Most attempts to measure risk tolerance fail in at least one crucial way, be it confusing the measurement, confusing the audience, or thinking guesswork is a good enough replacement for rigorous psychometric science.The difference between a faulty test and a good one is often in the testing - in scientific terms, how reliable and valid are the items selected for inclusion, and how well does the set work as a whole?Beware of measurements that, mix in traits other than risk tolerance, measure financial understanding, or provide inconsistent, unstable outputs.

A focus on the boxes to be ticked rather than the reasons the boxes exist can lead to laws being followed at the expense of meeting the very outputs the laws are there to produce.Overlooking the spirit of the laws is easy, but dangerous, because it is the spirit that will always be the final judge of whether a course of action is suitable or not.When it comes to assessing suitability, the message you send about what is being invested in is less important than the one the client receives. The focus should be less on acquiring client knowledge, and more on how we use this knowledge that reflect an understanding of what truly matters to investors.