Jobs in Banks: How Banks Prepare Employees for Clients

Banks have special programs to prepare their employees to deal with particularly profitable customers.
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Private banks are looking for wealthier clients, who typically have assets of at least $10 million.

Counselor training can take years and range from case studies to role plays.

Business Insider spoke to four major banks about how they prepare their employees to work with their most important clients.

Wealth management is a core business area of ​​many banks. Many of them compete for this lucrative group of clients, often with assets of at least $10 million.

Bank employees who work with this group are put first in their stride. This includes hundreds of hours of teaching, sometimes spanning years, plus exams, case studies, and — more tests. In this list, you can see how leading US banks prepare their employees to work with wealthy clients.

JP Morgan

David Frame, head of private banking at JPMorgan, is looking for employment. His company wants to hire up to 1,500 new banking consultants over the next five years. This is twice the current number of employees.

About half of these advisors will be JPMorgan analysts, most of whom are recent college graduates. These young analysts must complete 250 hours of training over three years, consisting of a mix of live and self-study on topics such as alternative investments and lending.

There are no written exams, but analysts are tested in role-playing with fictional clients, which Frame compares to language courses. “We treat many of these subjects as a foreign language. You have to be able to master it,” Frame said.

Morgan Stanley

Every advisor in the wealth management department must pass a live case study exam in order to work with key clients. Only about 60 percent pass the test on the first attempt, and about 75 percent pass it after repeated attempts.

“We don’t have a set number of participants we want to pass the program,” said Alex Chester, who heads the bank’s wealth management practice. “We want to make sure that consultants can work with the company’s best clients.”

In the case study, Morgan Stanley executives pretend to be a high-net-worth client and their accountant or attorney. Consultants are given one hour to talk to the fictitious client and another three hours to make detailed recommendations.

Goldman Sachs

After three years at Goldman Sachs, approximately 25 to 40 analysts from the bank’s wealth division were selected for the advisory program.

The two-year course focuses on training young graduates to communicate with clients and forget about the “language of business school,” according to Goldman partner David Fox. Trainees complete Verbal Acuity exercises almost every day, during which they have to answer questions from imaginary clients. The course culminates with three case studies covering portfolio strategy and estate planning, as well as a written and oral exam.

American bank

Bank of America analysts rotate between four divisions within the private bank and work alongside experienced bankers, credit and portfolio managers.

This “apprenticeship model” helps young graduates find their specialty, says Jessica Walsh, who directs junior private banking training. At the end of the two-year program, analysts choose one of 25 special groups for the bank, such as wealth planning, philanthropy, or investment planning. Case studies are an integral part of the programme, including a final case study with 15 possible outcomes. Analysts actually deal with actual clients during their training.

This text was translated by Lisa Ramos-Dossi from English. You can find the original here.

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