Should Financial Professionals Be Required to Learn About Brain Matters?

This may be a case of what you don’t know may hurt your firm and its clients.

Behavioral economics was a start, but the science of how our brains drive each individual’s behavior, usually reflexively and unconsciously, is advancing far beyond that and perhaps more rapidly than most other sciences.  

Shouldn’t financial professionals be required to learn from it what can help protect their client’s and their practices and reputations?

This does not have to touch on psychotherapeutic matters or those best handled by a doctor, those require strict professional lisencing.  But the scientific knowledge and information is availabel for professional in-service training on, for example:

  • Later life factors that diminish decision making, especially as regards money matters
  • Gender differences in decision making, communications styles and later life cognitive capabilities
  • Early warning signs of Alzheimer’s onset and other mental impairments
  • Cross-cultural and family differences in uses and meanings of wealth
  • Impact of new communications technologies on the processing and execution of expert advice
  • Family history as predictor of future behavior regarding money and wealth
  • Giving and receiving numerical and data-based recommendations 

What topics would you recommend?  

Of course, all new discoveries and knowledge generate push-back and hostility.  They often feel like they threaten existing belief systems and ways of acting.  

These sciences are in their early stages so the knowledge, especially as portrayed in popular media, can seem contradictory and imperfect.  Occasionally it is.

Yet professional standards and practices are required to follow independently verified and tested, evidence-based facts.  

The standards to professional knowledge and conduct are being raised across the board.  

Whether educated or not, individual practitioners and firms are already being held to higher standards.  These will only advance.  Likely just a specialized segment of professionals will invest in this new knowledge and level of professional competency.

There is always a vanguard.

We suggest it’s high-time to put in a little class-time.  What you don’t know — will hurt you nowadays.