The College for Financial Planning will be offering the first advisor-focused behavioral finance designation from an accredited college or university.
College President Dirk Pantone said the new program and designation would help meet an appetite among financial professionals for training in behavioral finance to improve client relationships.
“We’re excited to provide professionals with a specialized program that will enable them to master critical soft skills that can enhance and grow their business,” he said.
The college's Accredited Behavioral Finance Professional program includes an eight-week array of online classes, videos, quizzes, practice exams and a final exam. The courses will cover the principles of behavioral finance (which utilizes psychology to argue that investor behavior is not necessarily rational), along with deeper dives into the role of psychological biases and emotions in decisions related to finance. The program will also examine how these insights into investor psychology can be applied when advising clients.
The college, which was acquired by Kaplan Professional in 2018, also released results of a survey of 507 financial professionals that indicated advisors saw a benefit to (and had an interest in) behavioral finance. Of the respondents who had previously received training in behavioral finance, 79% found it improved client relationships, while 75% found it resulted in clients being more willing to listen to their advice, and 22% boasted that the training helped them attract new clients.
In all, 70% of those who hadn’t received such training were considering it, while 79% of those respondents believed that an accreditation in behavioral finance could “positively influence” existing and potential clients.
The college also recently released a survey of hundreds of advisors indicating that 71% of respondents had more clients now than before the start of the COVID-19 crisis, with an equal percentage of advisors claiming that clients were forging ahead on their previously established retirement plans despite the economic turmoil the pandemic had caused.