Agnew and a team of Australian researchers competed against nearly 30 academic papers that were selected as finalists from a larger pool of submissions. Their study, Who Pays the Price for Bad Advice?: The Role of Financial Vulnerability, Learning and Confirmation Bias, was named as the overall winner.
The paper shows that experimental participants with a proclivity toward confirmation bias are more susceptible to bad advisors. Using a unique video experiment where actors play the role of advisers providing advice of varying quality, the researchers found that younger, more trusting, more impulsive, less financially literate, and less numerate participants were most vulnerable to paying more for a poor-quality adviser. This research adds to a greater body of work on the topic of how behavioral biases can affect consumer choice of qualified advisers.
“Our team is committed to undertaking research projects designed to help individuals make better financial decisions. We are honored that the CFP Board recognized our paper in this way and we hope that the practical implications of our findings will be useful to both academics and practitioners,” Agnew said.
The announcement was made during the Center’s fifth annual Academic Research Colloquium for Financial Planning and Related Disciplines. The Colloquium brings together an international audience of renowned researchers, practitioners, graduate students, and leaders to present their work on investments, psychology, behavioral finance, and other financial planning-related fields.
"Every paper submitted to the Colloquium, and the corresponding academic research, plays an important role in advancing the financial planning profession," said CFP Board Center for Financial Planning Managing Director D.A. Abrams, CAE. "We congratulate the winners of the best paper awards, who were selected for demonstrating the highest research standards."
Agnew currently serves as the Mason School’s Richard C. Kraemer Term Professor of Business. Her research and consulting activities focus on personal investing in 401(k) plans, behavioral finance, and financial literacy.