August, that lazy month of summer, is finally here.

Many advisors at the wirehouses and regional broker-dealers and their clients are most likely taking a rest. But as On Wall Street found, there are those in the employee advisory channel who are never really off duty summer or winter. “It’s very difficult to be off the clock because of how invested we are personally from a relationship standpoint,” says Charles Balducci, a managing director in wealth management at Merrill Lynch, with $2.5 billion AUM.

So it’s no surprise how Balducci approaches his clients, and even their relatives. “Whether it be our children going to school together, attending weddings, attending funerals, many of our clients have become lifelong friends,” he tells OWS contributor Elliot M. Kass in our cover story. Balducci’s personal touch makes him the type of advisor who blurs the lines between individual interests and professional lives, to the benefit of everyone involved.

Margaret Starner of Raymond James has been writing to her clients, family and friends for more than 30 years. In “Margaret’s Musings,” which she started as a newsletter and now posts as a blog, she blends conversation about personal items like her Fourth of July holiday celebration with broader topics including geopolitics and finances. “The more personal [my blog], the more comments I get,” she tells OWS. “People like knowing what makes you tick.”

Clearly, these advisors who leverage their life stories and personal concerns into their work are on to something. Their firms are aware of their endeavors, in some cases offering official recognition.

Michael Nutt of Wells Fargo, featured on this month’s cover at his home in Los Angeles, is an activist for gay rights. Earlier in his career, while an advisor at Morgan Stanley, he created a financial planning seminar for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender couples; the firm awarded him the inaugural John J. Mack Leadership Award. Patty Estopinal at Baird, who organizes food drives with her coworkers, received the firm’s highest community service honor, the Brenton H. Rupple Citizenship Award, in March.

Advisors who prefer this mix of lifestyle and work find it’s a winning formula for success. Jim Orr of Edward Jones explains that he has strong friendships with many of his clients that all began with money. “When you talk money, you talk life,” he says. His clients must agree.

Interviews with 10 advisors at top firms gave OWS insight into this compelling side of advisor life — don’t miss it.

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