The New Behavioral Paradigm for Financial Planning Risk Measurement

Release of the New Financial Talent DNA Report

The topic of risk profiling is quite rightly gaining increasing attention all around the world in the past 12 months. The turbulent markets, increasing compliance obligations and the need to add value are bringing the topic of client and advisor behavior to the forefront, and will do so on an exponential basis in the coming years.

Financial Planning Risk Management

Based on our extensive research the key point that advisors need to recognize is that the questionnaire format underpinning the validated psychometric model is equally as important as the perceived output from the process.

The customary approach to addressing risk in the financial planning process is to measure investment risk propensity on a singular and situational basis. The strategic weakness with such investment risk profiling instruments is that their singular nature perpetuates financial planning as being solely about investment management and investment products.

addressing client financial personality

Since 1999, we have advocated the development of holistic financial planning that can assist clients to achieve their life and financial goals. We believe that this broader viewpoint embraces far more than just investment risk and moves the paradigm to financial personality. It also necessitates the objective and reliable measurement of how personal financial clients will behave on a long term basis and points very clearly towards educating them on how their behaviors will impact on their financial wellbeing and relationships.

In order to assist advisors interpret and manage a client’s investment, financial and relationship behaviors across 10 key behavioral dimensions we are pleased to announce the launch of a new 1 page Financial Talent DNA Report. Following considerable research and feedback we have simplified the client reporting to be more investment, financial and relationship risk focused than our traditional “Wealth Mentoring” reports, which are also still available. A sample of this new 1 page report is shown below.

Financial Planning Risk, Risk Tolerance, Financial Risk Factors

In addition, through our Financial DNA Summary Report which accompanies this report we provide more information for assisting advisors to interpret and facilitate the client through financial planning discovery. In this report, we provide insights on the client’s Investment Portfolio Parameters based on their natural level of emotional comfort in taking investment risk. This information can be easily linked to the advisors investment allocation model.

Investment Portfolio Parameters

We believe for our current users of Financial DNA that our new reporting structure will help provide a more valuable client experience and also enable more robust discussions with your clients. For advisors considering using Financial DNA our desire is that you now have a compelling behavioral discovery solution which is “Platinum Standard” in terms of a highly reliable psychometric construct and simple advisor-client experience.

When we started developing the Financial DNA Discovery Systems in 1999 we knew that there needed to be a paradigm shift in the validated psychometric model for constructing risk profiles because many used a traditional scoring model. Notwithstanding, some of the traditional models may be psychometrically validated they nevertheless had 3 fundamental problems:

  1. The questionnaire models only allowed for uncovering situational investment risk propensity and not investment risk tolerance, financial risk behaviors and relationship risk behaviors;
  2. The situational nature of the questionnaire format inherently leading to the data not being reliable for long term portfolio development;
  3. Even if the results were consistent over time they would nevertheless be skewed to the high side because of the scientifically proven human tendency for the participant to “self-promote” by scoring themselves higher than what they are in reality.

Our decision was to utilize a Forced Choice Assessment Model because it has been academically proven through independent research to be a far more accurate and reliable predictor of behavior than the Traditional Assessment Models that ask the participant to rate statements from 1 to 5 or True/False.

Research has now shown that the traditional questionnaire format may lead to the over inflation of scores by one standard deviation, which is statistically very significant. This exposes a very material risk for advisors who over rely on an instrument that uses a traditional questionnaire format and then do not conduct a proper behavioral interview with the client.

To learn more about Financial DNA and the next generation of behavioral discovery capturing all dimensions of financial personality using a highly validated and reliable psychometric model, please visit

If you would like more information or to undertake a trial please email us at

3 thoughts on “The New Behavioral Paradigm for Financial Planning Risk Measurement”

  1. Just signed up for a trial. Your Financial DNA assessment looks like a great tool. I was looking for something to provide guidance on how much risk my clients will want to take & are willing to take when the market is unpredictable — both risk tolerance and risk propensity (glad this is being addressed here) and I can see how this will help me create a portfolio my clients can be comfortable with. Are your prices listed on your website?

  2. A financial planning approach is just a concept of leadership programs process is to measure investment risk propensity. Financial planning as being solely about investment management and investment products. Its just need a huge training programs to process these procedure.

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