St. Louis, Mo. (June 24, 2004) -- Brown Smith Wallace, a 12-partner, $12 million firm based here, has broadened its services and created a family wealth planning practice.

"This is an expansion of services that we had been providing on an as-needed basis," said BSW managing partner Jeff Smith. "We try to be a one-stop financial shop for our clients."

The firm has tapped Michael Niemann to lead the new practice. Niemann, who joined the firm in May, most recently served as the national director of advanced planning for The Northern Trust Co. in Chicago. Prior to that, he spent 14 years at Arthur Andersen as the St. Louis director of family wealth planning and family business consulting. He also served as the regional leader of advanced tax planning for private client services.

"A lot of services were already being offered through BSW, but now we'll be providing them in a more coordinated fashion and enhancing the services," Niemann said.

Enhanced services will include advanced estate planning and high-end income tax planning. The practice will also provide family office services; family business consulting, including succession planning; and comprehensive financial planning. Most of the services will be billed on an hourly basis.

BSW won't provide investment advice or manage money, but will work with clients' outside advisors that provide those services and will work with outside firms to provide services it doesn’t provide, such as insurance. "Were taking a team approach with their other advisors," said Niemann. "We'll be part of the process."

Niemann said the services will be geared toward clients with a minimum net worth of $5 million to $10 million. In addition to working with existing firm clients and establishing relationships with outside advisors, Niemann said the practice will look to work with other accounting firms on advanced planning.

The firm, the second largest locally owned independent CPA firm in the state, has two offices and more than 125 employees, and works primarily with closely held companies and their owners.

-- Melissa Klein Aguilar

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