While the broad U.S. stock market posted a superlative gain of more than 30% last year, some well-known stocks produced much better numbers. Best Buy, Micron Technology and Netflix, for example, all tripled in 2013. Several small-caps soared even higher: Zhone Technologies, a network solutions company, returned over 1,000% last year.

As might be expected, some clients aspire to such success. “We get requests periodically,” says Ron Weiner, president of RDM Financial Group in Westport, Conn. “Often, it’s from a client who has heard about a promising company in his or her industry and wants to buy some stock.” If the proposed purchase doesn’t fit into his firm’s strategy for that investor, Weiner will arrange a small account for the client’s pursuit of superior returns. Such a practice may be known as letting clients have a modest “Las Vegas” or “play money” account for speculation.

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