As the newly wealthy have begun to dominate the high-net-worth classes, old truths are fading.

Auto mechanics, escorts and lawyers charge by the hour, so it's not surprising that private bankers and wealth managers have eschewed the practice. But according to David Irwin, director of the VIP Forum, the financial-services practice of the Corporate Executive Board of Washington, a number of financial planners and managed account divisions of fund firms have already begun hourly billing, and others are considering it.

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