There are people who cannot imagine living anywhere but New York City, and then there are those who cannot wait to escape it.

Investment adviser Gerard T. Morda belongs to the latter group.

A former banker who spent over two decades working in New York, Mr. Morda has few regrets about his move from low-lying Gotham to the foothills of Colorado's Rocky Mountains.

An avid runner, he used to run at 4 a.m. in New York just to make it to work on time. But he began to dread the crime and his long commute from his home on Long Island into Manhattan.

So, after talking things over with his wife, Kathy, he decided to ask his employer, Zweig Securities Corp., for a transfer to Colorado.

"We felt we could do better for ourselves" than to live in New York, Mr. Morda says.

The change also got Mr. Morda thinking about his professional life. After three years of marketing mutual funds to banks for Zweig, Mr. Morda decided to become an entrepreneur.

He has just started his own practice, advising affluent clients in the Boulder area about financial planning and investment.

Having trademarked the term "private client services" in Colorado and affiliated himself with an investment advisory firm, Mr. Morda is hoping to knock on many doors for a clientele.

He is looking to work with community banks with less than $100 million of assets, advising their clients on risk-averse financial planning and investments.

Mr. Morda says that in doing so he will be helping those banks keep their better customers out of the hands of the big regional banks and brokerages that have moved in aggressively.

Mr. Morda, who is operating out of an office in Boulder and his home in nearby Niwot, will charge a fee based on the kind of products and services given to the client.

He is not without his share of competition. In downtown Boulder, a plethora of brokerage firms - most of them "doing very well," he says - line Walnut Street, the Wall Street of the city, waiting for affluent clients.

But Mr. Morda says he's not worried about the competition. The Rocky Mountains are awash with wealthy prospects moving out of metropolitan areas, he says.

Along with Boulder, Jackson Hole and Telluride have been big attractions to "trust fund kids" and other newcomers, Mr. Morda says. He says he plans to bond with such newcomers. He watches home sales, mailing business announcements to new homeowners.

Finally, Mr. Morda plans to capitalize on his running connections, making contact with elite athletes who frequent Boulder, a magnet for professional and top amateur runners.

Presently in training for a qualifier race to the Boston Marathon this fall, Mr. Morda, 45, spends several hours a day running over Boulder's hilly terrain, training with a former Olympian runner.

Quite a change from the decades Mr. Morda spent traveling abroad as a private banker for several banks, including Citibank and Bank of New York - "an exciting life when you're young, but not later," he says.

Nowadays Mr. Morda does not have to worry about waking up at dawn, locking up his house, or installing a car alarm.

"It's a much more relaxed and safer atmosphere here" he says. "For a couple of extra years added to your life expectancy, it's not a bad trade- off.'

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