Barnett Banks Inc. hired a training director for its asset management group.

Thomas J. McCluskey, 50, is to create and carry out training programs in sales, sales management, products, technology, and compliance for the group. He fills a new post and reports to Richard M. Evans, director of human resources and training in the asset management division.

Mr. McCluskey joined the Jacksonville, Fla., banking company after two years at Homevest Financial Group, San Francisco, where he helped create a home mortgage product that invests the down payment in an insurance policy. Before Homevest, he helped design a turnkey trust and asset management product for community banks and thrifts at Investment Services Holding Co., Orlando.

In his new post, Mr. McCluskey said, he will create training programs for three distinct groups-the affluent market, people of more middling wealth, and operations and technical training.

The training directorship is part of an expansion plan for the asset management division that began early last year and calls for hiring 250 financial consultants.

"They're much more ambitious than anything I've encountered in the past," Mr. McCluskey said of Barnett. "They have a very aggressive staffing and distribution plan and a needs-based sales approach, which in itself needs sales and compliance support."

Indeed, Barnett's focus on selling relationship-based products, instead of selling one product at a time, requires more training than other sales methods, said Michael Dillon, vice president of investments at FTR Inc., a financial services consulting firm in Lombard, Ill.

"Now they'll take more of a financial planning and financial management approach if they want to sell products" like asset-allocation investments, he said.

Mr. McCluskey's immediate plan, he said, is to tackle the asset management group's biggest revenue generator, the private-client operation and its financial consultants, assess what is working, and fine-tune the division.

Eventually, Mr. McCluskey said, he hopes to have Barnett investment representatives teaching investment and personal finance seminars in colleges and trade schools throughout Florida.

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