Citigroup's top financial advisors are headed back to school.
The global banking giant has formed an institute in partnership with The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania that opens its doors next month in Philadelphia and Beijing.
The first 80 advisors to attend the Citi Wharton Global Wealth Institute on the two campuses will participate in an intensive three-and-a-half-day training course that is the capstone of a broader three-year executive education program.
Additional campuses are expected to open in Latin America and Europe beginning in 2016, Citi said.
The new institute is a hat tip to Citi's more than 3,700 financial advisors serving more than 1 million affluent and high-net-worth clients worldwide, said Rodolfo Castilla, the global head of Wealth Management Products and Platforms at Citi. The advisor force deserves the recognition and training that is "top-notch" as they are at "the center of our business model," he said.
The Citi Wharton Global Wealth Institute's curriculum includes instruction and experiential learning aimed at helping participants enhance their business acumen and leadership skills.
Advisors will be selected to participate in the program based on a combination of quantitative and qualitative measures, Castilla said. The goal is to train 300 to 400 advisors every year for the next three years.
"It's very ambitious, but we have a lot of people behind it," Castilla said.
The Wharton program begins two months prior to advisors' on-campus training, with a series of webinars and online courses. Following their on campus experience, advisors participate in two additional months of on-the-job training.
Advisors go through a second round of training the following year, again engaging in two months of work both prior to and after their participation at the global institute.
All advisors, regardless of whether they're chosen to participate in the rigorous executive training program at Wharton, complete one full year of training consisting of internal Citi courses.
"Citi is refining what advisors will look like in the future and expanding the horizon of their role with customers," Christopher Geczy, academic director of the Wharton Wealth Management Initiative, said in a statement. "This program will impart supportive knowledge and skills in areas ranging from client service to the deep expertise of technical wealth management and on to leadership, ethics and personal effectiveness, all of which are critical for serving clients broadly at a world-class level."