Bigger may or may not be better when advisory firms merge, but collaboration is what really counts, say principals at the newly bulked-up Modera Wealth Management.

"Everybody talks about mergers, but making changes for the betterment of the entire firm is the hard part," says John Ceparano, a founder of Joseph Capital Management (or, more commonly, JCM) -- a Florida firm outside Tampa firm that merged this summer with New Jersey and Boston-based Modera. "We started collaborating before the merger as like-minded people committed to using the best qualities of both firms, and continued from there."

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