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About the course

Technology, regulation, and competition have radically disrupted financial planning and the relationship between advisor and client. While fintech and quantitative forces may increasingly be involved in the selection of investments, clients still crave the human hand of a financial advisor who understands their unique needs and can develop strategies that are right for them. For planners, this shift requires new thinking that relies on better understanding a client’s psyche, improving communication, and focusing on stronger long-term relationships.

Client Psychology aims to help financial advisors develop a more effective client-centered practice by drawing heavily on advances in psychology, behavioral finance, evidence-based decision making, and the human sciences to better understand the biases, behaviors, and perceptions that impact client decision making and financial well-being.

Program Experience

Program Highlights & Benefits

In Client Psychology, you will:

  • Adapt to disruptive change in the financial planning industry by becoming more client-centered.
  • Articulate how better knowledge of client psychology, decision making, and behavioral finance can help you build deeper, long-lasting customer relationships.
  • Gain skills that will help your clients achieve better outcomes by understanding their needs and preferences and helping them cope with life events and market volatility.
  • Study with the renowned Wharton finance faculty, leading scholars from a variety of academic disciplines, and CFP® professionals to gain day-to-day practical skills to serve and grow your client base.
  • Improve your communication skills with a stronger grasp of how client psychology can guide clients toward better decisions.
  • Develop new insights into how to adapt to a changing U.S. population and a surge in millennial clients with different views on elements of financial planning.

Experience & Impact

This first-of-its-kind program combines the power of top finance experts from Wharton with the experience and know-how of the Certified Financial Planner Board® — which certifies and set standards for 81,000 professionals — and its Center for Financial Planning. The lead faculty in the program are Christopher Geczy, the academic director of the Wharton Wealth Management Initiative and the Jacobs Levy Equity Management Center for Quantitative Financial Research, and Charles R. Chaffin, the director of academic initiatives and programs for the CFP® Board and author of the recently published book Client Psychology.

Through insights based on rigorous research, experience, and interaction, participants will not only learn from these thought leaders but develop new methods for communicating with clients, helping them achieve their goals, deal with potential financial stress and hardships, and make key decisions. This specially developed course takes an interdisciplinary approach that draws on the latest breakthroughs in behavioral finance, psychology, therapy and counseling, and even neuroscience.

The academic study of client psychology is a burgeoning field, which merges traditional financial knowledge with an understanding of best practices from aspects of finance, financial planning, and a variety of the human sciences. The course will focus heavily on how practitioners can hone their skills in client communication through observation, exercises, and even role playing. The goal is for financial planners and advisors to gain both the know-how and the tools to refocus their practice to emphasize the client, thus achieving better results and building life-long relationships. Participants will learn how to relate better to a fast-changing client population and gain cutting-edge tools to build closer bonds with clients and ultimately deliver better outcomes.

Session topics include:

  • Investor Psychology Across Generations
  • The Challenges to Evidence-Based Decision Making
  • Heuristics and Biases
  • Building Relationships Through Neuroscience
  • Elements of Clinical Psychology Including Spending, Saving, and Money Disorders
  • Expert Perspectives From Practitioners

Who should attend

This program is designed broadly for any professional who advises clients on investments, insurances, or other aspects of financial planning. Faculty looking to better prepare their students to enter the profession would benefit greatly from this new and growing interdisciplinary topic. The insights into understanding client psychology, improving communication with investors, planning subjects, and achieving better outcomes will be valuable for a wide range of potential attendees, including:

  • CFP® professionals and those on their way to obtaining CFP® certification
  • Financial planners working within a variety of client-centered business models
  • Investment advisors, brokers, and counselors
  • Any investment professional with a “Know Your Client” role
  • Professionals in accounting, insurance, or related fields

Group Enrollment

To further leverage the value and impact of this program, we encourage companies to send cross-functional teams of executives to Wharton. We offer group enrollment benefits to companies sending four or more participants.

Trust the experts

Christopher Geczy

Chris Geczy has been on the Finance Faculty at Wharton since 1997 and is Academic Director of the Jacobs Levy Equity Management Center for Quantitative Financial Research. He is also Academic Director of the Wharton Wealth Management Initiative at Wharton Executive Education. He has a B.A. in eco...


Charles Chaffin

Charles Chaffin is Director of Academic Initiatives with the CFP Board Center for Financial Planning, including the Academic Research Colloquium; Founding Executive Editor of the new academic journal, Financial Planning Review; editor of the CFP Board Center for Financial Planning Book series; an...


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