If you are trying to attract new clients or serve your current clients better, Financial DNA may be the answer. This system is intelligent, insightful and valuable. Advisors and their clients are both likely to have deeper, more meaningful relationships by using this system.

So what's wrong with it? Why haven't you heard of Financial DNA? And if it's so revolutionary, why hasn't it had more of an impact on the profession since being introduced nearly five years ago? You'll probably find the answers in the mirror. That's right. You are to blame.
You're so busy running your business and chasing after new clients that you wouldn't know a brilliant client process if it walked right up to you and stared you in the eye. You have such a short attention span and are so overloaded with information that you don't have the time or discipline to identify and research the few genuinely great ideas that you come across.

You poor, misguided soul, you are exactly like me!  

I first ran into Hugh Massie about five years ago at an FPA conference, when he was launching Financial DNA. He told me that he had come up with a new system for managing client relationships. But I am so bombarded with ideas to write about for this column that I didn't take the time to research Financial DNA, partly because it was so complex. Now that I have taken the time to look at it, I realize that Financial DNA is a valuable system for improving client engagements.

Massie's journey has surely been a lonely one. It's incredibly frustrating to have ideas that people are too busy or shortsighted to spend time understanding. It's as if you had discovered buried treasure on a remote island, and you're standing on the shore, waving your arms, and you're jumping and yelling. "Here! It's this way! Follow me!" But boats, helicopters and airplanes all pass you by because you're off their route and they have another destination.

Massie's riches lie in the Financial DNA client personality assessment system. It's called DNA because it reveals your hardwired attitudes about money and what kind of client you are going to make for an advisor. And like DNA, it is a complex system. Just as deoxyribonucleic acid contains the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of people and provides a blueprint for human physical characteristics and behavior, your         Financial DNA explains your natural behavior with regard to financial matters, your innate programming from birth to around the age of three.
And just as genetic testing can reveal your predisposition to contract colon cancer, find out why you're allergic to dairy products or explain why you are overweight like your mother, Massie's Financial DNA assessments are designed to reveal why you need to see detailed research before making investment decisions, show the reasons why you prefer stocks over bonds and explain your penchant for cold, hard facts delivered by an advisor with a clinical approach rather than a warm, fuzzy and hand-holding advisor with a gentle manner.

Taking A Strand

Financial DNA is introduced to clients via two assessments, mysteriously dubbed Path 4 and Path 6. While the names do nothing to describe what is measured, those in the know learn that Path 4 examines your personality based on four factors, while Path 6 measures six factors. Are you accommodating or directing? Reserved or engaging? Objective or harmonious? Spontaneous or methodical? Each of these four factors is scored based on the ten-minute Path 4 assessment. Your Path 4 score is determined by answers to 36 questions. Four words, such as "lighthearted," "energetic," "driving" and "structured" are shown to you and you are asked to gauge which describes you the best and worst.

The Path 6, comprising 20 questions, puts you under pressure because each question poses just three words, and you must decide how well each of the three words describes you. And the three words are similar in definition, which is what makes this assessment's results more revealing. The Path 6 provides a more refined measurement of your personality than the Path 4, and scores are based on six factors: whether you are dominant or compliant, introverted versus extroverted, compassionate or detached, structured or unstructured, cautious versus adventurous, or concrete rather than abstract.

The two assessments can be given one after the other and take a total of 20 or 30 minutes to administer. Clients can take them online, but Massie says more than half of the advisors administer them in their offices. The results of these two assessments, Massie says, can give you important insight into a client that might not otherwise be discernible.

Clients receive a takeaway report with each assessment. The Path 4 report shows your score on each of the four factors as dots on a grid. The four dots are linked by straight lines, forming a chart with a distinct pattern. The chart displays your blend of the four factors measured by the Path 4 (Figure 1).