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Advisers Team Up To Meet Clients’ Complex Needs

More clients are presenting a host of financial-planning and lifestyle needs that go way beyond managing money. So firms are having their advisers and other support staff work in teams.

Sometimes clients have issues no one financial adviser can handle.

Increasingly, they are presenting a host of financial-planning and lifestyle needs that go way beyond managing money. And as a result, more firms are having their advisers and other support staff work in teams–from researching to crunching numbers to implementing a financial plan, among other things.

“We talk about it as a roundtable,” says Jim Cahn, chief investment officer of Wealth Enhancement Group in Plymouth, Minn., which employs the team approach. “There is no way that one person can do that.”

Mr. Cahn, whose firm manages $3.7 billion in assets, recalls a $3 million client who joined the firm recently to get advice on taxes, retirement planning in different states and setting up a trust for a special-needs child. He says the firm “corralled the people they needed”–an accountant and lawyer with an estate-planning background and a specialist in special-needs trusts.

For Wealth Enhancement and other firms, the decision to work in teams rather than as individual advisers is a result, if not a requirement, of their firms’ expansions.

For instance, Savant Capital Management of Rockford, Ill., which manages $3.7 billion in assets, started as a group of advisers who shared little more than an office space.

But soon “schedules were full, the phones kept ringing, and the questions became more complicated and the cases were larger,” says Chief Executive Brent Brodeski. “We had to make a decision whether we wanted to be a boutique and run our respective practices, or if we want to build a business...

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