Financial advisor Hugh Massie, president and founder of Atlanta-based firm DNA Behavior International, has long believed that it’s necessary for advisors to really know their clients thoroughly in order to better serve them.
“In particular, advisors need to know how a client would behave under pressure because that’s when behavior changes and emotional decisions happen,” Massie says. “It’s only when people are under pressure that their true DNA behavior emerges, so if you as an advisor can know your client’s financial DNA, you can do the best for them.”
When investors are under pressure, Massie says, they typically revert back to their natural DNA behavior, which is their “go-to” or “flip-back” behavior. Pressure leads to emotions and kicks in a person’s survival instincts, and it is every person’s natural DNA behavior that drives how they will respond to events in their life and how they will make their financial decisions. A person’s natural DNA behavior will also remain consistent throughout their life and so it is highly predictive of their financial decisions.
Massie created DNA Behavior International in order to help advisors figure out their clients’ innate behavioral DNA, in particular their financial DNA. The firm, which lived its first incarnation in Massie’s native Australia, provides advisors with the tools they need to both learn about how their clients perform and react in various situations, and to then discover and apply their clients’ natural behaviors to financial, investment and family succession planning. Most importantly, the company helps advisors and investors learn how to work together to align investor behavior with financial and investment solutions and, through its proprietary DNA Behavior Systems, can uncover individuals’ financial personality traits.
“We’re interested in helping advisors get to the core of their clients’ financial personalities,” Massie says. “There’s been a lot of theory out there on the importance of behavioral analysis and the discovery of the financial personality, but very little by way of practical applications. What advisors need is a practical application and that’s what we provide.”