Industry data projects that by 2010, nearly half of all CPA firms will, to some degree, be providers of financial services to affluent clients.This represents a dramatic leap from the situation today, when only 19.4 percent of CPA firms are currently providing financial services to this client base. The opportunity is there, but to tap into it, firms must expand their capabilities and services, which increasingly involves building alliances with insurance and benefit companies.

A quick snapshot of the services vying for share of mind of the affluent market is instructive. Full-service brokers (at 43 percent) represent the lion's share of providers servicing the affluent. They are followed by certified financial planners (18 percent); registered investment advisory firms, or RIAs (8.6 percent); investment managers (7 percent); and another 23.4 percent are represented by other service areas. To this mix, we need to add mutual fund representatives, banks, lawyers, insurance agents, and online advisory and brokerage services.

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