Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:45 pm
Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc. recently consolidated three of its suburban wealth management offices into a new, 16,892-square-foot location in Pewaukee at One Riverwood Place, N17 W24222 Riverwood Drive.
The consolidated Pewaukee office is Baird’s second-largest office in Wisconsin. Baird’s office in downtown Milwaukee is the only larger office in the state.
The new office with 58 employees is a consolidation of the firm’s Waukesha, Wauwatosa and Franklin offices, said Susan Bellehumeur, branch manager and a managing director with Baird. Putting the merged office in Waukesha County made sense because of the county’s emerging prominence, she said.
“There is a recognition that Waukesha is a growing area,” Bellehumeur said. “There’s a lot going on. The county is experiencing great growth, and it makes sense that we are part of that from our location.”
“We looked at a lot of real estate, but we kept coming back to this space. It seemed to be a natural location for our business and business model.”
The Pewaukee office handles a broad range of financial services for individuals, family foundations, corporations, retirement plans and endowment plans, Bellehumeur said.
The office opened in February, and was originally a consolidation of the former Waukesha and Mayfair Mall offices. Personnel from the Franklin office moved into the new facility on June 1.
Baird’s new wealth management office has been designed differently than the firm’s older facilities, Bellehumeur said. The central part of the office, where most work is done, has low walls and open walkways, designed to encourage collaboration and communication between co-workers. And a broad range of experience and age in the firm’s team is making that collaboration and communication pay off.
“I’m seeing and I think clients are feeling it,” Bellehumeur said. “People that didn’t have the opportunity to talk (to one another before) can now do a lot of collaboration within this branch.”
The consolidation of the three offices, along with the open concept that encourages the sharing of information, should lead to better client services and returns, Bellehumeur said.
“For our clients in general, a lot of financial situations can be more complex,” she said. “We’ve pooled talents and expertise. Putting them under one roof allows us to give the best advice and service to our clients.”
The new office was designed to meet the diverse needs of Baird’s wealth management clients. There are three different meeting areas in the new office, each tailored for a different type and style of meeting.
The largest meeting room looks like a typical conference room, with enough space to hold 12 to 15 people. Electronic controls raise and lower shades and operate a retractable screen for Power Point or video presentations.
A smaller meeting room has similar features, but has a plasma-screen TV mounted on the wall instead of a projection screen. And a third room has overstuffed chairs and a couch instead of a meeting room for smaller groups or families making emotional financial decisions.
“Clients feel that this is a positive and welcoming environment,” Bellehumeur said. “‘Warm’ is a word I’m hearing a lot. It’s incumbent on us (as financial advisors) to take away some of the mystique from it. And with a warm environment, I hope that helps.”
Technology plays an important role in the meeting areas as well. Baird’s Pewaukee office is networked with wireless Internet capabilities, Bellehumeur said. And its conference rooms feature Internet-based live video conferencing capabilities.
“With our technological capabilities, we can connect with an accountant, lawyer or family members that can’t be here,” she said. “And for those clients that this office isn’t convenient for, we can always go to their business, home or their attorney’s or accountant’s office.”