(The Market for Financial Adviser Misconduct)
There are more wolves on Wall Street than you might realize.
In a paper published February 26, academics Mark Egan, Gregor Matvos, and Amit Seru looked at conduct records for financial advisers.
They point out that while a number of highly publicized scandals (think: "The Wolf of Wall Street") have rocked the industry, the full scale of misconduct has not been "systematically documented."
Their study, they argue, is "the first large-scale study that documents the economy-wide extent of misconduct among financial advisers and financial advisory firms."
The findings are pretty damning. Misconduct is surprisingly common, and there are a number of repeat offenders out there moving from firm to firm.
The academics crunched the data on 1.2 million current and former advisers from 2005 to 2015, and found that 7.28% have been disciplined for misconduct or fraud. That is equivalent to 87,000 people.
That statistic has broad significance. More than half of all American households sought advice from a financial adviser in 2010, according to the study, and the 650,000 active advisers help manage over $30 trillion in investable assets.
Here are some key stats:
- The most common cause of a misconduct disclosure is a customer dispute that has been settled.
- The three most common reasons for customer disputes are unsuitable advice, misrepresentations and unauthorized activity.
- In some counties in Florida and California, around 20% of advisers have been disciplined.
- Roughly one-third of the 7% disciplined are repeat offenders.
- Past offenders are as much as five times more likely to engage in misconduct than the average adviser.
- The median settlement payment paid to customers is $40,000.
- Over half of financial advisers who engage in misconduct keep their job into the following year.
- And 44% of those who do lose their job after misconduct find a new job within a year.
- Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs have the lowest percentage of advisers who have been disciplined for misconduct, while Oppenheimer has the highest.
Here is an excerpt from the paper:
Bloomberg View's Matt Levine drew my attention to the study. Read his post on it here.
More From Business Insider
- China's latest move to keep cash in the country sticks it to foreign investment funds
- The stock market is upside down
- One of Wall Street's premier advisory firms just landed a big-name hire from Citigroup