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Financial Advice is a noble profession. For too long we have allowed its path to be dictated by ill-informed commentators who’ve not internalised the challenge correctly. You could say that our guns have been facing the wrong enemy. We continue to see advancements that are not designed to make people better investors or have better financial outcomes. The media’s focus is on selection and timing, which has never been proven to work. We know success will be driven by planning and controlling natural misconceptions and biases (our ‘behaviour’ in one word).
I also thought that government and regulation was designed to optimise client outcomes however, the more I read about behavioural financial advice, the more the mist clears to reveal a mighty gap between compliance expectation and the real life outcome of clients.
Nick Murray’s teachings have had the biggest effect on me. I agree with his notion that the bulk of our value will be derived from behaviour modification and that everything else we do is effectively thrown in for free or near to.
We face an almighty challenge, as our teachings will be countercultural and also counterintuitive. Giving people what they need has never been easy - feeding people what they want is a simple path to ill-gotten gains.
All of the studies prove humans are bad decision makers - show me a study that says humans are rational? Making bad decisions around your money and financial planning will have a profound impact on you and the generations that come after you. If we can alter the financial direction of millions of families, just think of the good we can do. We need to ensure we don’t promote any practices that are financially self-destructive. There’s no such thing as money troubles, there’s only humans with money troubles. We have a choice – to promote activities that ensure clients behave their way to wealth, or promote activities that enable clients to behave their way to poverty.
My hope with HUM is to promote, highlight and build on the work that great advisers are doing in developing their behavioural financial advice practices. For me, this is like seeing colour television, when the rest of the profession is still in black and white. This isn’t a fad or a phase - this is who we are.
Individually we can’t, together we can.
Andy Hart - HumansUnderManagement.com Founder