Financial Advice: Does it Make a Difference?

28 Pages Posted: 6 May 2012 Last revised: 7 May 2012

Date Written: May 5, 2012


The financial advice profession provides a potentially valuable service to consumers within an increasingly complex financial marketplace. Financial advice professionals can substitute for costly investment in financial knowledge by households. This paper provides evidence that financial advisers improve financial outcomes when the interests of the advisor and household are aligned. However, professional advice can harm consumers if conflicts of interest create high agency costs. Understanding how differences in compensation methods and regulatory frameworks affect incentives is essential to improving the breadth and quality of professional advice.

Suggested Citation

Finke, Michael S., Financial Advice: Does it Make a Difference? (May 5, 2012). Available at SSRN: or

Michael S. Finke (Contact Author)

The American College ( email )

Bryn Mawr, PA 19010
United States

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