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Four lessons from Humans Under Management conference

Four lessons Bhavna Koli learned at last year's Humans Under Management conference, which discussed how to understand client psychology.

Andy Hart, founder at Maven Adviser, debuted his first ever behavioural financial advice conference at the end of November. The conference was held at the Royal College of Physicians in London and was well-attended, boasting an audience of about 155 guests.

Hart’s aim was to launch the UK’s first fully focused behavioural financial advice conference. The idea came to Hart (pictured) after years of attending conferences where there has been a ‘token speaker on behavioural finance’ and so he decided to put together his own, concentrating only on this topic.

He says: ‘I believe our key roles as a caring financial adviser is to help clients with all their money misconceptions and biases, hence Humans under Management.’

I’ve pulled together a summary and key take-away points from a few of the speakers to create an idea of how the day went and what kinds of topics, challenges and resolutions were presented.

Andy Hart, founder at Maven Adviser, debuted his first ever behavioural financial advice conference at the end of November. The conference was held at the Royal College of Physicians in London and was well-attended, boasting an audience of about 155 guests.

Hart’s aim was to launch the UK’s first fully focused behavioural financial advice conference. The idea came to Hart (pictured) after years of attending conferences where there has been a ‘token speaker on behavioural finance’ and so he decided to put together his own, concentrating only on this topic.

He says: ‘I believe our key roles as a caring financial adviser is to help clients with all their money misconceptions and biases, hence Humans under Management.’

I’ve pulled together a summary and key take-away points from a few of the speakers to create an idea of how the day went and what kinds of topics, challenges and resolutions were presented.

1. Clients need managing as well as money

To kick off the day and bring the sleepy lecture hall to life, was Abraham Okusanya, director at FinalytiQ.

Okusanya’s (pictured) focus was on how to prepare clients for the next financial crisis. He reiterated that we were well overdue for our next one and how a robust financial plan is a battle plan.

But it’s the client that needs managing more than the money it seems, ‘it’s not your portfolio that needs conditioning, it’s the client,’ he says. After delivering many witty one-liners to the audience, the key point reverberating around the room was that as a financial adviser, ‘your job isn’t to prepare the portfolio, your job is to prepare the client.’

2. Client perceptions are based on expectations

Graham Cox, from training company Boundaries Edge, is an expert in behavioural psychology and provided us with an in-depth look at how to change a client’s mind set by changing their perception.

One area discussed here was that people don’t perceive a gain as much as they perceive a loss. Because of this, ‘reframing’ situations is key.

In summary, the first rule for changing a client’s perception is by understanding that perception is based on expectations. Once you fully understand their expectations you can mould their perception.

3. Focus on the client when designing anything

We also heard from Laura Janes, founder of marketing business Uniquity. Marketing plays a strong role for any financial services business, and Janes’ approach was how to tap into the emotive responses from those you wish to gain interest.

She touched upon ‘design thinking’ which is a method in which a human-centered approach is taken when creating things. The overarching idea for a successful marketing to make an impact is by using the four I’s: to inspire, to gain insights, to generate ideas and to implement.

4. Don't limit education to what can go wrong

The penultimate presentation was delivered by Anthony Villis, managing partner at First Wealth.

Villis (pictured) captured the audience by sharing his own deep and personal story about his wife’s cancer diagnosis soon after the birth of their daughter and how these life changing events made him change his outlook on his own financial decisions.

Moving forward to discuss behavioural finance, Villis spoke about educating clients about what can go wrong, but advocates not limiting advice to just that. Educating clients on what goes on in the mind to lead to bad investment decisions should be on the discussed too.

Villis explains, ‘my job is to stop you from screwing it up as much as I can and that’s my job as a financial planner.’ He recommends running through a behavioural charter on clients’ biases and referring back to it at the time of crisis, he says, ‘you need to have these conversations in advance, it’s too late to have these conversations when the market’s burning up.’

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