Over the last 10 years there has been an increasing emphasis on investor education. Much of the investor education has been more technical in nature about asset classes, products, markets and also the need to manage emotions. However, the Dalbar research results (refer to the article Investor Education is Futile ? Totally Discredited at http://www.thinkadvisor.com/2014/04/07/investor-education-is-futile-totally-discredited-d) still show investor returns are much lower compared to those of the market (measured by the S&P 500). In other words, despite increased education the investor results have not improved.
Investor education should not be the primary strategy for improving investor wealth creation. Certainly, it is holistic and does no harm. However, investors are never really going to understand market dynamics in volatile circumstances, or the complexities of different products (eg equities, bonds, options, hybrids etc) and will not have the capacity to deal with the changing risk profile of asset allocations. Further, given investors are not professionals in the market every day it will always be hard for them to manage their own emotions.
This is where I believe that the strategy for improving investor wealth creation needs to be more substantially focused on advisor education in the area of managing behavior. As professionals working in the industry and familiar with the technicalities of investing, advisors are well positioned to influence the decision making of their clients. So, it is the advisor who needs to receive more education about how to effectively influence client behavior. In particular, the education needs to focus on helping the advisors:
1. Be more aware of their own behavioral biases to be more effective in behaviorally managing the client
2. Learn how to adapt to the clients communication style for improving emotional engagement and also to re-frame information
3. Navigating the clients decision-making biases in build customized plans
Ultimately, it is up to the advisor to get the client to understand what they are buying into and to be emotionally committed. The client does have to participate enough so that they can sign off on an Investment Policy Statement. However, they do not need to educated as experts.