Hilliard Lyons, along with the Wharton School and College of Financial Planning, is rolling out a new wealth planning course for advisors that aims to improve personalized service to clients.

The program provides strategies, leadership development, practice management skills, and insights into the latest technologies that can help advisors improve and strengthen their relationships with high-net-worth individuals, according to Hilliard Lyons.

Darryl Metzger, the firm's executive vice president and director of the Private Client Group, says 200 advisors have already enrolled for the course, which begins in the spring of 2016.

The training also complements AWMA certification, Metzger says. Advisors, however, still have to go through the CFFP to get the certification.

The six-month course requires advisors to train out of Hilliard Lyons's office in Louisville Ky., before switching to online training, and later ending at Wharton’s campus in Philadelphia.

“Especially in today’s world, with the ongoing commoditization [of investment advice] in place, the way you run your business ultimately leads to betterment of clients,” says Chris Geczy, academic director, Wharton Wealth Management Initiative.

Hilliard Lyons wants advisors and branch managers to have expertise  deal with high net-worth clients, technical knowledge, and leadership development and also practice management skills, Geczy says.

According to Metzger, the program will “continue to enhance the skills and technical knowledge based on what is going on in the business right now, any tax law change or any fundamental changes will be covered.”

Hilliard Lyons based the program on similar training that was recently rolled out to the firm's branch managers. Shawn Perry, a branch manager in Bowling Green, Ky., said  the training focused on wealth-planning essentials, and included leadership instruction taught by Todd Henshaw, director of executive leadership programs at the Wharton School.  Metzger adds that in addition to the school's faculty, the course also involves attorneys and lawyers working with Hilliard Lyons.

Perry says that he hopes to pass on some of what he learned in the course in his capacity as a branch manager. He expects the leadership training, especially, will help him guide younger advisors on his team.

Perry said he already had a personal touch with clients, going into the course. He recalled driving nearly 4 hours to get from Bowling Green to Middleton, Tenn., just to meet with a prospect. Both he and Metzger agree that clients feel more comfortable in a setting they are used to being in, and talking in person aids the planning process as a whole.

Firms throughout the industry offer training programs, but Metzger remains confident that the new course will help to differentiate his Hilliard Lyons. Geczy agrees.

“There’s a huge amount of knowledge out there," Geczy says.  "And at Wharton, we help [advisors] try to understand what is value adding, [and what is not].”

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