In Memoriam: Arden Down, 87

Worked at MHT, Chemical, Chase Manhattan and Chase Investment Services Group

(As seen in the San Francisco Chronicle)

Arden Down, recruited in 1986 by Manufacturers Hanover Trust to head its retail financial planning unit, and an alumna as well of Chemical Bank and Chase Manhattan, died on July 17, 2023 in New York.  


Born Arden de Martini, she was a third generation San Franciscan. She lived in San Francisco until she was six years old when she moved to the Peninsula and lived in Atherton for many years. She attended Castilleja School for Girls in Palo Alto for primary and secondary education and two years at UC Berkeley, where she was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority and an active volunteer - something that became a lifelong passion.

Marrying young, she, her husband and two children lived on nine bases in the United States, France and Germany in the four years her husband was in the Air Force, before settling in Palo Alto. Arden joined The Junior League of San Francisco in 1962 and then the Junior League of Palo Alto. Volunteering in the Ravenswood Elementary School, she recruited, trained, and managed volunteers working in classrooms under the supervision of teachers. Eventually, there were 81 volunteers helping children with reading and other skills where they were challenged. She was invited by Foothill College to develop a day-long program called Volunteers in Education Workshop highlighting the multiple ways volunteers could serve in classrooms. Educators from around the country came to speak to the 400 educators and parents who attended. This led to a similar event at the College of San Mateo as well as a statewide campaign and a change in the law making it legal to use volunteers in classrooms.

While actively volunteering in East Palo Alto, Arden became involved in Counterpart, created by Hewlett & Packard, that for every community initiative formed there would be two co-chairs, one black and one white. Although there was a Boys' Club, there were no recreational programs for girls after school. Canvasing the community to determine if parents supported the idea for a Girls' Club, she and her co-chair initiated the process of founding and funding the Girls' Club of the Mid-Peninsula. After proving they could raise money, they submitted a grant proposal and the Girls' Club was then established and funded by the United Way. Arden was also active in the Peninsula Volunteers.


In 1971 she returned to college (this time Stanford) to complete her undergraduate degree and earn her Master's in Psychology. She later was licensed in California as a Marriage Family Child Therapist and worked in that profession until her move to New York in 1980.

In New York, Arden joined the American Management Associations as a Training and Development Specialist. delivering and designing three-to-five-day management training programs. Then, she worked as a management consultant on assignments for corporations including The Equitable, DuPont, IBM and the American Management Associations in the United States and abroad.


Returning to school again, Arden became a Certified Financial Planner. She joined Cigna Individual Financial Services as a Financial Consultant, developing comprehensive financial plans for business owners and professionals.


In 1986, Manufacturers Hanover Trust recruited her to head up their retail financial planning unit. She was employed by Manufacturers Hanover, Chemical Bank and Chase Manhattan Bank during their mergers.


By today's standards, Arden was late to start experiencing the joy of travel. Initially she went on budget trips – the first to India and Nepal, then camping trips to New Guinea and Thailand. Eventually she visited more that 80 countries; a favorite was Botswana, though camping in the Amazon Forest was also very special. As an officer of a Bank, she divided her four weeks of vacation between traveling the world and visiting family.

Until year-end 1999, Arden directed investment advisory and financial planning services, selecting and helping to develop the software used each for the private bank, high net worth, and retail bank clients. She also managed retirement and insurance products for Chase Investment Services Group, a subsidiary of Chase Manhattan Bank. She was the editor of the weekly internal investment newsletter

and a founding member of the CISC Investment Policy Committee.

In 2000, she completed a trip to Bosnia with Catholic Relief Services and on her return was invited to give presentations on her experience and observations on the devastating effects of the war in former Yugoslavia.

Arden's articles were published by Warren, Gorham & Lamont in the Journal of Compensation and Benefits and in Personal Financial Planning, along with articles that appeared in the American Management Association's publications. She was a member of the CFP Board's 1996 National Advisory Council on Financial Planning, and she served as an officer on the board of the New York Chapter of the Financial Planning Association. In addition, Arden was the 2011 winner of New York Women's Agenda Galaxy Award in recognition of her inspirational work for the Women of New York City.

Arden is survived by her son Eric Down, daughter Julie Down, Eric's wife Mary Kay, her three grandchildren Kate Morton (Down), Nancy Down, Brian Down, and two great grandsons – Will and George Morton.





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