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With bonuses still robust on Wall Street, it may seem like the economic crisis has yet to trigger real systemic change. It has, however, prompted changes in Wharton’s Aresty Institute of Executive Education.

Specifically, the crisis has resulted in the creation of the Wharton Wealth Management Initiative’s Client Relationship Program — a new three-day program that recognizes the importance of communication between investors and financial advisors.

The introduction of the program comes at a time when many investors are changing their go-to financial gurus. Preparatory research for the program suggests that about 80 percent of investors are switching to new advisors, according to Director of Financial Services of Wharton Executive Education Jennifer Gers .

The program — a combination of sessions in finance, management, communication and marketing — is intended to teach advisors to think more about the way they develop long-term relationships with their clients and to improve their client retention rates.

Roundtable discussions with a cross-section of members of the financial services industry indicate that investment performance is not the only factor considered by investors, she said.

As a result, Wharton Executive Education is looking at wealth management more holistically, she explained.

Christopher Geczy, academic director of the Wharton Wealth Management Initiative, said the aim was to create a kind of program that integrates technical expertise and actual management of client relationships.

“Advisors have to be able to interact with clients in a way that is impactful,” he said.

The wealth management professional and financial advisors targeted by the program will also learn how current events play into their clients’ investment decisions.

“It’s exciting because it taps into a need in the marketplace and will provide value at large,” Geczy said.

According to Geczy, the mismatch between client and advisor communication has created fragmentation in the industry. The Client Relationship Program seeks to treat wealth management as a discipline, giving financial advisors a competitive edge, he said.

“It will provide many perspectives and skills for those advisors who manage large portfolios to do better,” he said.

The program will be taught by six different Wharton-affiliated professors or consultants. It will be held April 18-21.

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