are restricted from the selling of these fractions until after the lockup period ends. But when the asset itself — the bag or the horse — is sold is determined by the platform, not the individual investors.

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Credit…Jeenah Moon for The New York Times

Jimmy Lee, chief executive of the Wealth Consulting Group, a wealth adviser, questions the notion of buying a passion asset with an eye toward profit. “When it comes to art, you only see the ones that go up in value,” he said. “If someone buys a piece of art for $1 million and it doesn’t go up in value, it’s not going to be sold.”

There are other drawbacks. These marketplaces do offer the possibility of a return on the investment, but they deprive people of the joy of owning a painting or a fast car: having it in your possession. (Although with MyRacehorse, investors can at least go to the track and see their horses.)

“You lose the intimacy of what it’s meant to be,” Mr. Ablin said. “It’s normally an asset you can touch, enjoy, ride in, ride on or drink.”

But many investors in shares seem unbothered by this. Ms. Carbonaro said not being able to touch or hold the bags she had invested in was not an issue for her. “If I had a Michael Jordan rookie card, I don’t think I’d want to touch it,” she said.

John Cochran, who works in sales in Baltimore, has invested in shares of 76 different collectibles including a shirt Mr. Jordan wore in a basketball game, a Muhammad Ali fight contract, a portrait of Abraham Lincoln and a 2006 Ferrari f430 manual.

He said he was happy receiving a photo and some information on the object and was unfazed that he could not hold or touch it. “I like the idea that, just like my stocks, it’s all in an electronic portfolio,” he said. “I don’t have to have the resources to store these things.”

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Deutsche Bank and Jeffrey Epstein: Here Are The Executives Who Served Him

Jeffrey Epstein, the sex criminal and financier, didn’t act alone. Now we know in vivid detail who some of his financial enablers were: executives and bankers at Deutsche Bank.

Last week the New York Department of Financial Services laid bare at least some of the financial underpinnings of Mr. Epstein’s sophisticated enterprise. Deutsche Bank agreed to pay a $150 million fine for its dealings with Mr. Epstein, who committed suicide last August, and for two other matters.

Mr. Epstein’s bankers “created the very real risk” that payments through the bank “could be used to further or cover up criminal activity and perhaps even to endanger more young women,” the department asserted.

Deutsche Bank executives approved Mr. Epstein as a client in 2013 and then kept working with him, even though employees worried about the fact that “40 underage girls had come forward with testimony of Epstein sexually assaulting them,” as the bank put it in internal communications about Mr. Epstein in early 2015.

And even though such high-risk clients are required to be carefully monitored to detect and prevent illegal activity, once Mr. Epstein was a client, “very few problematic transactions were ever questioned, and even when they were, they were usually cleared without satisfactory explanation,” the New York regulator concluded.

Deutsche Bank itself is a corporation, and, as has often been said, it’s people, not corporations, who do bad things. Responsibility for working with Mr. Epstein permeated the ranks of the private-banking division that caters to wealthy clients.

Yet Deutsche Bank declined to publicly identify any individuals involved — and the authorities didn’t demand it. The so-called consent order with the New York agency included no names of the bankers or executives who were implicated; instead, the document is littered with references like RELATIONSHIP MANAGER-1 and EXECUTIVE-2. A bank spokesman, Daniel Hunter, said the bank meted out appropriate punishments to employees who were still at the bank, but declined to name anyone.

Based on descriptions of the employees in the consent order and interviews with current and former Deutsche Bank officials, The New York Times was able to identify nearly every person anonymously described in the order. At least one high-ranking executive remains in her position: Jan Ford, the bank’s head of compliance in the Americas.

It is rare for companies and regulators that are settling allegations of crimes or other misconduct to name the individuals responsible for those misdeeds — a practice that perpetuates the myth that such acts were inadvertently committed by a faceless institution and were not the consequence of decisions made by human beings.

Large companies “will happily pay a big fine as long as senior managers are protected,” said John Coffee Jr., a Columbia Law School professor and author of the forthcoming book “Corporate Crime and Punishment: The Crisis of Underenforcement.”

Fines paid by public companies, even of the $150 million magnitude Deutsche Bank is paying, fall almost entirely on shareholders rather than the individuals responsible. When those individuals bear no discernible consequences, the result is an astonishing rate of recidivism, Mr. Coffee noted, despite repeated apologies and promises that bad behavior won’t happen again.

New York’s Department of Financial Services, not Deutsche Bank, wrote the consent order that omitted the executives’ and bankers’ names. “The New York State Department of Financial Services is the first and only financial regulator to take action against a financial institution in connection with Jeffrey Epstein,” said a spokeswoman for the agency, Sophia Kim. “The department’s consent order provides a wealth of detail about the course of conduct of the bank, consistent with D.F.S.’s role as the New York licensing agency for the institution itself.”

While the bank may not be legally obligated to name those responsible for the Epstein relationship, it should do so to rebuild public trust, said Brandon Garrett, a professor at Duke Law School and author of “Too Big to Jail.” “When a company does something seriously wrong, then accountability is all the more important,” Mr. Garrett said. “You want assurances they’re cleaning house. That’s especially true for Deutsche Bank, which has been around this block many times.”

Indeed, Deutsche Bank is a symbol of corporate recidivism: It has paid more than $9 billion in fines since 2008 related to a litany of alleged and admitted financial crimes and other transgressions, including manipulating interest rates, failing to prevent money laundering, evading sanctions on Iran and other countries and engaging in fraud in the run-up to the financial crisis.

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Credit…Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images

Deutsche Bank claimed to have put all this behind it when it named Christian Sewing as chief executive in 2018. “We all have to help ensure that this kind of thing does not happen again. It is our duty and our social responsibility to ensure that our banking services are used only for legitimate purposes,” Mr. Sewing said last week in a message to employees.

Since neither the regulator nor the bank would reveal the people responsible for the misconduct, my colleagues and I decided to fill in some of the blanks left by the consent order. (Some of the bankers and executives confirmed their roles; none would comment on the record.)

“RELATIONSHIP MANAGER-1,” who brought Mr. Epstein into Deutsche Bank, is Paul Morris, who had previously helped manage the Epstein account at JPMorgan. Despite Mr. Epstein’s conviction in 2008 of soliciting prostitution from a minor and widespread press coverage of his involvement with underage girls, Mr. Morris in 2013 introduced Mr. Epstein to his Deutsche Bank bosses as “a potential client who could generate millions of dollars of revenue as well as leads for other lucrative clients to the bank,” according to the consent order.

In a subsequent email to higher-ups at the bank, Mr. Morris noted that the Epstein relationship could generate annual revenues of up to $4 million.

Mr. Morris needed approval for a client who carried such reputational risk. He sent Charles Packard, the head of the bank’s American wealth-management division and described in the consent order as “EXECUTIVE-1,” a memo detailing Mr. Epstein’s controversial past. In a subsequent email, Mr. Packard said that he had taken the issue to the division’s general counsel and the head of its anti-money-laundering operation and that neither felt Mr. Epstein required additional review. “We can move ahead so long as nothing further is identified,” Mr. Packard wrote in a May 2013 email to Mr. Morris.

(Deutsche Bank told regulators that it found no written record of any approval from the executives Mr. Packard said he consulted.)

At the time, Deutsche Bank was aggressively expanding its U.S. wealth management business under its new co-chief executive, Anshu Jain. The bank developed a reputation for courting wealthy clients who other banks shunned — including a default-prone real estate developer named Donald J. Trump.

Once the Epstein relationship was underway, Deutsche Bank executives ignored repeated red flags, including suspiciously large cash withdrawals and 120 wire transfers totaling $2.65 million to women with Eastern European surnames and people who had been publicly identified as Mr. Epstein’s co-conspirators, according to the consent order.

That and other activity — including media accounts of Mr. Epstein’s sexual misconduct — led employees in the bank’s anti-financial-crime department to urge executives to further scrutinize the Epstein relationship.

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Credit…Stephanie Diani for The New York Times

Mr. Morris and Mr. Packard met with Mr. Epstein at his East 71st Street mansion in January 2015 and asked him “about the veracity of the recent allegations,” according to the consent order. No one took notes; the bank told regulators it had no record of the substance of the meeting.

Whatever Mr. Epstein said, Mr. Packard “appeared to be satisfied,” according to the consent order. No one subsequently asked Mr. Morris for his opinion. Deutsche Bank apparently didn’t further investigate the allegations against Mr. Epstein.

Eight days after the visit to Mr. Epstein’s mansion, a bank committee charged with vetting transactions that pose risks to the bank’s reputation held a meeting. According to a bank official familiar with the meeting, it was chaired by Stuart Clarke, chief operating officer for the Americas; other attendees included Michael Chepiga, acting general counsel for the Americas; and Ms. Ford, the compliance executive who had joined the bank just one week earlier.

The committee concluded that it was “comfortable with things continuing” with Mr. Epstein, according to an email that a committee member sent Mr. Packard. One committee member “noted a number of sizable deals recently,” according to the consent order. In other words, the relationship was making money for Deutsche Bank.

The following week Ms. Ford, the head of compliance, memorialized the decision in an email to Mr. Packard and other executives that put the onus squarely on Mr. Packard: Deutsche Bank would “continue business as usual with Jeff Epstein based upon” Mr. Packard’s “due diligence visit with him.” Ms. Ford also imposed some conditions on the relationship, but Mr. Packard and others “inexplicably” failed to convey those conditions to all of those who regularly dealt with Mr. Epstein. The bankers “continued conducting business with Epstein in the same manner as they had,” the consent order said.

Only after The Miami Herald revealed in November 2018 the extent of Mr. Epstein’s sexual misconduct and lenient plea deal did Deutsche Bank begin to wind down its relationship with Mr. Epstein. Even then, a bank executive wrote letters to two other financial institutions essentially vouching for Mr. Epstein.

By then Mr. Morris and Mr. Packard had both left the bank. Mr. Morris went to Merrill Lynch, where he’s a private wealth adviser. Mr. Packard joined Bridgewater Associates, the hedge fund founded by Ray Dalio.

Of the members of the risk-assessment committee who approved continuing the Epstein relationship, Mr. Clarke and Mr. Chepiga have both left the bank. Only Ms. Ford remains.

The bank’s Mr. Hunter declined to comment on her behalf. “Deutsche Bank undertook appropriate disciplinary actions based upon its findings regarding the underlying conduct, including termination for some employees,” Mr. Hunter said. “We do not comment on individual instances of employee discipline.”

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How Investors Are Addressing Racial Injustice

Socially responsible investing has been putting billions of dollars to work for social change for decades.

In some cases, the strategy means avoiding certain sectors. Religious organizations, for instance, steer clear of alcohol, firearms, tobacco and other “sin” stocks.

Some investors focus on companies that are already socially responsible to help them thrive, while starving competitors that are less responsible.

And others aim to change the practices at the companies themselves. By buying enough shares to get a seat at the table, they have a voice in issues like climate change, worker’s rights and gender discrimination.

For several years now, investors and advisers have applied the socially responsible lens to creating portfolios that consider racial inclusion and diversity. The social unrest incited by the killing of a Black man, George Floyd, by a Minneapolis police officer has added urgency to the movement.

“We had our own list of publicly traded companies that we’ve been excluding from our portfolios for years,” said Rachel J. Robasciotti, chief executive and founder of Robasciotti & Philipson, an investment adviser. “We never thought there was a reason to share that. But now we are saying, here are the companies we don’t invest in and why.”

How investments are made to promote this goal varies. But the different strategies are working toward a similar objective: to get companies and municipalities to operate more equitably.

Allocating capital is an expression of belief, starting with the belief that the investment is going to grow over time. But it can also be a means to force, support or accelerate change within an organization.

The trouble is, perfect is the enemy of good.

Companies are on a continuum: They are good at some things but not everything, said Erika Karp, founder and chief executive of Cornerstone Capital.

That means investors should know what they want and what they will accept. “Do you want to divest or do you want to engage with companies and push for change?” Ms. Karp said. “Both are OK. You just need to be consistent.”

Look for companies that are making changes and becoming more inclusive, she said. That momentum is a more important indicator than a score that may be stagnant. It’s also a barometer of a company’s intellectual honesty.

“Don’t tell me you’re all in for racial justice and then you don’t even make an attempt to drive executives of color into leadership roles,” she said.

Many of the basic tenants of the environmental, social and governance investment analysis apply to racial inclusion, said John Streur, president and chief executive of Calvert Research and Management.

“You certainly pick up quickly on board diversity,” he said. More telling is whether companies publicly disclose their diversity filings to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. They are required to make the report to the commission but do not have to publicly say what the results are.

“Only a few give you the data, and they’re not all great at all,” he said. Calvert is pushing companies it invests in to make those disclosures.

And individual investors should vote for the initiatives on their annual proxies, Mr. Streur said. Last year, of the 30 proxy initiatives related to diversity and inclusion that Calvert supported, only four passed, he said.

Some managers take exception with an approach known as “best in class” because investors are still providing capital to industries that are against their interests. The best-run oil company, for example, is still pulling fossil fuels out of the ground.

“It’s really taking a stance that this business should not exist,” said Ms. Robasciotti, of Robasciotti & Philipson, which is majority owned by women and blacks. “The ‘best in class’ allows unsustainable businesses to continue.”

With a focus on social justice, her firm created a list of companies it would not invest in because of work they do in six sectors: prisons, immigrant detention, bail, surveillance, for-profit colleges and involvement in the occupied territories like the West Bank.

The list includes companies that indirectly support racial injustice, she said, like the food service companies Sodexo and Aramark for their prison work and Amazon for its facial recognition software.

The firm puts all clients into tailored portfolios based on return on investment and social equity. Other areas of focus are gender and economic equality and climate change.

“Allowing investors to pick and choose makes the investor feel good, but it doesn’t push the movement forward, and that’s what we want to do,” she said. “It’s that solidarity that matters.”

Similarly, Ethic, an asset manager that creates separately managed accounts to invest in racial justice and other social responsibility themes, screens out companies that provide services to sectors it does not support. For example, it screens out companies that use cheap prison labor and identifies telephone companies that charge prisoners exorbitant rates to call family members, said Jay Lipman, a co-founder and president.

“Our technology helps you report on what you’re investing in,” Mr. Lipman said.

Twenty-six of the top foundations had 13.5 percent of their assets managed by firms owned by women or people of color, according to a report released this week by the Knight Foundation, which supports journalism and equitable communities. But in the investment industry as a whole, only 1 percent of assets are managed by firms owned by women or people of color.

What drove the foundation’s research was a look at its own management structure in 2010. At the time, the foundation, which oversaw $2.3 billion, had only one African-American manager, who oversaw a mere $7.5 million, said Juan J. Martinez, the foundation’s chief financial officer.

“We were very surprised,” Mr. Martinez said. That prompted the foundation to begin asking about the ownership of investment firms as part of its due diligence process. It now has 30 percent of its assets managed by women- and minority-owned firms, and its returns have continued to be strong.

He took issue with the assumption that the foundation was not focused on returns and that the minority- and women-owned firms had lower returns.” The data doesn’t bear that out,” he said.

The Rockefeller Brothers Fund, which has an $1.2 billion endowment, announced this week that it would add grants to address racial justice and democracy. But for the past decade, it has been realigning its assets — including grant making, investments and its reputational capital — with its overall mission.

The Rockefeller fund found that it had come up short on the diversity of investment managers, with just 12.3 percent women or minorities. It has announced it will double that percentage, but has not revealed a timeline.

Beyond investing more in firms owned by minorities, the fund is looking to add firms that have minority leadership and a pipeline of younger leaders. It is also tracking the diversity of the investment portfolio itself, all of which will be published starting at the end of the year.

“The lever for change is the capital itself,” said Stephen B. Heintz, president and chief executive of Rockefeller Brothers Fund. “That in itself has meaning in the marketplace.”

Mr. Heintz said the fund’s strategy can be replicated by individual investors, who can ask their advisers how much of their investments are managed by minorities and to press them if they don’t have the answers.

“Those answers at the individual level may not be very satisfying, but more people asking them means the market system works,” he said. “The more you ask for it, the more data you have.”

Investors can also seek larger changes on racial justice through the municipal bonds sold by local and state governments.

The types of revenue that support these bonds vary greatly in credit quality, said Ryan Bowers, a co-founder of the Activest social justice fund. Income from property taxes is the most stable, but many towns and cities derive a large portion from fining their citizens.

When Michael Brown was shot by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo, a quarter of that city’s municipal budget consisted of fines and fees collected from its predominantly African-American base for minor offenses like broken taillights and jaywalking. “The national average then was less than 2 percent from fines,” Mr. Bowers said.

Thousands of other places rely excessively on fines: Chicago, for example, counts on fines for nearly 10 percent of its more than $3 billion of annual revenue.

“It’s hard to budget for fines and fees without infringing on people’s constitutional rights,” said Napoleon Wallace, a co-founder of Activest.

He said the municipal bond market had not looked closely enough at where revenue comes from. “As a result, you have these municipalities that are operating in the worst interest of their bond holders and their residents,” he said.

Ferguson now derives less than 10 percent of its revenue from fines and fees, Mr. Wallace said. “We believe we have the opportunity to support the places that are doing well,” he said, “and motivate the places that are doing poorly to do well.”

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The Pandemic Has Slowed the Divorce Process. Here’s What to Expect.

When state and local governments announced shelter-in-place orders to slow the spread of the coronavirus, predictions that the lockdowns would force a reckoning in bad marriages and lead to a rise in the divorce rate abounded.

The forecast has not come to pass, but lawyers are seeing plenty of obstacles for couples who no longer want to be married.

For starters, many state courts are effectively closed or operating only on an emergency basis, adding disruption and delay to an already tense, emotional process.

This applies to people considering a divorce and those in the middle of the process. It is also affecting people who have long been divorced and are seeking to reduce support payments in light of the economic shutdown.

“There are 36 courts in Connecticut, and only four are open,” Alan S. Rubenstein, a lawyer with Halloran Sage in Westport, Conn. “The family courts are only hearing motions for relief from abuse, or emergency custody orders. Other than that, the family courts are not hearing anything.”

The setbacks are happening throughout the hardest-hit states. Here’s a look at three stages of the divorce process that have been altered by the pandemic.

Filing the documents for a divorce is often not possible because of court delays. This includes the crucial document that values and separates a couple’s joint assets on a certain date, a filing that sets what’s called the commencement date of the divorce.

In lieu of a court filing, the couple can draft an agreement establishing a date, “but if you have a spouse who is not interested in doing that, then you’re stuck,” said Emily S. Pollock, partner at Kasowitz Benson Torres in New York.

This could be a moment for couples to turn to alternatives meant to avoid the court system and keep the cost of divorce down.

The first is mediation, in which the couple may have lawyers advising them but generally go by themselves to hash out their split with a mediator. The second is a collaborative divorce, in which both sides agree not to go to court and to use lawyers, a financial adviser and a mental health professional who are objective.

Even in normal times, these strategies can fail, forcing the couple to start over in court. But the prospect of a huge backlog when courts reopen is acting as an incentive to stay the course, said Steph L. Wagner, director of women and wealth at Northern Trust.

A sticking point is often support payments. Everyone is used to child support, but “spousal support, that’s a much more sensitive topic,” said Andrea Vacca, founder of Vacca Family Law Group, a collaborative divorce and mediation practice in New York. “It’s harder to settle this out of court sometimes, but it’s better for the clients.”

The crux of a divorce is valuing and dividing assets. What those assets will be worth after the economic rout is difficult to say. Some lawyers think people need to accept a lower value, particularly when a business is involved.

In that case, the spouse who needs the money “is probably out of luck,” said Kelly A. Frawley, partner at Kasowitz Benson Torres. “There isn’t an argument that they should be able to postpone a valuation by a year or two to see if it goes up.”

She added one exception: The spouse who owns the business may want the other person to share in further depreciation. But it’s a gamble, because the value could rise.

Another part of the negotiations can center on life insurance to guarantee that support payments continue if the paying spouse dies. But the coronavirus outbreak could make getting that insurance more difficult for older people, said Marilyn B. Chinitz, partner at Blank Rome in New York.

“Companies are going to take a second look at how they cover individuals,” she said. Premiums are much higher for people over 60, she added, and some insurance companies are not covering those 70 or older.

The alternative is tying up assets, like a house or an investment portfolio, to secure support payments. But many people balk at that arrangement, so Ms. Chinitz tells clients to get insurance now.

Even though no one is being haled into court, parents still need to behave civilly.

Family court will not look favorably on anyone who uses the pandemic as leverage in a divorce, Jeffrey S. Sunshine, New York’s statewide coordinating judge for matrimonial cases, wrote in the New York Law Journal in March.

Judge Sunshine added that he would consider how parents were behaving toward each other before their court date. “Those who think that there is a lack of consequences to not conducting themselves appropriately during this crisis are wrong,” he wrote.

But some clients need the courts to keep spouses in line, said Dana Stutman, a founding partner of Stutman, Stutman & Lichtenstein in New York. “People who don’t behave anyway, with no immediate spanking from the court, they don’t care,” she said.

Lawyers need the courts, too. Unable to file motions in divorce proceedings, they are engaged instead in what Ms. Stutman called “letter wars.”

“It is childish, but it’s all we can do right now,” she said. “You basically lay out your argument advocating for your client. But the person who has the power has the control.”

As an alternative, some states have virtual courts, which are efficient but have a few drawbacks. Ms. Chinitz said she had attended a virtual court session in Tampa, Fla., from her home in Greenwich, Conn. The judge had his robe on and a Zoom backdrop of his courtroom. But a lot was lost in streaming.

Marking documents as they are entered into evidence is tricky, Ms. Chinitz said. But the client interaction is the real stumbling block.

“Quite often, your proximity to your client allows you to do things privately,” she said. “You can’t whisper to them on Zoom. You can’t kick them under the table and tell them to shut up.”

More complicated still is when assets are held in different countries. Commercial courts in the Cayman Islands have been operating by video since the end of March, in an effort to keep matters like high-dollar divorces moving along, said Robin Rathmell, partner in the Washington and London offices of Kobre & Kim.

“In commercial cases, there’s a reason to do this to keep the world moving, but in criminal law, it would never work,” Mr. Rathmell said. “Divorce cases can range from borderline commercial cases, if there’s a lot of assets, to near criminal cases if there’s child neglect.”

People who have agreed to pay support cannot simply stop if their income has dropped substantially. The first step they must take is to file a motion to modify the payment, Mr. Rubenstein said. Even if the courts are closed to new matters, he added, people should notify their ex-spouse in writing if their income has dropped.

“When the courts reopen, they are going to be incredibly receptive to this,” he said.

A 15 percent drop in income is grounds for modification. “My clients are feeling 50 percent to 80 percent drops,” Mr. Rubenstein said. “These are high earners, but these are quite significant changes.”

If the court is closed, the paying spouse needs to file a motion with the lawyers involved to set a date for the change. Just stopping or reducing payments puts the paying spouse at risk of being ruled in arrears, which comes with penalties and interest.

On the other side, receiving spouses need to protect themselves with language that stipulates how and when support might return to a previous level.

“This is a case of you have to work together,” Ms. Wagner said. “We just don’t know how long this is going to play out.”

Despite the upheaval, lawyers say they have one constant piece of advice: Do not use the pandemic as an excuse to get even with an ex-spouse.

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The Tax-Break Bonanza Inside the Economic Rescue Package

As the federal government dispenses trillions of dollars to save the economy, small businesses and out-of-work individuals are jostling to grab small slices of aid before the funds run out.

But another group is in no danger of missing out: wealthy individuals and big companies that are poised for tax windfalls.

As part of the economic rescue package that became law last month, the federal government is giving away $174 billion in temporary tax breaks overwhelmingly to rich individuals and large companies, according to interviews and government estimates.

Some of the breaks apply to taxes have long been in the cross hairs of corporate lobbyists. They undo limitations that were imposed to rein in the giveaways embedded in a $1.5 trillion tax-cut package enacted in 2017. None specifically target businesses or individuals harmed by the coronavirus.

One provision tucked into the federal economic-rescue law increases the amount of deductions companies are permitted to take on the interest they pay on large quantities of debt. Only companies with at least $25 million in annual receipts can qualify for that break.

Another change lets people deduct even more of their businesses’ losses from any winnings they reaped in the stock market, sharply reducing what they owe in capital gains taxes. Only households earning at least $500,000 a year — the top 1 percent of American taxpayers — are eligible.

And yet another provision in last month’s rescue package allows companies to deduct losses in one year against profits that they earned years earlier. The tax break most likely won’t put any extra cash directly into the hands of companies hit by the current crisis for at least a year.

The bottom line is that, barely two years after congressional Republicans and President Trump lavished America’s wealthiest families and companies with a series of lucrative tax cuts, those same beneficiaries are now receiving a second helping.

Many of the tax benefits in the stimulus are “just shoveling money to rich people,” said Victor Fleischer, a tax law professor at the University of California, Irvine. While the 2017 tax-cut package was a bonanza for big companies and wealthy individuals, in order to keep the law’s overall costs down it imposed a number of restrictions on who could take advantage of certain tax breaks and how much those taxpayers could reap.

Now, with the 2020 stimulus package, Congress has temporarily repealed a number of those limitations.

“Under the cover of the pandemic, they are undoing the perfectly sensible limitations” that moderated the size of the 2017 tax cuts, said H. David Rosenbloom, a corporate tax lawyer at Caplin & Drysdale and head of the international tax program at New York University’s law school. “And taking into account the giveaways in that act, it’s a joke.”

Senator Charles Grassley, the Iowa Republican who is chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, defended the changes. The stimulus law “threw a much-needed financial lifeline to businesses of all sizes, types and industries to give them the best chance to survive,” he said. He added, “The attempt to paint these bipartisan tax provisions as a boon for particular industries or investors completely misses the mark.”

One of the breaks temporarily rolls back the 2017 restriction on how much debt some companies can deduct from their taxes. That restriction was the subject of lobbying for the last two years by big companies, including Coca-Cola and Hewlett Packard Enterprise, according to federal lobbying records. The National Association of Manufacturers, whose board includes executives from Exxon Mobil, Raytheon, and Caterpillar, has pushed lawmakers for similar changes.

Earlier this month, the Joint Committee on Taxation, a nonpartisan congressional body, found that the two other breaks — those that allow people to deduct only-on-paper losses from their tax bills — would go largely to people making at least $1 million a year.

That analysis came in response to requests by the Democratic lawmakers Representative Lloyd Doggett of Texas and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island. On Tuesday, Mr. Doggett introduced legislation that would roll back major chunks of the tax breaks. Among other things, it would no longer let people who earn more than $500,000 to immediately deduct all of that year’s business losses from their capital gains.

“Tax giveaways for a wealthy few shouldn’t have come near a coronavirus relief bill,” said Senator Whitehouse, who plans to introduce a Senate version.

The provision does not single out real estate. But the industry is well known for generating tax losses from depreciation even in profitable years.

The 2017 tax-cut law limited the ability to use those losses. A married couple could shelter only the first $500,000 of their nonbusiness income — such as capital gains from investments — in the year that the loss was generated. Any leftover losses would be rolled over into future years.

The stimulus undoes those restrictions for this year and, retroactively, for 2018 and 2019 — meaning that wealthy households will be able to shield far more of their capital gains from taxation.

The 2017 law also restricted the ability of companies to use so-called net operating losses — which are losses that companies report on their tax returns, even if they are otherwise profitable — to reduce their tax bills. (Net operating losses can include expenses that are only for tax purposes and that don’t reduce profits reported to shareholders.) No longer could such losses from one year be used to retroactively cancel out profits accumulated in previous years, thus generating tax refunds.

The new law temporarily undoes that restriction, enabling companies to use losses in one year to get refunds for previous profitable years.

Big companies, including Morgan Stanley, have lobbied on issues relating to such tax losses as recently as the first few months of this year, according to records compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.

Among the problems with this tax break, critics say, is that it isn’t aimed at the companies hit by the coronavirus pandemic. Under the new law, companies that will suffer big losses in 2020 won’t be able to use those losses to obtain refunds until they file their tax returns at least a year from now.

The provision will quickly put cash into a company’s pockets if it had tax losses from 2019 or earlier — well before the pandemic — that can be applied against profits from preceding years.

“There’s no reason to send money in a blanket form to all the companies that have net operating losses,” said Mr. Fleischer. “We have some amazingly successful companies that don’t pay tax and have net operating losses, and there’s no reason to be subsidizing these companies or expect that money will find its way down to the employees.”

The tax breaks for companies that report losses are likely to be especially lucrative because the 2017 tax law created new deductions that could generate large paper losses — for tax purposes only — for otherwise profitable companies in 2018 and 2019. For example, the 2017 law permitted companies to fully write off certain types of investments in the first year, instead of stretching those deductions over several years. That, in turn, meant companies could report profits to their shareholders but losses on their tax returns.

A third break, worth more than $13 billion over a decade, temporarily loosens 2017 restrictions on how much interest big companies can deduct on their tax returns. Private equity firms, which rely on borrowed money to generate big profits, have been urging the Treasury Department to write favorable rules governing the restrictions on how much interest on their debt companies can deduct from taxes.

The private equity industry is poised to benefit from the rescue package. Companies with at least $25 million in annual revenue are now eligible to deduct more interest from their tax bills — a change that will make the private-equity business model even more lucrative. Private equity firms amplify their profits by using borrowed money to finance their investments. Deducting even more of the interest on that debt from their taxes would further boost their profits.

The tax break “allows private equity to swoop in and scoop up struggling businesses,” said Matthew Rappaport, a tax lawyer who specializes in private equity at Falcon Rappaport & Berkman in New York.

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Banks Gave Richest Clients ‘Concierge Treatment’ for Pandemic Aid

The federal government’s $349 billion aid program for small businesses devastated by the coronavirus pandemic was advertised as first-come, first-served. As many business owners found out, it was anything but.

That’s because some of the nation’s biggest banks, including JPMorgan Chase, Citibank and U.S. Bank, prioritized the applications of their wealthiest clients before turning to other loan seekers, according to half a dozen bank employees and financial industry executives who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the banks’ operations.

Customers of Citi’s private bank, where the minimum account size is $25 million, didn’t have to use an online portal to apply for a loan; they could simply submit paperwork to their banker, who would put in an application on their behalf. At Chase, the nation’s largest bank, nearly all private and commercial banking clients who applied for a small-business loan got one, whereas only one out of every 15 retail banking customers who sought loans was successful. Some banks provided highly personalized, so-called concierge service to their richest clients by enlisting representatives to walk them through every step and submit their paperwork.

The two-tiered system paid off for well-to-do customers: By the time the Paycheck Protection Program ran out of money last week, many top clients of national and regional banks had already had their loans approved.

Other business owners were left empty-handed, and many had struggled from the start. At Chase, a portal accepting preliminary requests to apply was only sporadically accessible on April 3, the first day of the program. The best that customers could hope for was a call back from a Chase representative — days later — to proceed with the next steps.

And a full week after the program’s introduction, Citi’s website was offering retail customers only a chance to submit their names and contact information to express their desire to apply for the program. The bank then reached out to some, but not all, of those customers to invite them to submit full applications; thousands of people never got to apply. Citi’s private banking clients didn’t have to apply online via the portal, according to a person with knowledge of Citi’s operations.

A Citi spokesman said that of the 6,573 loans the bank made in the program, in which it agreed to distribute a total of $1.1 billion, five loans went to private bank clients, worth a total of $25 million. A further 470 loans went to commercial banking clients. The spokesman did not provide the total value of those loans.

Banks, including regional lenders like First Horizon, in Memphis, weren’t entirely driven by financial motives in placing wealthy clients first, even though they stood to make bigger fees from bigger loans. Since banks typically have extensive contact with their wealthiest or biggest clients, who do a lot of business, they already had much of their clients’ financial information, making the paperwork easier. On the other hand, banks had to build new mechanisms for processing loan requests from their retail clients.

Banks typically categorize individuals and small businesses as retail customers, while bigger clients such as professional firms are handled through the commercial operation, where they get more personal attention. Private banks serve extremely wealthy individuals.

At JPMorgan, nearly all of the 8,500 commercial and private banking clients who applied for a loan got one. That included companies like the sandwich chain Potbelly and the pharmaceutical company MannKind. At the same time, only 18,000 of more than 300,000 small-business banking customers who applied through Chase’s retail bank, where they normally did business, got loans, according to the bank. In all, Chase handed out $14 billion through the program — more than any other bank, but still less than half of the $36 billion that customers had sought.

The first tranche of money was distributed in a way that favored larger businesses, according to data from the Small Business Administration. Loans of more than $1 million made up just 4 percent of those approved, but they sucked up 45 percent of the dollars disbursed.

Banks say they will get to more of their small customers when the program reopens. On Tuesday, the Senate approved $320 billion in fresh funding for the program, which is being administered by the S.B.A. The House is expected to approve the funds on Thursday.

This time, $60 billion will be set aside for loans through small banks and community development financial institutions, which reach more mom-and-pop customers.

At JPMorgan, the two-tiered system was in place as soon as the S.B.A. began accepting applications. When the Treasury Department released guidance to banks just hours before the program opened, leaders of Chase’s retail bank hosted a nationwide conference call to provide workers with directions on how to handle customers, according to two employees of the retail bank.

Chase employees were already getting calls and emails from longstanding customers, who thought that their relationships with branch managers and bankers would get them some personal help. On the call, the bank’s leaders told branch employees who normally dealt with customers not to get involved in the application process. If business owners called to ask about their applications — even if they were well-known customers — employees were to tell them not to worry, that their applications were in a queue and would be processed as quickly as possible.

Meanwhile, far wealthier clients in another part of JPMorgan’s sprawling operations were getting the kind of personal attention that the small-business banking customers had sought. These were clients of the private bank — people with at least $10 million in assets — or customers who had gotten loans through JPMorgan’s commercial bank.

A JPMorgan employee was assigned to those customers to shepherd their applications through the process, providing what one person familiar with the operation called “concierge treatment.” They never had to wait for an online portal. They never found themselves in a backed-up queue.

“We worked as quickly as possible in a race against time, volume and manual processes,” said Patricia Wexler, a JPMorgan spokeswoman, in response to questions about how the bank handled customers’ loan requests. “We will work diligently with the S.B.A. and Treasury to serve as many small businesses as possible.”

“The banks should be prevented from giving preference,” said Marc Morial, the chief executive of the National Urban League, a civil rights group based in New York. Mr. Morial noted that 80 percent of all small businesses had just one employee, the owner. For African-American-owned businesses, that percentage was closer to 90 percent.

“They’re family-owned and they don’t have C.F.O.s, financial advisers and lawyers,” he said. “It’s not fair that this is about who has the best connection with their banker.”

Nadeige Choplet, who owns a ceramics studio and gallery in Brooklyn, discovered that Santander had a separate system for some clients only after she informed a business banker there that she was closing the account she’d had for 15 years. Ms. Choplet told the banker she was planning to move her money to another bank, where she thought she might actually have a shot at applying for aid.

For two weeks, she had been calling and making in-person visits to her local Santander branch and speaking with employees, including the branch manager, who knew her well, she said. All of them told her that Santander was not yet ready to take applications. That changed after Ms. Choplet emailed her banker to say she was leaving.

“All of a sudden the door opened,” she said. Her banker told her she had escalated Ms. Choplet’s file and that the bank would take her application manually. Ms. Choplet said she called the branch manager who had earlier told her repeatedly that no applications were being accepted and asked him if he had known they could be done by hand, in person. He said yes.

“I was speaking directly to someone looking into my eyes and telling me, ‘We’re not ready,’” she said. “He lied.” Ms. Choplet didn’t get the loan because the money ran out, but her banker will put in an application once new funds are released.

Laurie Kight, a Santander spokeswoman, said the bank could not comment on specific customers. “Unfortunately, we, like other banks, were unable to help every customer who expressed interest in obtaining a loan from the initial funds Congress appropriated,” Ms. Kight said.

She added that Santander was “working around the clock to expand our processing capacity to be prepared to help as many more customers as possible seek loans when additional funding becomes available.”

At U.S. Bank, bankers were overwhelmed by tens of thousands of applications, each of which required an employee to individually review and verify the borrower’s financial details. A group inside the bank came up with a shortcut for the most lucrative business clients: It put together a dedicated team to handle those V.I.P. customers’ applications. That team processed applications much faster than rank-and-file workers could, according to a person familiar with the bank’s operations.

A U.S. Bank spokesman declined to comment.

At First Horizon Bank, wealthy customers got personal assistance from loan officers. Only about half of $1.6 billion the bank distributed under the program went to small-business customers, according to a spokeswoman, like hair salons and restaurants. Of the 5,500 loans the bank made, the spokeswoman said, 47 percent went to privately owned midsize businesses, a category that could include law firms.

“All of our customers received personal assistance,” said the spokeswoman, Silvia Alvarez.

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Virus Relief Efforts Give Rise to New Tax Strategies

Adam Schwartz, who runs his family’s 100-year-old manufacturing company with his brother, Hy, has spent a month sifting through tax incentives for their business. At the same time, his wealth advisers have made him acutely aware of the personal tax planning options that the economic downturn has created.

Like most small-business owners, Mr. Schwartz said his primary goal was keeping the company, S&S Worldwide, which makes arts and crafts supplies for schools, camps and nursing homes, in a position to recover when the pandemic was over.

“Tax planning has been a multigenerational effort,” he said. “But we’re still fighting a battle on a week-to-week, month-to-month basis. We haven’t caught our breath to say, ‘Hey, this is a great time to transfer wealth to the next generation.’”

But for any entrepreneur or affluent individual, thinking through tax strategies now will reap benefits later.

This would normally be the weekend when most people rushed to file their taxes before April 15, but the filing deadline has been extended to July 15, giving many families some much-needed breathing room. People expecting a refund have been encouraged to file now, but wealthier taxpayers, who generally owe money, have been given a reprieve on both their annual filing and their quarterly payments for the first half of the year.

For those high-net-worth individuals, government relief plans to mitigate the financial impact of the pandemic have created significant opportunities to reduce personal and business tax bills for years, advisers say.

Given the complexity of some of these incentives, coupled with limited time and resources in this crisis, taxpayers may find it difficult calculating which programs are going to provide the most benefits in the long run. They may not be the ones getting the most attention.

Much of the focus has been on the federal government’s $349 billion emergency effort to get money into the hands of small businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program, run by the Small Business Administration. The relief is structured as a loan, but if the business owner spends it according to the agency’s guidelines, it converts to a tax-free grant.

But the program got off to a rocky start. The rush to file for these loans began April 3, but some banks were unable to accept applications then, and applicants remain unsure about when the money will arrive.

Mr. Schwartz said his bank began accepting applications on Monday evening, and he filed his application by Tuesday afternoon. He was worried that he had not received even a confirmation email.

He also applied for another loan, through the S.B.A.’s economic injury disaster loan program. He ticked the box for a tax-free $10,000 emergency grant that was supposed to be delivered to his bank account within 72 hours. More than a week later, the emergency grant money still had not arrived.

“We’re focused on the big ones because these programs will be an infusion of cash,” he said. “It will be meaningful to allow us to operate.”

But some tax advisers have been counseling their more affluent clients to consider other, less-heralded tax provisions that were inserted into rescue bills. These provisions would allow them to keep more cash in their businesses by being taxed at lower rates for longer.

A loan from the Paycheck Protection Program takes care of only eight weeks of payroll, but the employee retention credit and the deferral on the payroll taxes are options that are better suited to some business owners, said Andrew Finkle, a partner in the Philadelphia office of the accounting firm Marcum.

The employee tax credit, for example, allows business owners to take a credit against the employment taxes they pay. The credit is limited to $10,000 for each employee and differs depending on the size of the company. Those with fewer than 100 workers can take the credit for all of them, but for those with more than 100, only employees who are not working but being paid count.

“If the math works out because it extends to the end of the year, and not just for eight weeks, then it might make sense,” Mr. Finkle said. “It makes sense with a manufacturing company where employees aren’t making a great deal of money. It almost pays for itself.”

Business owners can take the employee retention credit or the Social Security tax deferral, which lets them delay payments until 2021 and 2022, but the downside is that the money will be taken out of the loan from the Paycheck Protection Program, said Megan Niedermeyer, head of legal and compliance at Gusto, a payroll company.

More esoteric provisions have been loosened in the relief legislation. One removes the cap on excess business losses. It used to be limited to $500,000 a year, similar to the $3,000 limit on personal investment losses from previous years. Now, any amount of business loss can be applied this year, and the loss could effectively take a company’s tax bill down to zero, Mr. Finkle said.

Another change is on how a net operating loss is counted. Business owners can now look back five years for their 2018, 2019 and 2020 filings and count those losses. Because the tax rate was higher before the 2017 tax changes, losses from then are worth more today. “You could end up with a refund,” Mr. Finkle said.

Personal planning opportunities around these tax incentives could benefit families for generations.

If people have the stomach for it, paying tax now, in some cases, is a shrewd move. One recommendation is to convert a traditional retirement account, where money goes in tax free but is taxed when it comes out, to a Roth I.R.A., where the money is taxed first but then grows tax free.

The conversion is a good move now because the value of the retirement account is surely lower than it was because of the decline in the stock market and much lower than it will be when the market eventually recovers. But the tax has to be paid now, at a time when cash may be tight, said Ken Van Leeuwen, managing director and founder of Van Leeuwen & Company.

For corporate executives who have incentive stock options, now is the time to exercise them and pay the tax if the stock value is depressed. Mr. Van Leeuwen said he had advised executives who believed in the future of their company to pay the tax outright, instead of selling shares to cover it.

“It’s hard to get over that hump,” he said. “When you say it’s time to exercise your I.S.O.s, they’re actually buying a stock and taking on more risk. That’s a harder one right now.”

Estate planning might be easier. Fear of coronavirus health risks has prompted clients to get their wills and health care proxies updated, said Tracy A. Craig, a partner at Mirick O’Connell and a member of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel.

Beyond wills, this is a time for people to think more broadly about the tax consequences of their plan.

Many privately held companies, like their publicly traded counterparts, have seen their value plummet, even if the business remains strong. Transferring ownership stakes to heirs is a good idea, but it might be difficult for business owners to wrap their heads around.

An easier route for high-net-worth individuals looking to transfer wealth might be creating a grantor retained annuity trust, which allows them to give their heirs any future appreciation on the asset in the trust.

If a person put a concentrated portfolio of stock that was down 20 percent into one of these trusts, and that stock rebounded 30 or 40 percent over the next two years, all of the growth above a nominal I.R.S. interest rate would go tax free to the heirs.

These trusts “are the darling of depressed values, low interest rates and volatility,” said Sharon L. Klein, president of family wealth for the Eastern United States at Wilmington Trust. “There is no better time than now.”

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How Philanthropists Are Helping During the Crisis

The coronavirus pandemic is a test of how philanthropists can use their wealth to fill an enormous gap in revenue for nonprofit groups.There is an immediate need to fund nonprofit organizations that support people in health or economic distress because of the outbreak. But these groups are asking for …

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Once Scrutinized, an Insurance Product Becomes a Crisis Lifeline

A type of private insurance that is used by wealthy business owners to cover unlikely risks and that has been challenged by the Internal Revenue Service is proving to be beneficial as the coronavirus pandemic shuts down local economies.The structure, known as a small captive insurance, allows business owners …

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