Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - 32

Spotlight A Top-Down Approach to Behavioral Finance By Michael M. Pompian Behavioral finance might have started in academia, but its theories can be put into practice right now. In the past eight years, we have seen two of the four worst bear markets of the past 100 years. At the March 2009 lows, upward of $15 trillion in asset values had evaporated, wiping out capital gains earned in the bull markets of the 1990s and 2000s. Many clients were shell-shocked, often frozen like deer in the headlights as to what to do. Basic risk-tolerance questionnaires failed to profile adequately the true character and needs of clients. Understanding how investors make investment decisions is no longer a nice-tohave skill. In this new era of wealth preservation, financial advisors are now required to be able to diagnose irrational behaviors and biases and advise their clients accordingly. Behavioral finance—generally defined as the application of psychology to finance— gives advisors insights that can help them gain a deep understanding of how to build strong relationships with clients. Although advisors have different ways of measuring the success of a client relationship, few could argue that every successful relationship shares fundamental characteristics. Consider the ways behavioral finance improves advisory relationships. How Behavioral Finance Helps Clients One characteristic of a good relationship is understanding a client’s financial goals. To best define goals, it is helpful for advisors to understand the psychology and emotions underlying the decisions clients make when creating the goals. Such insights equip the advisor with tools to deepen the bond with the client, producing a better investment outcome and achieving a better advisory relationship. Advisors who maintain a consistent approach to delivering their services build professionalism and structure to the client relationship. Incorporating behavioral finance can become part of that discipline. Advisors can use behavioral finance to get to know clients—even classify them—before offering any actual investment advice. Advisors will learn which approach with each client works best, and they can consistently apply that approach. Clients benefit because they know what to expect from their advisor. Addressing client expectations is an area of the advisory relationship that can benefit most from what behavioral finance has to offer; it is essential to a successful relationship. Younger advisors often fail in this area because they don’t take the time to understand the needs of the client. Behavioral finance provides a context in which the advisor can take a step back and attempt to understand the motivations of the client. Many top advisors across the globe are applying behavioral finance to their practices. In August 2007, I surveyed 290 sophisticated financial advisors1 in 30 countries. I asked them about their knowledge and use of behavioral finance. Ninety-three percent of advisors surveyed reported that they were aware of key behavioral-finance biases, and 94% were using behavioralfinance principles with their clients. Some less-experienced and quantitatively oriented advisors, however, are still needlessly struggling with understanding their clients’ behavior. This article introduces a foundation of basic behavioral-finance principles and will give advisors a step-by-step guide to incorporating behavioral-finance techniques into their practices. 1 In order to be “eligible” to receive a survey invitation, advisors needed to have some kind of advanced professional or academic designation—an MBA, CPA, CFA, CFP or other professional accomplishment. 32 Morningstar Advisor October/November 2009

Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009

Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009
Contents
New on MorningstarAdvisor.com
Letter from the Editor
Contributors
How Do You Use Behavioral Finance in Your Practice?
Investing in the Moment
Investment Briefs
How the Best Large-Cap Managers Rise Above the Rest
Don’t Give Up on Stocks Just Yet
Makeup of the Mind
A Top-Down Approach
In Practice: Patterns of Investor Irrationality
A Call for Nudges
The Furious Comeback of Emerging Markets
Junk-Bond Pioneer
Four Picks for the Present
Consumer Staples Hold Up in the Kitchen
Familiarity Can Breed Bad Investment Decisions
Leave the ‘Junk Rally’ Behind and Look for Quality at a Reasonable Price
Mutual Fund Analyst Picks
50 Most Popular Equity ETFs
Undervalued Stocks
New at Morningstar
Meet the New Boss, Same (School) as the Old Boss
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - Cover2
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - 1
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - 2
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - Contents
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - 4
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - 5
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - New on MorningstarAdvisor.com
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - 7
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - 8
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - Letter from the Editor
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - Contributors
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - 11
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - How Do You Use Behavioral Finance in Your Practice?
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - 13
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - 14
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - Investing in the Moment
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - 16
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - 17
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - 18
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - Investment Briefs
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - 20
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - 21
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - How the Best Large-Cap Managers Rise Above the Rest
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - 23
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - 24
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - 25
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - 26
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - Don’t Give Up on Stocks Just Yet
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - 28
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - 29
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - Makeup of the Mind
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - 31
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - A Top-Down Approach
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - 33
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - 34
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - 35
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - 36
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - 37
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - 38
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - 39
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - In Practice: Patterns of Investor Irrationality
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - 41
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - 42
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - A Call for Nudges
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - 44
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - 45
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - 46
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - 47
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - The Furious Comeback of Emerging Markets
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - 49
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - 50
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - 51
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - 52
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - 53
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - 54
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - Junk-Bond Pioneer
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - 56
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - 57
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - Four Picks for the Present
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - 59
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - 60
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - Consumer Staples Hold Up in the Kitchen
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - 62
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - 63
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - Familiarity Can Breed Bad Investment Decisions
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - 65
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - Leave the ‘Junk Rally’ Behind and Look for Quality at a Reasonable Price
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - 67
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - Mutual Fund Analyst Picks
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - 69
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - 70
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - 71
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - 50 Most Popular Equity ETFs
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - 73
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - Undervalued Stocks
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - 75
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - 76
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - 77
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - 78
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - New at Morningstar
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - Meet the New Boss, Same (School) as the Old Boss
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - Cover3
Morningstar Advisor - October/November 2009 - Cover4
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