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The Market for Financial Advice: An Audit Study

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  • Sendhil Mullainathan
  • Markus Noeth
  • Antoinette Schoar

Abstract

Do financial advisers undo or reinforce the behavioral biases and misconceptions of their clients? We use an audit methodology where trained auditors meet with financial advisers and present different types of portfolios. These portfolios reflect either biases that are in line with the financial interests of the advisers (e.g., returns-chasing portfolio) or run counter to their interests (e.g., a portfolio with company stock or very low-fee index funds). We document that advisers fail to de-bias their clients and often reinforce biases that are in their interests. Advisers encourage returns-chasing behavior and push for actively managed funds that have higher fees, even if the client starts with a well-diversified, low-fee portfolio.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17929.

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Date of creation: Mar 2012
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17929

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References

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  1. John Chalmers & Jonathan Reuter, 2012. "What is the Impact of Financial Advisors on Retirement Portfolio Choices and Outcomes?," NBER Working Papers 18158, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Diane Del Guercio & Jonathan Reuter & Paula A. Tkac, 2010. "Broker Incentives and Mutual Fund Market Segmentation," NBER Working Papers 16312, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Beyer, Max & de Meza, David & Reyniers, Diane, 2013. "Do financial advisor commissions distort client choice?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 119(2), pages 117-119.
  2. Roman Inderst & Marco Ottaviani, 2012. "Financial Advice," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 50(2), pages 494-512, June.
  3. Gine, Xavier & Martinez Cuellar, Cristina & Mazer, Rafael Keenan, 2014. "Financial (dis-)information : evidence from an audit study in Mexico," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6902, The World Bank.
  4. Nicola Gennaioli & Andrei Shleifer & Robert Vishny, 2012. "Money Doctors," Working Papers 464, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  5. Diane Del Guercio & Jonathan Reuter & Paula A. Tkac, 2010. "Broker Incentives and Mutual Fund Market Segmentation," NBER Working Papers 16312, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. John Chalmers & Jonathan Reuter, 2012. "What is the Impact of Financial Advisors on Retirement Portfolio Choices and Outcomes?," NBER Working Papers 18158, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Kim, Hugh H. & Maurer, Raimond & Mitchell, Olivia S., 2013. "Time is money: Life cycle rational inertia and delegation of investment management," CFS Working Paper Series 2013/08, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  8. Gill, Andrej & Heinz, Matthias & Schumacher, Heiner, 2014. "Trust, trustworthiness and selection into the financial industry," CFS Working Paper Series 458, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  9. Jennifer Brown & Dylan B. Minor, 2012. "Misconduct in Credence Good Markets," NBER Working Papers 18608, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Binswanger, J. & Carman, K.G., 2010. "The Miracle of Compound Interest: Does our Intuition Fail?," Discussion Paper 2010-137, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  11. Santosh Anagol & Shawn Cole & Shayak Sarkar, 2012. "Understanding the Advice of Commissions-Motivated Agents: Evidence from the Indian Life Insurance Market," Harvard Business School Working Papers 12-055, Harvard Business School, revised Jan 2013.

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