ArticlePDF Available
Meir Statman
Glenn Klimek Professor of Finance
Santa Clara University
Santa Clara, California
dren. Many investors want to be "number one," to
win the race, and to outperform neighbors or sib-
lings-all of which cause stress. The man I just
described was miserable even while holding $30 mil-
lion. Success in investing is about status; it is about
security; it is about life.
Financial advisors must be financial physicians.
To the knowledge of markets, securities, and portfo-
lios-all the lessons learned from the science of
finance-financial advisors must add the qualities of
good physicians: listening, hand-holding, and reas-
suring. Phy.sicians promote health and well-being,
and financial advisors promote wealth and well-
T he findings and insights of behavioral finance
can be useful to financial advisors. As an educa-
tor, I often speak with financial advisors. "Imagine
that you are meeting with an investor," I say, "tell me
what frustrates you most about the client's expecta-
tions." Advisors' answers are not surprising: Inves-
tors want the highest returns, with no risk, no taxes,
and no fees, and the really rich investors want even
What can advisors offer? They can offer poten-
tially greater wealth, improved well-being, and a
g~od balance between the two. Several years ago, I
attended a meeting between a financial advisor and
a potential client, a well-educated man who had just
received more than $30 million from the sale of his
father's business. His brothers and sisters had each
received the same amount. The advisor was trying to
help the man build a well-diversified portfolio com-
posed of domestic and international stocks and
bonds-a balanced portfolio with low risk that
would deliver good returns over the long run. But the
man was distressed. Confident they could pick win-
ning stocks, his brothers and sisters had chosen con-
centrated portfolios. They ridiculed his ideas about
well-diversified portfolios and were sure to laugh at
him when they came out ahead. As I listened, I real-
ized I was happier than this much wealthier man. I
had much less wealth but much greater well-being.
Wealth and well-being, what makes people
happy, what investors want, and what advisors can
offer-these are the themes of my presentation.
Listening. What are investors' aspirations,
emotions, and thoughts? What do investors really
want? Like a good physician, an advisor must really
listen to what investors need and want. Suppose a
client took to heart a comment made by his brother-
in-law at the last family gathering that implied his
brother-in-law was wealthier, and the comment still
bores into him, even two weeks after it was made.
This client does not want to discuss his angst about
that comment with anyone-whether an old friend
or a new investment advisor. So, how can an advisor
uncover this client's true feelings? The answer is
through listening, empathizing, and diagnosing, just
as a physician does. Investors trust good advisors as
they trust good physicians. And trusting investors
are honest investors. What do investors really fear?
Is it risk? Is risk standard deviation? Much too often
advisors jump into questionnaires about risk toler-
ance and miss the real fears and aspirations of inves-
tors. Consider international diversification. Risk is
not what is driving investors away from international
The Financial Physician
Many investors want more than a balance of risk and
return or more than simply enough money for a
secure retirement and college education for the chil-
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Investment Counseling for Private Clients IV
diversification; nor is an increase in correlations
between domestic and foreign stock returns. Inves-
tors are being driven away from foreign stocks by the
miserable performance of such stocks in the past
decade and the fear that more miserable performance
is in store.
fantasy might become an aspiration, and that aspira-
tion brings with it the stress of knowing that "1 am
not there yet."
Status seeking is good for us as a society because
it spurs economic growth and innovation. But status
seeking is also bad for us individually because it
spurs stress as it separates winners from losers. More-
over, status is not fixed. Declines in relative wealth
can be rapid, and status can drop even if wealth does
not. An entrepreneur who brought her company
public and netted $50 million is happy until she
discovers that her rival netted $100 million. I remem-
ber an old story my mother told me about a man who
complains to his rabbi that his house is much too
small for him, his wife, and their many children.
"Bring the goat inside the house," instructs the rabbi.
The instruction makes no sense, but the rabbi is the
rabbi. A week later, the man returns to the rabbi to
complain that now the situation is intolerable. "Take
the goat out of the house," instructs the rabbi. Sud-
denly, the house feels big.
Reasonable Benchmarks. The story of the
man, the rabbi, and the goat is valuable to advisors
because it addresses the concept of benchmarks.
Advisors have to adjust the benchmarks, or aspira-
tions, of their clients (and themselves). Whenever a
client says, "Gee, I am not doing as well as Joe; Joe
told me he invested in XYZ stock, and he has done so
well," the advisor needs to change the benchmark of
that client so that she can see how far she has come
in her own investing. Remember that status and well-
being can depend on one's position relative to other
people as well as to one's own past and aspirations.
Benchmarks and aspirations need to be reason-
able or stress will inevitably rise. My wife and I just
finished renovating our home, a giant project. The
other day, I realized that our new kitchen is bigger
than the entire apartment we had as students. That
apartment serves as a perfect benchmark. I say,
"Relax some, Meir, you are doing okay."
Stress and Status. Good investment advisors
listen to clients to uncover their sources of stress. A
recent book contains interesting articles about well-
being, including a particularly intriguing article by
Robert Sapolsky that compares the physiology of
animals under stress with that of humans under
stress.! Consider two humans sitting at a chessboard
and moving pawns from square to square. Their
heart rates and hormone secretions respond as
though they are gazelles being chased by lions. What
is going on? Gazelles experience hormone secretions
that increase their heart rates only when under
stress-the fight-or-flight phenomenon, but we
humans tend to be under stress all the time. We worry
about mortgages, relationships, and the thinning
ozone layer, all of which are mysteries to the gazelle.
This constant stress can cause actual physical ail-
ments, such as heart disease.
We experience stress most often in environments
of little predictability, little control, and little social
support. The man I described earlier who was given
more !han $30 million had only one reasonable
option-to invest the money. He was thus facing the
unpredictability of securities markets for many years
to come. Securities markets are an environment in
which we have little control and a place where we find
little social support. Indeed, in the world of investing,
friends and relatives are more likely to be competing
against than supporting one another. (Interestingly,
studies on behavior show that brothers-in-law are a
source of particularly great competition and stress.)
What reduces stress? Status reduces stress. We
always compare ourselves with others. Are we richer
than our brother-in-law? We also compare our cur-
rent positions with our own past positions and our
aspirations for the future. Are we richer today than a
year ago? Are we as rich as we aspire to be? We are
happy when our status is high relative to that of other
people and to our own past, or aspired, positions.
Wealth is absolute. Status is relative. Although
most people cannot imagine what it would be like to
be worth $100 million, most can easily imagine what
it would be like to earn an extra $100,000 a year. This
Lessons of Behavioral Finance. Why do we
humans behave the way we do? The answer is that
the forces of evolution have designed us to behave
this way. Our brains have evolved as our other
organs have. The brain evolved to have modules that
perform special tasks, just as the heart evolved to
pump blood. For example, an important task of the
brain is rapid recognition of facial expressions, know-
ing whether someone is happy, sad, angry, or threat-
ening. This capability is hardwired because of its
importance for human survival and reproduction.
The same is true for status seeking. But not every-
thing that is hardwired or "natural" is useful. Our
brains do not develop as fast as our environment, and
1 Robert M. Sapolsky, "The Physiology and Pathophysiology of
Unhappiness," Well-Being: The Foundations of Hedonic Behavior,
edited by Daniel Kahneman, Edward Diener, and Norbert
Schwarz (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1999):453-469.
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Financial Physicians
modules that helped us in past environments can
hurt us in today's environment. Status seeking is
crucial to survival in environments where food is
scarce. High status in such environments brings suf-
ficient food and other life necessities. But status seek-
ing often backfires in environments where food and
other necessities are plentiful. Now, people with $30
million are stressed because they aspire to $100 mil-
lion, as if $100 million is as necessary for survival as
a daily meal. Similarly, the learning tools embedded
in the brain are imperfect, and we are subject to
cognitive biases when such tools fail.
Hindsight bias nicely illustrates cognitive biases.
Hindsight bias fools us into thinking that we have
known the future all along when, in fact, we knew it
only with hindsight. Consider Warren Buffett. "Oh
yeah? What about Warren Buffett?" is a common
response to anyone who suggests that beating the
market is difficult. Buffett is indeed a genius. But did
we know Buffett's genius with foresight, when it
would have mattered, or did we know it only
recently, with hindsight?
Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway returns
first appeared in the CRSP database in October 1976,
so Jonathan Scheid and I used that date to begin a
comparison of the returns of Berkshire Hathaway
stock with the returns of other stocks.2 If investors
had put $1 into Berkshire Hathaway on October 31,
1976, they would have had $1,044 by December 31,
2000; if investors put that same $1 in the S&P 500
Index in October 1976, they would have had only $30
by December 2000. Indeed, Buffett did much better.
What would have happened to the price of Berk-
shire Hathaway's stock in 1976 if people had known
then, with foresight, that Buffett was a genius?
Undoubtedly, it would have zoomed higher in 1976,
lowering returns for investors who bought Berkshire
Hathaway stock later, in 1980 or 1985. In fact, what is
amazing about Berkshire Hathaway stock is how
gradually its price rose. This slow rise is an indication
that people have come to know that Buffett is a genius
only in hindsight, not in foresight.
What about foresight in other investments?
Mylan Laboratories, a producer of generic drugs,
performed better than Berkshire Hathaway in the
1976-2000 period; investors who had put $1 in Mylan
Laboratories' stock would have earned $1,545 over
that period. Did investors really know with foresight
that Mylan Laboratories would do even better than
Berkshire Hathaway? Home Depot also did better
than Berkshire Hathaway, and in less time. Did inves-
tors really know it all along?
Hindsight misleads us about the past, and it
makes us overconfident about the future. When we,
as investors, look back and see how well we "pre-
dicted" the past, we are fooled into thinking that we
can predict the future just as well. We become over-
So, investors who were overconfident in their
bullishness two years ago may be equally overconfi-
dent in their bearishness today. The mind-set of
investors simply switches from "now we are going to
have high returns forever" to "now we are going to
have low returns forever." But hindsight is not fore-
sight, and perfect knowledge of the past does not
imply perfect knowledge of the future. Financial
advisors must know the range of cognitive errors and
use lessons, such as that illustrated by Berkshire
Hathaway, to help investors overcome them.
.Rational versus normal. Behavioral finance
attempts to describe the investment decisions we
humans make. We are neither irrational nor rational.
We are normal-intelligent. but fallible. We have
brains, not computers, in our heads. We commit cog-
nitive errors such as hindsight bias and overconfi-
Consider normal behavior in the context of port-
folio management and the mean-variance frame-
work. Given the range of securities-from domestic
stocks to derivatives to exchange traded funds-how
do advisors think about the place of each security in
a client's portfolio? The mean-variance framework
assumes that investors are rational in the sense that
they care only about the risk and expected return of
their overall portfolios. So, investors should not look
at stocks, bonds, and cash as individual components
to help them achieve their personal and financial
goals; rather, they should look at the overall relation-
ships among the assets in their portfolios, and corre-
lations between assets are paramount. But are we
mean-variance investors?
Analyses of the brain, intelligence, and human
behavior have taught those working in behavioral
finance that investors are driven not so much by their
attitudes toward return and risk but by their aspira-
tions and fears. This predilection was noted long ago
by Milton Friedman and Leonard Savage, who
observed that people who buy insurance contracts
often buy lottery tickets as well.3 From a mean-
variance perspective, lottery tickets are not only stu-
pid; they violate all norms of rationality.4 They have
a negative expected return with high risk. But a
3Milton Friedman and Leonard J. Savage, "The Utility Analysis of
Choices Involving Risk," Journal of Political Economy (August
4See also M. Statman, "Lottery Players/Stock Traders," Financial
Analysts Journal Oanuary /February 2002):14-21.
2Meir Statman and Jonathan Scheid, "Buffett in Foresight and
Hindsight," Financial Analysts Journal (July / August 2002):11-18. .7
Investment Counseling for Private Clients IV
lottery ticket that costs a dollar gives us hope for an
entire week. All week long, we can think about how
to spend the $150 million jackpot we might win ("Oh
boy, what I will do with that fortune!"). And by the
way, the fun of playing the lottery is not always
selfish. We often think of how we might spend our
winnings on others. The desire to play the lottery
might be irrational, but it is perfectly normal. Playing
lotteries (within limits) contributes to our well-being.
.Mental accounting. Humans-investors-
care about upside potential, and lottery tickets pro-
vide it. Call options and aggressive growth mutual
funds provide it as well. But while we are looking for
upside potential, we are also looking for downside
protection. When clients talk about risk, they are
usually talking about the search for downside protec-
tion. And when they talk about returns, they are
usually talking about the search for upside potential.
We tend to compartmentalize the assets we use
for downside protection from the assets \ve use for
upside potential. In the old days, many people kept
their money for rent, furniture, groceries, and so on,
in separate jars. Today, we have the same mental
accounting approach to our various pools of assets.
For example, T -bonds are viewed as assets suitable
for downside protection (to avoid poverty), and high-
flying assets-not long ago, Internet initial public
offerings (IPOs) and hedge funds-are thought of, or
mentally set aside, for upside potential. In behavioral
portfolio theory, the old notion of the pyramid
applies. People divide their money into layers; the
bottom layer is designed for downside protection
(e.g., U.S. T-bills), the middle is for steady wealth
growth (e.g., U.S. T -bonds and Blue Chip stocks), and
the uppermost layer (the next hot investment, what-
ever it is), is designed to provide upside potential.
Investment advisors tend to see themselves
accordingly. For example, some advisors consider
themselves conservative: "We are here to provide
downside protection. We want to make sure that
your retirement income is secure. If you want wild
upside potential, take 5 percent of your wealth and
go play with it yourself. You risk it; you lose it."
My mother understood the principles of mean-
variance portfolios long before Harry Markowitz
thought of them. When it came to food, she cared
about two things: nutrition and cost. She had little
patience for the presentation of the ingredients on the
plate. She used to say, "It all mixes in the stomach."
This description is a perfect representation of mean-
variance theory. From the perspective of the stomach
(portfolio), food (investments) is just bundles of nutri-
tion (risk and expected returns). Who cares whether
the bundle is called IBM,, or Philip
Morris? But most people do care about how food
looks, smells, and tastes, just as investors care about
the identities of the securities in their portfolios. Most
people do not want to be served a wonderful dessert
that is ground up to look like it will in the stomach.
And most investors do not want to have their securi-
ties ground up into a bland "index" portfolio.
Sometimes financial advisors become so enam-
ored of means, variances, covariances, and the other
paraphernalia of the mean-variance framework that
they forget that portfolios must be palatable. But even
my mother, who focused on cost and nutrition, paid
some attention to the presentation of her meals. She
knew the meals had to be appealing or else a child
would not eat them. As investment advisors, we
should follow her example. We have to focus on
clients' fears and aspirations. We must give them
downside protection and upside potential. We can
use a mean-variance framework to assure that the
portfolio makes sense as a whole, from the perspec-
tive of the stomach, but the portfolio must also appeal
to the eyes, nose, and tongue. It must have distinct
components-money for Johnny's education, retire-
ment, and to keep alive the dream of riches.
.Regret. Risk has so many definitions that
without further clarification, the word is almost
meaningless. One definition of risk is the possibility
of not having enough for essential outlays. If that is
risk, then people with $30 million face no risk. So,
why are they afraid? The rich are not afraid of risk;
they are afraid of loss of status, and they are afraid of
Regret is what we feel when we realize that we
could have sold all of our Nasdaq stocks at 5,000.
Although risk is about looking forward, regret is
about looking backward. Regret comes when we con-
template, with hindsight, what we could have done
but did not.
Why do we feel regret? Evolutionary psycholo-
gists say it is a useful learning tool. When we observe
our past actions and their outcomes, we learn what
works and what does not. The painful kick of regret
says, "You should not have done that. Don't do it
again." The problem is that a learning tool that works
so well in a highly predictable world does not work
well in a world where randomness rules. For exam-
ple, when we treat friends badly, we can anticipate
the predictable consequences and know that we will
regret our behavior. The anticipated regret usually
serves as a deterrent. But regret often teaches us the
wrong lesson in the stock market, where randomness
and luck rule. We feel regret because we chose a stock
that proceeded to crash when, in fact, we were simply
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Financial Physicians
Not all wealthy people understand the trade-off
between wealth and well-being, and not all accept
that society does not owe them admiration, or even
respect, just because they are wealthy. One potential
outcome is the "angry affluents" phenomenon,
where people conclude that ''as rich as I am, I am not
rich enough." Some angry affluents have been stung
by insurance schemes or phony trusts set up to avoid
taxes. The outcome of such schemes is rarely posi-
tive-either from a wealth or a well-being stand-
point. Financial advisors can poirit out to angry
affluents that they can reduce both their anger and
their taxes by donating money to a cause they really
want to support. They will lose some wealth but will
gain well-being.
Some wealthy worry that they are not wealthy
enough, but others worry that wealth takes a toll on
themselves and their children. Parents who used to
worry about not being able to pay for their children's
college education instead worry about their children
turning into spoiled brats. Again, financial advisors
can help investors and their children see the benefits
of balancing wealth with well-being and can create
structures, such as family charitable foundations,
that facilitate that balance.
Regret is associated with responsibility. Inves-
tors in the throes of regret often try to soothe the pain
of regret by shifting responsibility to the nearest per-
son. Often, this person is the advisor. "1 didn't choose
foreign stocks," say investors after foreign stocks post
miserable returns, "My advisor chose them for me."
.Self-control. The ability to learn self-control,
like the ability to learn a language, is hardwired. But
unlike language, self-control must be taught. Chil-
dren may not be as eager to embrace self-control as
they are to learn a language, but self-control has to be
taught by parents because the ability to postpone
pleasure is crucial for life. Advisors must extend the
self-control lessons of parents.
Self-control is especially challenging for young or
new investors, such as actors or athletes, who receive
huge amounts of money at young ages. Investment
advisors sometimes resort to drastic solutions, such
as doling out an allowance to the client while keeping
the bulk of the money under their control.
And lest one think self-control problems affect
only young wealthy people, think about the rest of
us. Social security, 401(k) plans, and lRAs-any pool
of money that cannot be touched without penalty
until some advanced age-are mechanisms to help
us control the urge to spend.
But there is such a thing as too much self-control.
Some clients need to be persuaded to spend more.
Some people in their 70s and 80s insist on saving and
feel financially insecure despite their $30 million
portfolios. Advisors can help such clients relax the
purse strings a little; a cruise around the world, for
example, would not break the bank.
Wealth and Well-Being among the Very
Wealthy. Some events in life bring a person both
greater wealth and greater well-being. For example,
Panel A of Figure 1 shows the efficient frontier for an
entrepreneur who just brought her company to mar-
ket in an IPO. She has moved up the wealth axis and
the well-being axis. She now has a greater amount of
money and a greater sense of pride and achievement.
Once the wealthy (and the rest of us) are on the
efficient frontier between wealth and well-being,
however, they face trade-offs. They can have more
well-being, but only if they deplete their wealth.
Admiration enhances the well-being of the wealthy,
but the wealthy we admire are the ones who contrib-
ute wealth to worthy causes. People admire Rock-
efeller and Carnegie for establishing the Rockefeller
and Carnegie Foundations, not for making lots of
money from oil or steel. As shown in Panel B of Figure
1, the wealthy can trade off wealth for well-being.
When they donate their money to promote health in
Africa or to support their alma mater, they lose
wealth but gain well-being.
Conversations with clients often resemble the Gary
Larson cartoon in which the man says to his dog,
"Ginger, I have had it! Stay out of the garbage, Ginger.
Understand, Ginger? Stay out of the garbage, or
else!" And Ginger hears: "Blah blah blah, Ginger.
Blah blah blah, Ginger. Blah blah blah, Ginger."
Financial advisors say, "High returns cannot be guar-
anteed. No one can guarantee that high risk will bring
high returns. No guarantee, you understand?" And
clients hear: "Blah blah blah high returns. Blah blah
blah no risk. Blah blah blah guaranteed!" Conversa-
tions with clients can be frustrating.
Remember that investing is about more than
money. It is about reducing stress in an environ-
ment-the securities markets-that creates large
amounts of stress. Advisors need to remember the
story of the man, the rabbi, and the goat to maintain
their perspective.
Follow the pattern of the physician: Ask, listen,
diagnose, educate, and treat. Financial advisors who
act as financial physicians combine the science of
finance and securities with the ability to empathize
with and guide clients-thinking not about risk and
return but about investors' fears, aspirations, and the
errors they are likely to make. Financial advisors
promote wealth and well-being just as physicians
promote health and well-being. .9
@2002, AIMR@
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Life does not resemble the Olympic games, and
there are better goals than being first at the finish line.
Remind clients, "Who cares if your brother or sister
has $31 million and you have only $30 million? You
have more than you could possibly need for anything
you might reasonably desire. If your desire to outrun
your siblings is so strong that it causes you to collapse
midway through the marathon called life, what good
is $31 million? The real goal is to get to the finish line
in one piece."
Figure 1. Wealth and Well-Being Efficient
A. Day of the [PO
B. Later, after Donating Money to a Charity
@2002 AIMR@
Financial Physicians
Meir Statman
are not going to die soon. That
information is a great service that
is worth the fee.
Question: How are young
investors different from old ones?
Question: Money managers
subject themselves to additional
stress by ranking and comparing
themselves with other money
managers. Do you have any advice
for helping to promote well-being
within ourselves so that our per-
sonal well-being might flow
through to our clients?
Statman: I think financial advi-
sors have conditioned their clients
to believe that financial advice is
free. As financial advisors, you
have encouraged the impression
that you earn your fees by beating
the market and the rest is a side
benefit. I think the result is horrible
because it puts undue pressure on
you to beat the market when your
real work is your work as financial
I do see some improvements.
First, the move from transaction-
based fees to asset-based fees is a
step in the right direction, and sec-
ond, there is nothing like a bear
market to show people that they
need financial physicians. The next
step is for investment advisors to
re-engineer the perception in the
market that advisors are primarily
market beaters; advisors need to
teach plainly that they are promot-
ers of both wealth and well-being,
not just promoters of wealth.
In the heyday of the bull mar-
ket I spoke to a group of financial
advisors who asked, "How can we
compete with the free advice being
given on the radio, television, and
Internet?" My answer drew on the
analogy with physicians: You can
get a lot of medical advice from the
media also, but when you have a
pain in your back, you see your
own physician. If your physician
says, "That pain is nothing, you
just pulled a muscle, and it will go
away in a day or two," you don't
feel resentful about paying the
physician's fee. You have gained
the well-being that comes from
knowing that the pain is not an
indication of cancer and that you
Statman: When we are young,
competition drives our consump-
tion habits. We want sports cars
and other toys. Advisors must help
investors regain self-control and
reduce consumption. Advisors
know that young people cannot
live without toys altogether, but
they must set savings structures so
they can afford necessities, includ-
ing cars, when they are older.
Older people have the oppo-
site problem. Some become so
good at self-control that they turn
into misers. In The Millionaire Next
Door, for example, the interviewer
asks an older person about donat-
ing to charity, and the person
responds, "1 am my favorite char-
ity .,,1 Advisors must remind inves-
tors gently that life does not go on
forever and help them give up
some control-whether giving
control of the family business to the
next generation, giving money to
charity, or learning to spend
money on themselves.
Some people are too hot and
need to be cooled off; other people
are too cold and need to be warmed
up. Such are the challenges that
advisors face every day.
Statman: Money managers live
with stress; teachers live with
stress. Living without stress alto-
gether is not only unrealistic but
also probably not useful. The real
question is whether we can bring it
under control so that we can man-
age it.
The way to bring it under con-
trpl is to put things in perspective
and readjust our benchmarks.
There are many benchmarks. One
is relative to other money manag-
ers, another is relative to your prior
year's performance, and another is
relative to your aspirations. Think:
"I cannot be number one all the
time, first quartile is not that bad;
yes, I lagged the market, but I did
better than my peers; well, I didn't
do as well as my peers, but my wife
loves me."
Controlling stress and encour-
aging well-being depend on iden-
tifying the kind of race you are
running. If you see yourself as rac-
ing against the market, then you
are in a tough race. But if you see
yourself as a financial physician to
clients, then your race is easier to
win and a happier one to run.
Question: Do you have any
advice on how to overcome indi-
viduals' desire not to pay advisors
their fees?
IThomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko,
The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising
Secrets of America's Wealthy (Thorndike, ME:
G.K. Hall, 1999). .11
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... Baker et al., 2012;Davidow, 2015;Peterson, 2009;Towel et al., 2015). The financial advisor role is extended to be a financial physician, (Statman, 2002) a social worker (E.Baker et al., 2012), a choice architect (Towel et al., 2015), a life coach and planner (A.Jackson, Saffeel, & Fitzpatrick, 2016;Kinder & Galvan, 2005;Michael, Hartwell, & Ho, 2015), a financial coach and financial therapist (Belkora, 2015). Significantly, the evolving role of financial advisor requires emotional intelligence and due consideration to the non-financial factors affecting client decision-making to build trusted relationship (Peterson, 2009;Weisinger, 2004). ...
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This paper focuses on the investor-advisor relation, looking at financial advisory as a fiduciary service. Consistently with the economic literature on the Trust Game, we formalize trust between financial advisors and clients as driven by a combination of two traditional motives – a norm to trust and anticipated reciprocation. We use related literature and insights from the recently introduced European Markets in Financial Instruments Directive 2 (MiFID 2) to define an original survey to estimate a structural equation model of trust formation, where trust and its two main motives are described as latent variables. Besides this methodological contribution, we test the validity of the hypothesized structural relation and explore whether specific features of financial advisors are likely to lead to different trust-formation processes. We find that the professional framing (tied versus bank advisors) and the maturity (new entrants versus incumbents) of financial advisors do indeed support different trust-formation processes. We conclude by exploring how these processes may be differently affected by the new regulation and discussing implications for the financial advisory industry.
This chapter looks at the different roles that advisors play in the client–advisor relationship. Looking at empirical data, the first section of this chapter shows that the main goal of financial advisory—improving financial returns—is not effectively pursued.
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