When Alin Wall meets with clients these days, she feels more like an armchair therapist than a financial adviser.

Wall, a local accountant who works with high-net-worth families on estate and trust matters, said that since the economy soured she has found herself fielding calls from clients needing to be consoled about their finances.

? had a client come in right before tax season started, and he? normally a very robust, gregarious kind of person ?and he was incredibly down,?said Wall, who co-heads the family wealth group at West L.A. accounting and business consulting firm RBZ LLP. ?e looked depressed and he sat down in front of my desk and said, ? don? know where to turn. I had all of my money in the stock market or in real estate or in my retail business, and everything is in the tank. There is no place where I feel like I?e done a good job.?

The recession has been tough all around, but in some ways it has been especially unkind to L.A.? wealthiest residents, most of whom saw their net worth decline across the board as retirement plans, stock and bond investments, and real estate portfolios lost value.

Unlike some past downturns, even the wealthiest haven? been able to shield their fortunes. As a result, financial advisers like Wall are finding that their clients often need a shoulder to cry on, expanding their traditional role to include a form of counseling in which they aren? trained.

? had to sit there and say to him, ?on? blame yourself for this. Everybody who is here is exactly in the same boat you are in,? said Wall of the distraught client.

It? not surprising to some industry experts that people are currently turning to their financial advisers to have their fears calmed.

Elvin Turner, founder of Bloomfield, Conn., financial services consulting firm Turner Consulting LLC, said he has been watching the role of the wealth adviser expand.

? envisioned the role evolving to a counseling role over a period of time, and the fall accelerated that dramatically. When clients had fully loaded portfolios and a lot of assets, they didn? have a lot of problems to talk about,?he said. ?eople want to talk about issues that seem to have little to do with their investment portfolios.?p>

Exercising caution

Jay Cooper, a high-profile entertainment lawyer whose clients include comedian Jerry Seinfeld and pop music singer Katy Perry, signed up with a new wealth management firm less than a year ago after becoming disenchanted with his previous adviser of many years.

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