Behavioral Finance is Alive and Well

An article in last month’s MorningstarAdvisor  provides a “brief tour through the history of behavioral finance” and offers some insights as to what might lie ahead.

“Behavioral finance as a distinct approach is very much alive and well, and it is being applied in a variety of contexts within the industry,” writes Morningstar’s Steve Wendel, who oversees a team of researchers dedicated to developing “behavioral tools to help investors in an increasingly complicated market.”

Wendel cites some of the key players in this field of study as well as some major findings with respect to biases and other relevant factors. He delves into topics such as recency bias, Illusory superiority (in which investors think “they are better than average”), and overconfidence, referencing the work of Richard Thaler and Daniel Kahneman, among others.

The article also provides specifics regarding how behavioral finance is evolving and how its applications are growing across the industry, noting the increase in the types of tools available to help investors (i.e. ways that money managers can “coach” clients and automation tools to assist in financial planning).