1. Know clients’ dreams. To tighten your bonds, dig deeper.

The Financial Planning Association wants to hear from you. The FPA, together with the research firm Capital Preferences and T. Rowe Price, is conducting a study focused on how financial advisors can better understand investor behavior. It’s based largely on responses from advisors and planners.

The study will cover such issues as:

  • How financial planners and advisors are changing their client understanding practices in order to support more holistic advice
  • What changes to those practices can support co-planning with clients, behavioral coaching and other ways advisors can add value to the relationship
  • What tools and technologies are delivering a more efficient client discovery experience

The research is divided into three parts: a series of qualitative interviews with planners and thought leaders that began in April; a benchmarking survey that is currently underway and will end July 25, which advisors can participate in; and another qualitative phase that kicks off in July and ends in September.

Advisors can participate in the benchmarking survey, titled The State of Client Understanding, by clicking on the link. When they complete the survey, they will gain access to initial key findings and eventually a customized benchmarking report when the research is concluded.

The results of the survey plus qualitative interviews will be presented at the FPA’s annual conference in Chicago on Oct. 3-5.

In addition to benchmarking, the study will provide a step-by-step roadmap that can help advisors best serve their clients.

“The firms and advisors that excel in the next decade will be those that know their clients best – the ones that turn client understanding into their competitive advantage,” said Bernard Del Rey, CEO of Capital Preferences, in a statement.

The firm is the creator of the TrueProfile tool that helps advisors gauge the risk tolerance, loss aversion and decision consistency of clients. Its co-founder, Shachar Kariv, who heads the economics department at UC Berkeley, specializes in behavioral decision making and has said that existing investor profiling methods are crude and statistically unjustifiable.”

George Riedel, head of U.S. Intermediaries at T. Rowe Price, which is co-sponsoring the study, said in a statement, “In today’s ever-changing environment … it is critical to provide advisors with actionable insights” to help “deepen their knowledge and understanding of their clients’ needs, which ultimately helps to build their practice.”

— Check out Advisors Say Yes to ETFs, No to Crypto: FPA on ThinkAdvisor.