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Seminar III: Individual Judgment and Trust Formation: An Experimental Investigation of Online Financial Advice

Julie Agnew
Associate Professor of Finance and Economics, College of William and Mary

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October 10, 2013
3:00 pm to 4:30 pm
Reception to follow

The George Washington University
Room 651, Duquès Hall
2201 G Street NW (22nd Street entrance)
Metro: Foggy Bottom Station

Financial Literacy Talks: Interviews with Financial Literacy Thought Leaders

Biographical Statement: Julie Agnew

JULIE AGNEW is an Associate Professor of Finance and Economics and holds the John N. Dalton Term Chair at the College of William and Mary's Mason School of Business. She is a TIAA-CREF Institute Fellow, a former elected member of the Defined Contribution Plans Advisory Committee (DCPAC) for the Virginia Retirement System, and a Research Associate for the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. From 2009-2011, she was the Co-Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Behavioral Finance Research. Her research and consulting activities focus on behavioral finance and its relationship to financial decisions made by individuals in their retirement plans. She has presented her research at several national and international conferences, testified as an invited expert witness in front of the Senate's Committee on Health Education, Labor and Pensions and published in journals that include the American Economic Review, the Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, the Journal of Pension Economics and Finance and the Journal of Behavioral Finance. Additionally, she has won several nationally competitive research grants. Prior to pursuing her doctorate, she worked as an Analyst in investment banking for Salomon Brothers in New York City and as an Equity Research Associate for Vector Securities International in Chicago. A former Fulbright Scholar to Singapore, she co-authored a book examining strategic business opportunities in Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia. Dr. Agnew earned a B.A. degree in Economics (High Honors) and a minor in Mathematics from the College of William and Mary. She graduated Magna Cum Laude and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. She received a Ph.D. in Finance from Boston College in 2001. In 2012, she was a Senior Visiting Fellow working with Centre for Pensions and Superannuation at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.


Individual Judgment and Trust Formation: An Experimental Investigation of Online Financial Advice

By Julie Agnew, Hazel Bateman, Christine Eckert, Fedor Iskhakov, Jordan Louviere and Susan Thorp

The increasing extent and complexity of consumer financial decision making has highlighted the need for accessible financial advice. Financial advice has traditionally been the province of wealthier households, but many cannot afford advice under the typical face-to-face, fee-for-service model. The call for inexpensive, mass-market forms of advice is increasingly pressing. In this paper, we study responses of ordinary consumers to online video advice via a discrete choice experiment. Specifically, we investigate whether individuals can consistently tell bad advice from good advice; whether *subtle* differences in the financial adviser influence how individuals judge the quality of the advice; whether individuals tend to *follow* specific advisers *regardless* of the quality of the advice; and whether individuals who are *more *financially literate are better able to judge the quality of the advice and are less susceptible to manipulation by advisers? This research has public policy implications related to financial advisor certifications and financial education.