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Friday, August 13, 2010

Hancock Gets 'Hard Wired'

Reported by Armie Margaret Lee

John Hancock Funds has taken the wraps off a program for financial advisors dubbed Hard Wired, which uses behavioral finance concepts to help FAs better understand client behavior and structure portfolios.

"Advisors are trying to make sense of why their cleints did what they did," said Kristine McManus, vice president of sales development at Hancock Funds, in an interview with The MutualFundWire.

Boston-based Hancock sent representatives from its marketing, sales and product teams to attend a two-day symposium on behavioral finance at Harvard last fall. From that symposium, the idea for Hard Wired took shape.

The two-pronged program kicked off this month and will run at least through the end of the year.

The first component is a Continuing Education course called "What Were They Thinking?" It makes use of behavioral finance concepts to help advisors understand client behavior.

"Loss aversion is an emotional problem, but some advisors address their clients' problem by throwing data at them," McManus said. With the program, "we offer specific scripting ideas."

Hancock tapped MarketPsych, a company that offers psychology training services for the financial industry, to help with the scripting for the advisor guide.

The second CE component, called "Building Better Portfolios: Portfolio allocations that help minimize irrational investor behavior," seeks to turn behavioral finance into practical ideas for allocations.
Company Press Release

John Hancock Funds Educates Financial Advisers With Behavioral Finance Program

Behavioral finance concepts help advisers understand client behavior, construct portfolios and build advisers' businesses

"Hard Wired" program material available at www.jhfunds.com/behavioralfinance.

BOSTON, MA, August 11, 2010- John Hancock Funds has launched a new program based on behavioral finance concepts to help financial advisers better understand client behavior, structure client portfolios, and build advisers' businesses. The "Hard Wired" program is available to financial advisers registered on www.jhfunds.com, and contains a range of tools to assist both advisers and their clients.

"This timely program is solution-driven," said Carey Foran Hoch, Senior Vice President and head of marketing for John Hancock Funds. "It helps advisers understand the connections between human biases and investment behavior, and apply that knowledge to their clients and their clients' portfolios."

The Hard Wired program, which begins this month and continues through the end of the year, has two core components. The first part, a Continuing Education course, is called "What Were They Thinking?" It uses behavioral finance concepts to help advisers understand and moderate client behavior. The second CE component builds upon that knowledge, and translates Behavioral Finance into practical ideas for allocations, and is titled "Building Better Portfolios: Portfolio allocations that help minimize irrational investor behavior."

The Hard Wired program educates advisers about the interplay between physiology and reasoning. It explains, for example, that in moments of severe stress such as a market meltdown, the reasoning part of the brain may shut down as the brain senses the need for survival. Thus, reasoning and logical functioning may be impaired and lead to emotional or irrational investment decisions.

The "Hard Wired" program is found in one easy place on the web site at: www.jhfunds.com/behavioralfinance.

Core components include:

ĽA client one-page summary on the three levels of brain function -- reptilian, mammalian, and hominid - and how the brain functions under periods of stress. ĽA client sheet that looks at redefining diversification, to include both normal and bear market performance. ĽAn Adviser Guide, with helpful information on how to recognize biases in clients, and how to reframe discussions with clients in order to move forward. ĽA new thought paper, Defensive & Offensive Strategies to Help Minimize the Cycle of Emotional Investing, which helps advisers understand common investor behavioral biases to help their clients overcome them. ĽA complete client seminar kit, including slides, script, invitation, prospecting material and client video.

About John Hancock Funds
The Boston-based mutual fund business unit of John Hancock Financial, John Hancock Funds manages more than $54.6 billion in open-end funds, closed-end funds, private accounts, retirement plans and related party assets for individual and institutional investors as at June 30, 2010.

About John Hancock Financial and Manulife Financial Corporation John Hancock Financial is a unit of Manulife Financial Corporation, a leading Canadian-based financial services group serving millions of customers in 22 countries and territories worldwide. Operating as Manulife Financial in Canada and in most of Asia, and primarily as John Hancock in the United States, Manulife Financial Corporation offers clients a diverse range of financial protection products and wealth management services through its extensive network of employees, agents and distribution partners. For more than 120 years, clients have looked to Manulife for strong, reliable, trustworthy and forward-thinking solutions for their most significant financial decisions. Funds under management by Manulife Financial and its subsidiaries were Cdn$454 billion (US$428 billion) as at June 30, 2010.

Manulife Financial Corporation trades as 'MFC' on the TSX, NYSE, and PSE, and under '945' on the SEHK. Manulife Financial may be found on the Internet at www.manulife.com.

The John Hancock unit, through its insurance companies, comprises one of the largest life insurers in the United States. John Hancock offers a broad range of financial products and services, including life insurance, fixed and variable annuities, fixed products, mutual funds, 401(k) plans, long-term care insurance, college savings, and other forms of business insurance. Additional information about John Hancock may be found at www.johnhancock.com

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