Actio created an advanced sales curriculum for private bankers centered on wealth management principles.

The Challenge 

This bank sought to increase fee income, develop a more diverse lending portfolio, add new client relationships and deepen existing ones, and expand its market presence through a strategic shift toward high net worth individuals. In parallel to organizational, technological, and marketing efforts, this bank wanted to upskill its bankers, expanding their understanding of high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth individuals’ needs, goals, and challenges.

Recognizing that not all bankers could work with this more sophisticated type of client, the bank wanted a training program for a select group of top-performing salespeople.

The project involved four main goals:

  • To help bankers develop deep, actionable knowledge of 13 Wealth Management issues covering methods, structures, and tools for Wealth Creation, Wealth Protection, and Wealth Distribution.

  • To enable bankers to build more complete relationships with high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth clients.

  • To work with increasingly complex financial and credit structures.

  • To equip bankers with the skills to generate higher fee income and revenue.

The Solution

Actio started by designing the bankers’ future-state performance expectations to achieve those goals. Then, using sales and other data, insights gleaned from industry experts, and input from both bankers and the management team, Actio defined future-state banker processes, outputs, tasks, and measures. These became the basis for the other elements of the solution.

The bank’s leadership wanted to create a unique experience for its top bankers, limiting access to small cohorts and launching only one or two programs per year. The solution consisted of a nomination process, blended learning, manager support, and formal recognition.

Nomination process

In the first several years, high-performing bankers were nominated and selected into the program. Done in part to create buzz around the program and control the rollout’s velocity and scale, thirty bankers a year participated. After that, the team opened the program to a broader audience.

A blended learning solution

Actio designed and developed a blended learning solution consisting of instructor-led, self-paced eLearning, structured coaching, and job-aids. Each event – which corresponded to a wealth management topic – consisted of one or more eLearning modules, a multi-day workshop, real-world practice, coaching and feedback, and associated job aids.

  • eLearning: We developed eLearning modules to cover the foundational knowledge of each wealth management topic.

  • Cohort-based workshops: Each multi-day workshop expanded on the foundational knowledge by adding the complexities of real-world scenarios, discussions of best practices, and role-play practice.

  • Structured coaching: Using a playbook as a guide, bankers and their managers planned and executed outreach activities, tracked results, prepared for and then shared the results with the cohort members, and collaboratively looked for ways to improve.

  • Job aids: Job aids, guides, and resources backstopped the program, providing simple instruction for systems tasks and processes the organization developed for each of the wealth management topics.

Manager’s role and training

Managers played a vital role in this process, and they too received training and coaching. They helped the bankers analyze the portfolio, identify and select high-potential clients. They also worked with the banker to scan the market and identify prospects. In addition, managers helped the banker prepare for the training experiences and coached them to implement the knowledge and practices they learned. Finally, they provided feedback to the training team, tracking banker activities and successes.

Recognition process

For completing the program, bankers received organizational recognition and a small bump in base pay. Additionally, the bank added supplemental variable compensation for selling the new wealth management products and services.


The program was a massive success. There were so many nominations to join the program that the bank launched numerous cohorts each year – more than the one or two from the original plan. Within a few years, the bank moved the program “down market,” eliminating the nomination process and opening the program to all bankers.

Fee income, “share of wallet,” client retention, prospect conversion, and other results were better than projected.

Company Bio

This firm is a leading financial services company with approximately $1.9 trillion in assets. It proudly serves one in three U.S. households and more than 10% of all middle-market companies and small businesses in the U.S. It provides a diversified set of banking, investment, and mortgage products and services and consumer and commercial finance through four operating units: Consumer Banking and Lending, Commercial Banking, Corporate and Investment Banking, and Wealth and Investment Management. It is ranked in the top 50 on Fortune’s 2020 rankings of America’s largest corporations.