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About our Advisor Mastery Program (AMP) for new financial advisors

The Advisor Mastery Program (AMP) takes a different approach to training new advisors – one that is beginning to pay dividends.

Matt Ransom loves a challenge.

So, naturally, Matt, vice president of new FA development, liked the idea of helping people conditioned to think one way see around new corners. He liked the idea of tapping into the next generation, one with unique career motivations and expectations. Most of all, he liked the idea of tackling something the financial services industry historically has not done well, which was build an advisor development program that challenged the norms and gave new advisors a chance to succeed.

He took on – and met – those challenges with AMP.

“If any firm can do this, we can,” Matt said.

Launched in 2012, AMP focuses on what makes Raymond James advisors different: They own their businesses and are creating a legacy. It is designed for people starting a new business or joining a team, to help train and develop the next generation of financial advisors.

Through distance learning, home-office classes with an interactive approach, and one-on-one coaching, AMP helps prepare trainees for all aspects of the business, including getting licensed, getting a product list and meeting a deadline for earning assets.

The two-year program teaches new advisors how to build deep and meaningful connections with prospects and clients, with a concentration on planning that helps trainees reach milestones and close skills gaps. AMP helps people ask good questions, listen and run an effective meeting.

The home-office sessions are reinforced with distance learning, with trainees participating in activities, critiquing their classmates, and watching video of themselves and classmates in action. Then, one-on-one coaching occurs with a registered corporate AMP coach. Mentors are also provided close to the trainee’s home base, providing an opportunity to learn from a successful advisor, ask questions and observe how a successful advisor operates.

The first four months are devoted to obtaining the necessary Series 7 and 66 licenses. The next 20 months guide trainees through the four zones of the Practice Intelligence model: marketing and connecting with clients, financial planning and investing, establishing a service model, and refining your practice.

Most classes have 40 participants. Typically, half of the trainees have industry experience, half do not. The program has grown from training 77 advisors a year to 255 last year alone. Recently, the firm launched the 25th class in AMP history. Not unlike members of a high school or university class, graduates keep in touch and form a valuable professional network.

“You’re going to get to know your 39 classmates well,” Matt said. “Our belief is that your peer network is vital to your long-term success. Therefore, we put you in a position to get to know your classmates well and foster deep relationships.” style=

Another angle

At first, Matt assumed he would be focusing his efforts on advisors who were new to the business. He soon realized the program had meaningful implications for existing advisors as well.

“The reverse mentoring that occurs in AMP is extraordinary. It’s fun to watch the excitement and energy new advisors can bring to the office or team.”

AMP not only helps train new advisors, but also helps identify them.

Pictured here from left back: team members Matt Ransom, Lori Raiti, Dave Timmons, Alyse Chatelain, David Patchen; From left front: Melissa Winebarger and Julie Pressnell.

“The talent acquisition team is always looking to source top talent to join AMP. Talent advisors assist candidates with learning about the benefits of pursuing a career as a financial advisor and can help candidate’s assess whether this is the right career path for them,” said Tarah Harkins, director of campus recruiting and AMP pipeline development.

Two hiring scenarios are most common: growth and succession. Hiring for growth is exciting, allowing an existing advisor to focus on a new initiative by delegating responsibilities to a new advisor. The key to success is finding someone with skills to succeed and the personality to fit the team.

Which leads to the latest AMP breakthrough.

Not long ago, AMP’s trainee assessment tool considered five characteristics when evaluating a candidate. Now, the firm offers a holistic resource to identify a candidate’s strengths and opportunities. Based on interviews in 2016 with successful advisors whose businesses were growing, the new assessment considers 25 core characteristics. For more information about the Advisor Mastery Program, click here.