A $4.1 billion-asset banking company in Illinois has partnered with a national accounting firm to provide wealthy clients with more extensive investment services.
The investment management unit of Amcore Financial Inc. of Rockford is working with McGladrey & Pullen LLP, New York, to create a wealth management service that combines estate, tax, and retirement planning with asset management.
Amcore and McGladrey & Pullen would identify potential clients with $1 million or more to invest and propose the program to them.
Clients who are interested would meet with a representative from each company, who would gather financial information and determine needs.
Then the companies would team up to design a comprehensive wealth management plan.
"We can't be all things to all people. What we want to do is integrate different professional skills on behalf of the client," said Alan W. Kennebeck, chairman of Investors Management Group, the banking company's registered investment adviser. Investors Management has more than $4 billion of assets under management.
Formalized referral relationships can be cost-effective, observers said, particularly for smaller institutions that cannot offer services in-house.
It is expensive for banks to run these programs, and "more and more accounting firms are competing with banks anyway," said Michael P. Kostoff, executive director of VIP Forum, a research firm in Washington that serves the trust and investment management industry.
But formal referral relationships are less common than informal ones, observers said, in part because some banks may fear their well of referrals from other providers would dry up.
You could "alienate everyone else that might be bringing you business," said Geoffrey H. Bobroff of Bobroff Consulting, East Greenwich, R.I.
Investors Management and McGladrey began offering their combined services in September to customers in Des Moines. This month it is being launched in Rockford, Ill., and will be offered in Madison, Wis., next year, Mr. Kennebeck said.
Clients pay a minimum $5,000 fee, which the companies share. Investors Management would charge additional investment management fees, and McGladrey may charge additional consulting fees.
The arrangement lets the companies serve clients better without altering their core business, said Kevin Prust, a senior partner at McGladrey who helped initiate the program. "They do what they do best and we do what we do best."
The arrangement is better than having financial planners sell investment products, he said. "Can they do both? Are they really specialists at both?"
What's more, Investors Management and McGladrey are free to partner with others.
"Neither of us intended it to be an exclusive," Mr. Kennebeck said.
"There are other competitive firms out there that I think we'll both need to work with."