Accordion's Project-Based Workers Soon To Receive Added Benefits And Cultivate More Philanthropic Projects

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Accordion Partners, the new firm known for offering project-based work to investment bankers who support private equity portfolio companies, I-banks and other firms requiring consulting services, enjoys bucking Wall Street tradition. On its Web site the company brags that weather permitting its employees are "the hardest working people in flip-flops."

Now, the firm is rolling out a few additional benefits for its family of professionals in its offices in lower Manhattan's fashionable SoHo district.

Accordion's project workers already have access to a preferred provider [PPO] health network which the company sponsors at 100% once bankers hit a 120-hour-a-month threshold.

The program pays "at least 80%" of costs within the approved provider network, and offers medical as well as prescription drug benefits, Accordion co-founder and COO Andrew Blechman told eFinancialCareers. So far, about 30% of Accordion's professionals qualify for the health plan.

Now, the firm is also finalizing a program with a local fitness chain, which plans to waive its initiation fee for those who sign up with the health club through Accordion.

Blechman and Accordion co-founder and CEO Nick Leopard are both fitness buffs-each were captains of their college lacrosse teams, and both of them ran the 2010 New York City Triathlon.

The two have decided to pay the first $250 in race fees for any Accordion professional running in an event of any kind-"a marathon, 5K, 10K, or what have you," says Blechman. Leopard is currently training for the New York City 2011 Marathon, raising funds for Zara's Center, which provides assistance to AIDS orphans and other vulnerable children in Zimbabwe.

Beyond that, Accordion wants its people to know it is has begun to do pro-bono work and means to do more philanthropic projects going forward. Currently, one of Accordion's project workers is helping with a project that will help to supply water to villages in rural parts of India through a joint venture involving a large dairy and watering station.

The project is in "the pilot stage," says Sonny Thadani, an Accordion vice president of business development. Ultimately, "Its goal is to supply water to up to 1,000 villages and about two million people in the next three years," Thadani says, explaining that Accordion is working on structuring and modeling the agreement between the dairy and investors.

According to Blechman, Accordion- which now has 2,500 resumes on file and 25 people on its current roster of qualified banking professionals-hopes to become involved with more work of this kind going forward.

"Doing charitable work is immensely fulfilling for our professionals. It's an endeavor that we support and will actively promote as we grow," explains the COO.

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