Cicily Maton knew she needed to make herself as available as possible to clients during the market plunge in 2007. The Chicago fee-only firm she founded in 1987, Aequus Wealth Management Resources, stresses the role of emotions in money decisions, and she had to be sure her clients didn't feel alone with their fears.

So she began calling "Town Hall" meetings for her clients in her office. During the worst of the down market, 30 people would attend, with another 20 participating by phone. Over time, clients asked if they could bring other people along. Now the "Town Halls," which she still holds every four to six weeks, are one way Maton's firm introduces itself to prospective clients.

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