Dain Rauscher is starting to develop a corps of wealth managers among its 1,100 brokers, starting with about 175, who are enrolled in a 30-day training regimen. Eventually, the firm plans a three- to six-month course that, "over time" will be available to all Dain reps. The new plan was launched this summer at the company’s annual three-day business development symposium in Scottsdale, Ariz. According to spokeswoman Trace Landowski, the program will continue to operate following the merger between Dain and Tucker Anthony Sutro.

"I think it’s terrific," said one Minnesota-based Dain rep. "All firms should do it. If you’re really going to focus and do a good job for your clients, you probably need fewer clients and therefore the (clients) you have need to be bigger. So you need to become an expert on the needs of those bigger, more affluent clients."

The wealth management platform will tie together several products and services that Dain already offers affluent clients, which it defines as those who have between $100,000 and $5 million in investable assets. The idea is to focus on the three key financial concerns most affluent investors share: wealth accumulation, wealth protection and wealth transfer. As part of its training, Dain said it will call on some of its approved-list separate account money managers to train firm reps in specialties such as tax management. The plan also means that clients will be profiled using one standard document rather than different ones for insurance, estate planning, managed money and other needs.

Dain executives are adamant in assuring that the new process isn't meant to automatically winnow out smaller clients. As explained by Tim Paulin, director of private client services: "Some brokers will say, ‘I’ve got a great team and the capacity to serve several hundred clients.’ Others may say, ‘My goal is to serve no more than a hundred at a time.’ We’re helping them make determinations about which clients they are going to serve and which they can not."

Three criteria determined the selection of Dain’s initial class of 175 reps: their tenure in the business (three to seven years was the desired range), whether they use Dain’s proprietary financial planning tool, and whether they’ve taken other professional development courses geared to consultant-based business.

Why weren’t more experienced reps targeted?

"You’ve also got to be realistic," said Paulin, "We’re not going to recommend that very successful brokers make dramatic changes. If they’re very successful, they’ll see value in the tools we’re developing for this group of 175. If they see things that we do well and that they don’t have to do for themselves, they’ll see this as a leverage pin in their business." 

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