Merrill Lynch is taking advisor training in a new direction in an effort to harness the perks of teaming up.

The newly announced Team Financial Advisor track will expanding on Merrill Lynch's long-existing Practice Management Development training program. The new classes will add advanced training focused on supporting teams and is intended to train advisors to help run efficient practices, according to a statement from the firm.

The new TFA training allows participants the opportunity to directly join Merrill Lynch advisor teams or "enhance specific functional role[s]," according to the statement. The team-oriented training program not only helps new advisors join the firm, it is also intended to better facilitate succession planning for the firm's more senior advisors.

TFA program participants are given the option of concentrating on one of the following aspects of the team space:

  • Business Development
  • Planning
  • Investments and Financing
  • Relationship Management
  • Business Management

The new program is likely the wirehouse's latest attempt to nurture and develop the next generation of advisors, says Danny Sarch, president at Leitner Sarch Associates.
"If you add a component by which you are training the trainers and matching them up properly with a leader on a team -- who will actually teach the advisor something -- you have a better chance of it succeeding," Sarch says.

The program spans 31 months and is divided into multiple phases. The core training of the PMD is incorporated into the new track, but trainees receive advanced training in a specific practice area. The inaugural TFA class will begin in August, with new sections each month, according to a Merrill Lynch spokesperson.

Merrill's PMD program will continue to exist in its own right. The 43-month-long program started in 1946 and currently has 3,100 participants.

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