The Zero Alpha Group, a network of seven financial advisory firms, has formed the ZAG Leadership Institute to give the next generation of financial advisors at the group the skills they need to become top management.

Jerry Foster, the founder and CEO of the Foster Group, a Zero Alpha member firm, will oversee the effort. Selected ZAG senior executives will conduct the majority of training sessions while an outside expert will occasionally be hired to cover special training, says Katie Cullen, executive director of ZAG.

Instead of academic management theory drawn from textbooks, the ZAG Institute sessions will draw upon the real-life experience of the firms’ senior executives.

The institute will conduct three one-day conferences each year at different locations across the country. Attendees will further participate in conference calls, be assigned readings and complete an assigned project, as well as get one-on-one peer tutoring.      

Each session will feature a specific management topic or skill. “One session, for example, will look at what skills managers need to balance their executive responsibilities with other facets of their life,” Cullen says.      
ZAG member firms are charged a designated fee for each student member they send, Cullen says. For now, the conferences will be exclusively for member firm employees.

ZAG is a national network of wealth management firms launched in 1995. Member firms include Beaird Harris, Carlson Capital Management, Foster Group, Plancorp, Petersen Hastings, Resource Consulting Group and Savant Capital Management. They collectively manage more than $8 billion in assets for more than 5,800 clients.