From February 20th through February 22nd, the CFP Board’s Center for Financial Planning hosted their second annual Academic Research Colloquium (ARC) for Financial Planning and Related Disciplines in Washington D.C. The event brought together 225 attendees, of which close to 200 were researchers and academic faculty, to share and discuss research relevant to the financial planning profession, as a part of the CFP Board Center’s longer-term goal of establishing itself as the “academic home” for the financial planning profession (and the research that supports it).
In this guest post, Dr. Derek Tharp – a Kitces.com Researcher, and a recent Ph.D. graduate from the financial planning program at Kansas State University – provides a recap of the 2018 CFP Academic Research Colloquium, and highlights a few particular research studies with relevant takeaways for financial planning practitioners.
The 2018 CFP Academic Research Colloquium again had a strong showing from some core financial planning academic programs, with scholars from Texas Tech, Missouri, and Georgia serving as lead authors for nearly 25% of all research presentations and poster sessions. Notably, this representation is more diverse than last year, as last year the top four programs accounted for nearly 50% of research presented. Additionally, the colloquium was successful in drawing in scholars from outside of the core financial planning programs, featuring lead authors from a total of 35 different academic institutions, including Harvard, Duke, Georgetown, and Notre Dame.
The colloquium featured a wide range of topics. Some particularly relevant themes for financial planning practitioners ranged from biases that influence financial decision making among both financial advisors and their clients (e.g., how human use of technology to assist with statistical decision-making can help…or not), to issues related to quality of life in retirement (e.g., are retirees happier living near their friends or children?), and racial diversity in the financial services industry, including an examination of the role of empathy in black consumers choice of a financial advisor.
Overall, the second Academic Research Colloquium again brought together a strong mix of academics and practitioners to present and discuss financial planning research. Notable challenges and opportunities for growth in coming years will include the launch of the Center for Financial Planning’s new academic journal (Financial Planning Review), the Center’s push to establish the ARC as the core conference interview location for financial planning faculty positions, and continuing to attract a diverse group of scholars to build and contribute to the financial planning knowledge base. Only time will tell if Center for Financial Planning can be successful in their pursuit of becoming the “academic home” of financial planning research, but the ARC continues to be a strong conference for both financial planning academics, and practitioners interested in financial planning research.