What is Behavioral Finance?
Behavioral Finance is the integration of psychology and the physiology of the brain with traditional financial principles. The purpose of Behavioral Finance is to provide a greater understanding of the role that emotions play in the decision-making process, and to provide tools and techniques to help utilize that knowledge to make more rational, values-based decisions.

What is the BFA™?
The BFA™ designation is a program designed to educate financial professionals on the core concepts of Behavioral Finance and its application with clients.

What does the program look like?
The BFA™ designation is an online program offered through a partnership between Kaplan Financial and Think2Perform. The program is divided into two parts and is delivered through a combination of short videos, written content and interactive quizzes. Also included in the program are a copy of the book, Financial Intelligence by Doug Lennick, one deck of Values Cards and access to an EQ-i Assessment which helps you understand the various components of your Emotional Intelligence. 

Part 1, Behavioral Advice and You, focuses on the core concepts of Behavioral Finance and how each of us can leverage them in our daily lives to make better, more values-based decisions. 
Part 2, Behavioral Advice and Your Clients, is focused on applying your knowledge of Behavioral Finance to help your clients understand how their emotions affect their decision-making. 

How long does it take?
Unlike many other designations, which can take 80-100 hours of studying, the BFA™  designation can be completed in 25-30 hours. The final exam is taken online and must be proctored, but learners are not required to visit a testing center as is generally required for most designations.

How does this add value for clients?
Managing emotions and making good decisions that are consistent with one’s values is one of the most difficult parts of achieving long-term goals. By understanding their core values and the ways in which our psychology and physiology can lead us to make emotional decisions, clients can develop better skillsets for making rational decisions that are in alignment with those values, even in situations where they are experiencing strong emotions. Being able to connect the dots between their goals, core values and the advice they receive, clients can feel more confident that they are progressing towards their goals while still honoring what is most important to them.

How does this add value for advisors?
Advisors benefit from this course by gaining greater knowledge of the educational concepts, as well as developing better skillsets to leverage when helping clients manage their emotions and improve their decision-making.  Understanding your clients’ core values and helping them make decisions that are more aligned with what matters most to them will allow you to take your advice to the next level and truly personalize it to each client you work with.

This program also helps advisors differentiate themselves by adding an extra dimension to the advice they provide to clients. Many investment-focused advisors, Robo-Advisors, and even other financial planning firms do not yet take the behavioral dimension into account when providing advice and developing goals. The ability to help clients manage their emotions and connect their goals and behavior with what is most important to them is a significant value-add.  An advisor who understands and leverages Behavioral Finance will also be better able to build deep, meaningful relationships with his/her clients. The designation is also approved by Ameriprise, and can be displayed on e-mail footers, business cards and advisor websites, which will help you stand out from the crowd.

Taking the next step
To register for the BFA™ designation program, visit https://www.kaplanfinancial.com/bfa/, or call Kaplan at 1-800-717-3650. Ameriprise advisors and staff receive a discount on the program, so be sure to let Kaplan know that you work with Ameriprise to receive the correct discount (see details below). As a best practice, we recommend that you call Kaplan to make sure the discount is correctly applied.

  • Retail price:  $970 ($895 course fee + $75 testing fee)
  • Our price:  $674 ($599 course fee + $75 testing fee)

We at the Jambalaya Group believe this designation represents an important step in the evolution of financial advice and will equip advisors to provide better, more personalized advice to their clients. If you have additional questions, please contact Aaron McPherson (aaron@jambalayagroup.com) with the Jambalaya Group. 

Behavioral Financial Advisor (BFA™) Designation: Taking Advice to the Next Level


Aaron D. McPherson, CRPC®, APMA®, BFA™
Training Manager

- Investment Research
- Model Development
- AFA/Staff Development
- Ameriprise Brokerage Platform Expert