In today’s hyper-competitive world, most of the large asset-management firms have introduced value-added programs to help differentiate themselves from the competition. Unfortunately, the quality of those programs varies enormously from firm to firm, which leaves many financial advisors skeptical about what to expect when they enroll and disappointed with the outcome.

AllianceBernstein recognized this shortcoming back in 2005 and created the AB Advisor Institute with a mission to provide specialized educational resources to retail financial advisors. Using the tenets of behavioral finance, the AB Advisor Institute introduced a curriculum of actionable practice-management strategies that are designed to measurably improve the commercial success of retail financial advisors.

Over the past 16 years, the AB Advisor Institute curriculum has grown extensively. Currently there are dozens of unique solutions centered around practice-management challenges such as Growing My Business, Standardizing Processes, Deepening Client Engagement and Building Successful Teams. Today, many of the programs are being used industry-wide by successful financial advisors at the largest wealth-management companies in the world.

Practice-Management Resources that Support Advisors

In 2021, AllianceBernstein took two bold steps to help advisors prioritize practice-management needs and improve their business outcomes. First, the company taught every AB Regional Manager the consulting and problem-solving skills needed to conduct the Advisor Institute’s practice-management training, coaching and follow-up support programs.

The coursework ended with a series of rigorous assessment tests and a capstone training event created in collaboration with Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management. Regional Managers who completed the course and passed the tests earned the designation of Certified Practice Management ConsultantSM.

While AB Regional Managers were completing their training and testing, the firm launched a digital initiative further designed to support financial advisors: The AllianceBernstein Digital CoachSM. This interactive diagnostic experience enables advisors to identify their highest priority practice management opportunities and provides a personalized learning plan that can help them address those needs.

As Mark Gessner, Head of US Retail at AllianceBernstein, explains, “AB created this comprehensive approach to better meet customer needs. Through our design process, we discovered that advisors require more support in prioritizing and implementing changes to their business strategy.”

Goodbye Skepticism

Financial advisors who have used the Digital Coach appreciate how it identifies their current point of need and that it helps determine the ways AllianceBernstein can best support that advisor’s business. The individualized approach assures advisors that the programs recommended will be interesting, relevant and valuable. Advisors also feel more confident in attending training sessions that are conducted by a Regional Manager who is a Certified Practice Management Consultant.

Click here for more information about the Digital Coach, the Certified Practice Management Consultant designation and programs available from AB Advisor Institute.

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