Retail Financial Advice: Does One Size Fit All?
55 Pages Posted: 12 Nov 2014 Last revised: 22 Mar 2021
Date Written: July 2, 2015
Using unique data on Canadian households, we show that financial advisors exert substantial influence over their clients' asset allocation, but provide limited customization. Advisor fixed effects explain considerably more variation in portfolio risk and home bias than a broad set of investor attributes that includes risk tolerance, stage in the lifecycle and financial sophistication. Advisor effects retain their importance even when controlling flexibly for unobserved heterogeneity through investor fixed effects. An advisor's own asset allocation strongly predicts the allocations chosen on clients' behalf. This one-size-fits-all advice does not come cheap. Advised portfolios cost 2.6% per year, or 1.6% more than lifecycle funds.
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