Behavioral Finance


How To Build Client Trust: A Financial DNA Product Upgrade

When we design feature improvements for Financial DNA, we look at the hot topics that are raised in our Wealth Mentor training and Advisor Community events. Last year, a hot topic was, how to build client trust.

I am excited to announce that today, we released an update to the Trust scoring model for Natural Behavior that will answer that very question. Just as Peter Drucker said, If You Cant Measure It, You Cant Improve It Financial DNA is now arming financial advisors with the measurement of trust and the tools to build a trusting relationship with clients.

Trust Scoring Upgrade:

This upgrade was a culmination of 5 years of psychometric research and independent validation by our team of PhDs and data scientists. The bar is now raised for DNA Behavior as having one of the only independently validated psychometric measurements of Trust in the behavioral profiling industry. In addition, this measurement provides our Financial DNA Wealth Mentors, and Users with the following in-depth insights (in addition to the other 54 additional behavioral attributes we measure):

  • Trust and Skepticism
  • Delegation and Controlling
  • Openness and Suspicion
  • Approachable and Questioning
  • Relaxed and Exacting

The Importance of Trust:

“Knowing how to build client trust is key when handling a financial portfolio. When you can understand a client’s approach to building trust, you can take actions to help them build trust with you in a way that is natural to them and helps them feel comfortable working with you. This requires you to know yourself and work to be transparent and flexible when working to match your clients preferred style.” Said Nikki Evans, DNA Behaviors Chief Learning Accelerator.

How to measure client trust:

The Financial DNA Natural Behavior assessment is an online questionnaire process that takes 10-minutes to complete. You, your clients, and the rest of your advice team spend just 10-minutes to complete their own assessment and compare the results. Each individuals Trust score will be available in each individuals 1-page factor Report, Financial Planning Reporting, Wealth Mentoring Reports, via data export as well as our Personality API.

How to build client trust:

Building trust with skeptical clients is a process. In our training programs, we cover a wide variety of strategies and scenarios to build trust with clients. Through a series of role-playing exercises, facilitated discussions, and case studies financial advisors are led through the client journey where they learn how to engage with clients on their own terms. This engagement helps investors get more comfortable to begin the process of building trust with you, their advisor.

Are you Naturally Trusting or Skeptical?

Are you naturally more trusting or skeptical? Find out in just 10-minutes with our free trial. Experience Financial DNA with this free trial and see how financial advisors use the behavioral finance platform to discover the communication styles, behavioral biases, and risk profiles of clients.

DNA Accredited Financial Advisor Training

DNA-Accredited Financial Advisor Training Provides Edge

We are excited to be hosting DNA Accredited Financial Advisor Training for two days, April 24-25, in Atlanta. Space is limited, so please register soon.

The comprehensive workshop is for financial advisors and wealth managers already familiar with the Financial DNA Discovery Processes, which advisors use to learn the communication styles, financial habits (including setting goals, spending and saving) behavioral biases and risk profiles of clients.

As many of our readers know, Financial DNA provides real-time behavioral insights that enable customized delivery of meaningful advisor and client experiences, with improved outcomes on both sides of the relationship. The workshop builds on the foundation of Financial DNA-savvy advisors, helping them become what we call Human Performance Accelerators, learning unique financial personality insights to further help clients achieve greater self-empowerment- and wealth accumulation.

The training also is recommended for any organization considering implementing a DNA financial personality management API solution.

The six pillars of DNA Financial Planning Performance will be explored in-depth using the company’s proprietary behavioral insights tech platform. (The only validated behavioral insights fintech of its kind.) Attendees should then be able to not only deliver better client outcomes, but also be able to increase and sustain profitability.

The practical and experiential training program addresses Natural (inherent) Behavior and How to Deploy the Financial DNA Discovery Process to meet the behavioral challenges of every client on their own unique terms.

  • (Advisors) discovering their own strengths and struggles;
  • Learning how to use behavioral insights in relating to different clients more effectively; and
  • Identifying ideal clients and keeping them engaged.

Also covered: Learned Behavior and Additional Behavioral Finance Insights, including:

  • Techniques for improving client meeting facilitation with powerful questions across multiple communications channels; and
  • Building behaviorally smart portfolios which align client risk-taking, decision biases, goals, spending and financial capacity.

Attendees also will benefit from a very special new offering: An interactive dinner, Thought Accelerators: Future Fintech, at which training participants ranging from beginners to experts will discuss behavioral insight challenges and solutions, further activating what they have learned toward practical, powerful outcomes.

Complete information and registration for DNA Accredited Financial Advisor Training can be found here. Location information – Dunwoody (North Atlanta), just outside the perimeter – is included at the information and registration link. Those completing the two-day training will receive DNA Accredited Financial Advisor certification.

Who should attend? Financial advisors, wealth managers and others who want to master validated behavioral finance insights that accelerate the results achieved by both advisors and their clients. And, again, the training also is recommended for any organization considering implementing a DNA financial personality management API solution.

See you in Atlanta April 24-25. (Can’t make it then, let us know so we can notify you of future trainings and Thought Accelerator dinners.)

Financial DNA offers:

  • Unparalleled depth and reliability of psychometric validation for 64 core natural behavior traits to identify a client’s unique financial personality;
  • Separate measurement of a client’s communication style, spending and goal-setting behaviors, risk profile and behavioral biases;
  • Unique process for matching advisors, clients, and solutions using our extensive behavioral finance data;
  • Comprehensive wealth mentoring system to help advisors guide their clients in making life and financial decisions; and
  • Digital solutions for practical and scalable delivery across a firm’s whole client base.



How Would Employees Describe Your Culture?

This article first appeared on HR Management.

Culture is the personality and character of your company. How would employees describe your culture?

The culture is toxic. Leaders are the worst. Don’t worry about it, just do it. Culture, what culture? No one cares what I think. I don’t tell people where I work.

Or. Our leaders inspire me. We’re all about excellence. It’s the way we do things around here. It’s not the way we do things around here. I really feel valued and included. I get a buzz from telling people where I work.

Every organization or team – every group of people – has a culture. It’s their “personality”. Its core lies in the character, behavior, values and integrity of those unique individuals that make up the group. It is a potpourri of people coming together to deliver an outcome. Whether in business, sports, or any other gathering of people, its success lies, not only with the individual, but with the leader and the tone they set.

Developing a people culture that delivers productivity, loyalty and a can-do attitude requires investment; it takes time and can’t be tokenism. There needs to be a real commitment to understanding the individual. Identifying their talents is one important aspect, but so is getting below the surface to reveal behaviors, pressure points, and workplace environments that will build or break a person’s ability to contribute to the business.

If the environment of the organization is not founded in strong principles, values and purpose that are known by everyone, then integrating multiple personalities, experiences and cultures will not be productive.

Leaders have a responsibility to demonstrate the beliefs of the company and reinforce behaviors that reflect those values. It’s no good expecting your people to adhere to company values if leadership is seen to be saying one thing and acting differently.

Like most issues, culture begins at the top. Leadership that isolates themselves and makes no effort to set standards or to understand their people risk not just a bad reputation, but reduced results, high turnover and a toxic culture.

Leadership behavior can never be “do as I say, not as I do”. Leaders’ behaviors, both in and out of work – your communication style and how you handle the ups and downs of business – all affect company culture.

The key responsibility of leadership is to set the purpose, vision and direction of the organization and then connect the people to it. Behaviorally smart leaders know how to do this:

They model behaviors – people watch leaders and imitate what they see.

  • They get to know their people to understand how and where their vision for their lives can align with the vision of the company. In other words, we are all going to be successful in this endeavor.
  • They give every individual a purpose, a reason to come to work, an understanding of the value they bring to the vision.
  • They ensure the workforce is skilled up.
  • They set everyone up for success – building on strengths and managing limitations.
  • They give everyone a voice.
  • They spell out accountability, how it works, its benefits and its measurement.

Culture is a powerful differentiator in business. Reputations can be built and lost in a moment. Culture that is a product of people’s behaviors delivers growth to individuals and to the organization.

As a leader, if you want to know what your people think of your culture – head over to social media. No filters there in terms of people’s thoughts about your culture. And read a definition or two of “corporate culture”, on Wikipedia and elsewhere. It’s important to have that snapshot front of mind.

When both leaders and individuals can look at their group and say, “These are my people”. That’s when culture is healthy.

Next time we’ll talk about implementation: How do you gain the insights to identify talents and behaviors to deliver a healthy culture that leads to the delivery of productive business strategies? Hint: Human performance acceleration via validated behavioral insights applied from the top down.


To learn more, please speak with one of our DNA Behavior Specialists (LiveChat), email, or visit DNA Behavior




When Consultants Unwittingly Sabotage a Business Opportunity

When I reflect on the many consultants I’ve worked with over the years and remember clearly those whose “pitch” for the work failed because they, a) haven’t researched me (their client), b) arrived with their own agenda but, more worryingly, c) were busy busy busy; lots to do.

Clearly, they were trying to make an impression, but it was a big fail.

Conversely, I wonder why it was that I was drawn to consultants whose “pitch” was low-key, informative, and balanced. They were punctual, they were prepared, and they left me with reading material and time to reflect and make my decision.

As a consultant, the primary role is to work with organizations in areas the client outlines.
Consulting assignments invariably begin with a problem. The client recognizes they have an issue that can only be resolved by hiring a specific talent, very often as a short-term project.

Consultants bring skills, experience and knowledge to their clients. They normally are not there to rewrite the company strategy, nor are they there to find endless fault in the hope of getting more business. The consultant’s contribution, therefore, can be defined as bringing specific skills needed within an organization for a set period.

Consultants that get repeat work are often the ones who work hand in hand with their client to fix the identified basic problem. They develop a process with which to address the problem and formulate a solution.

Consultants bring a much-needed objectivity, knowledge or innovative approach to organizations, augmenting and supplementing the teams within that organization.

There is a measure of scepticism around consultants, but when you work with a consultant whose business is ethical, where trust can be built, and where they make a valuable contribution to the business, I’m all for hiring them.

The consultants that made the greatest impression and, in fact, I hired, began the engagement not by telling me everything they could do for me, but by requesting I complete a DNA Behavior Natural Discovery process. This, they said, would enable them to deliver a meaningful client experience customized to my unique style.

The outcome was clear (and very accurate) insight

-Balanced -Discerning -Harmonious

I can guide people with feelings, together with the determination to reach goals and accomplish tasks. This blend of behavioral strengths makes me well-suited for situations where setting the agenda and recognizing the needs of other people are required. Further, consistency, reliability and persistence are important. I flourish in an environment where there is plenty of stability, group decision-making is needed, and where I am recognized for the contribution I make.




I was then presented with outcomes from the consultant’s DNA Behavior Natural Discovery:

- Ringleader – Assertive – Visionary

Influencers usually have a unique blend of confidence, initiative and people skills. They are typically able to see the larger vision and then use their superior communication skills to influence others towards accomplishing it. They will wholeheartedly invest time and effort into developing others and their personal performance towards goals, particularly strategies which they see hold significant potential.



Immediately, I could see that this insight, for both of us, ensured we understood each other’s strengths and limitations. We knew how to communicate with each other and, most importantly, as the client, I saw how important it was for the consultant to make it a priority to get to know my behavioral style. This impressed me. They were putting me and my needs above the issues, while being transparent about their own, dissimilar style of working.

This approach not only got them the business, and indeed repeat business, it also opened doors for me to see where a scientifically based data gathering tool could bring significant insight into the people in the organization.

As part of an ongoing relationship, the consultant introduced the DNA Behavior Natural discovery to many areas of our business. Teams began to accelerate their performance as they gained a deeper understanding of one another’s talents and behaviors.

This consultant had made a very valuable contribution the business.

As a consultant, do you want to know what unique behaviors you bring to the table? Try our complimentary Discovery now.


To learn more, please speak with one of our DNA Behavior Specialists (LiveChat), email, or visit DNA Behavior



Engaging Employees Toward Greater Financial Wellness

This article first appeared on Nasdaq.

More financial advisors should be proactive in encouraging corporate clients to establish employee wellness programs which can be invaluable for employees. Successful employee financial wellness programs should include financial education and coaching from the financial advisor, which is a win-win-win, for advisor, employer and employees.

Consider these recent comments by Jim Harter, chief scientist of Gallup’s international workplace management and wellbeing practices, and author of its annual employee-engagement survey:

Companies that rank in the top 10 percent in engaging their employees… posted profit gains of 26 percent through the last recession, compared with a 14 percent decline at comparable employers. The tight labor market is raising the bar. Coveted employees simply aren’t all that interested in working for companies that don’t give them the level of trust and motivation they want.

I would go further and add that as uncertainty is a greater economic consideration, employees are worried about their financial well-being. And leaders have a responsibility to consider the financial well-being of their people.

They need to understand employees’ lives and career motivations, goals, spending habits and overall decision-making biases in order to empower them to achieve a greater level of financial wellness. Employees who are less worried about the economic future will perform better at work.

Talking about money has always been a closed topic. Financial problems can be a source of stress and shame for employees. Not only does it impact family relationships, but – and this might be tough to consider – it can cause rogue behavior within the organization.

Now, I am not saying that every employee who faces financial stress is going to divert assets from your organization. More often you’ll see increased absenteeism, preoccupation that results in lack of productivity and increased job transiency (they will leave you unnecessarily); issues an organization may have seen simply as HR-related.

A leader who tackles financial wellness openly by introducing well thought out programs can lift the veil on this sensitive subject and encourage employees to engage in these programs.

It’s important to be honest about the intentions of the financial wellness programs. While it’s a leader’s responsibility to want to enhance their employees lives, it’s also true to say that happy, debt free, wealth-creating employees will make the company more successful. It’s a win-win.

More than half of all employees want to make their own financial decisions but are looking to have someone validate those decisions. Employees want a financial wellness benefit with access to unbiased counselors and help understanding and using their benefits. So access to a financial advisor is critical to the success of financial wellness programs.

One important consideration for any employee wellness program: How well do you know your people? If understanding employees’ financial personalities was part of the hiring process, financial wellness programs could be more effectively targeted to help the employee.

The next generation of employee financial wellness program has two core components which have a behavioral foundation based on initially discovering the participant’s natural behavioral style – the core of who they are:

  1. Talent Management for Career and Financial Growth is focused on the employee having a productive career path based on what they are passionate about and being in the right role which they can personally and financially grow in.
  2. Financial Behavioral Management for Financial Life Growth is focused on the employee defining realistic financial life goals and desired life experiences for the building of a Quality Life. Then designing a financial plan (including investments) to achieve those goals. A key aspect of this component is management of risk, investments, spending and emotions.

There is only good in this approach – providing engaging financial wellness programs leads to less stressed and more highly engaged workers. Behaviorally smart leaders understand this, and the evidence is to be found in the success of their businesses. (As is often noted by Mr. Harter of Gallup.)


To learn more, please speak with one of our DNA Behavior Specialists (LiveChat), email, or visit DNA Behavior


I did pre-hire assessments: What’s next?

This article first appeared on HR Management.

Having selected the candidates – which we talked about last time – then come the interviews. And, these can now be “behaviorally smart”, using questions based on the outcomes of the pre-hire assessments you’ve completed.

Well-structured resumes are not difficult to produce, with or without a professional writer. We also know that performing well at an interview might fall into the category of acting out a role. So, with the cost of a bad hire reckoned by some in the recruitment industry to be in the region of $240,000 per employee including salary, onboarding and training, getting the interview process right is crucial.

Historically, many times people are employed for their skills and knowledge and little or no attention is paid to identifying candidate’s true talents. Natural behaviors which continually and predictably repeat themselves over time and are often not easily seen in an interview.

Armed with the pre-hire assessment natural discovery outcomes, the interviewer is equipped to question candidates in a way that targets the behaviors hidden below the surface, now revealed through the discovery process. This makes behavioral questioning at the interview stage even more important.

Clearly, it’s key at the interview stage for interviewers to be aware of their own blind-spots. Without this insight, it could form part of the failure to uncover the natural behaviors of the candidates.

Both interviewer and candidate will have “learned” to operate a certain way, not necessarily in line with who they naturally are. Potentially, over time, and with pressure the natural behavior would emerge, and the candidate could well not be performing the way that was hoped and the interviewer might miss critical issues that need to be addressed with the candidate.

A key first step in pre-hire assessment and the behavioral interviewing process, is to understand what skills, talents and behaviors are already present in the business. This exercise reveals the gaps both in talents, behaviors and communication styles that need to be filled as part of the ongoing success of the business.

To avoid hiring based on empathy felt toward any particular candidate and moving away from the traditional interviewing style (“tell us about…”), behaviorally smart recruiters question candidates in ways that necessitating responses with stories about how, having faced a challenge or event in the past, they dealt with it. What they learned from the experience and how? With hindsight, how they would have done things differently?

Taking this conversational approach – informed and focused via your pre-hire assessment?- will reveal behaviors, communication styles, problem-solving skills and business maturity. That means better fit for role, team and culture, and, hopefully, longevity.


To learn more, please speak with one of our DNA Behavior Specialists (LiveChat), email, or visit DNA Behavior