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MONEY MANAGEMENT

Cardinal Investment Advisors

Fredbird, the mascot of Major League Baseball's St. Louis Cardinals, drops in at the office for a surprise visit and a group picture to help a very lucky employee at the firm celebrate her birthday.

Employees offer clients over and above service, and reap many rewards

Fourth place, managers with 20 to 49 employees

Employees at Cardinal Investment Advisors are willing to go the distance, literally, for their colleagues and clients.

Cardinal was launched the week of Sept. 2, 2001. With planes grounded the following week, Cardinal officials hopped in cars to reach clients they hoped to bring over from their previous jobs. Six clients were gained through those efforts, said Clayton, Mo.-based Managing Director Scott Skornia.

More recently, when a delayed plane threatened to make Mr. Skornia late for a meeting with clients in Louisville, Mr. Skornia decided to drive the roughly four hours to the meeting. This above and beyond attitude carries over to employees' dealings with each other, which employees touted in Pensions & Investments' Best Places to Work in Money Management survey. The firm also was a winner in 2015.

“There is a definite feel of a collegial atmosphere here that I haven't seen anywhere else,” one employee wrote. “It's like working for a very successful, respected sports team or something. Everyone does their best work for the entire team and when someone needs help other people offer it up.”

When a winter storm stranded Cardinal employees in Boston, for instance, Cardinal's late co-founder and managing director, Rick Beard, drove himself and another colleague home.

Another surveyed employee remarked: “Cardinal has the best emphasis on a work-life balance of any company with which I am familiar. I feel similarly on the balance between fun and seriousness in our workplace.”

For Mr. Skornia's 40th birthday, employees transformed the Clayton-Mo. office into a nine-hole put-put course complete with water hazards and cardboard cutouts of another employee's face. Other milestone birthdays have elicited visits from Fredbird, the St. Louis Cardinals' mascot and airhorns under chairs and desks covered in aluminum foil. Spontaneous table tennis games in the Missouri office help keep things light on any given day, Cardinal Managing Partner Sean M. Kane said.

This article originally appeared in the December 12, 2016 print issue as, "Cardinal Investment Advisors".