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Nicole Boyson: How to Spot Financial Advisor Conflicts of Interest

An academic's take on financial advisor conflicts that can leave investors saddled with costly, underperforming funds. We also touch on hedge fund activism, financial contagion, and female portfolio managers.

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Our guest this week is  Nicole Boyson. Boyson is the Patrick F. and Helen C. Walsh Research Professor at Northeastern University's D’Amore-McKim School of Business, where she teaches and conducts research in the areas of investments and corporate finance. Professor Boyson has authored numerous publications and referee journals, with a focus on regulatory arbitrage, hedge fund management, and hedge fund activism. She also recently published a provocative working paper on financial advisor conflicts of interest entitled, "The Worst of Both Worlds? Dual-Registered Investment Advisers." A certified public accountant, Professor Boyson serves on the Editorial Board of the Financial Analysts Journal. She received her bachelor's degree from Kent State University, her MBA from Case Western Reserve University, and her Ph.D. in Finance from Ohio State University. Professor Boyson is active on social media, where she can be found on Twitter at @nikir1.

Background and Influences

Nicole Boyson’s home page

Nicole Boyson’s Twitter profile @nikir1

Josh Brown’s Twitter profile @reformedbroker

Wes Gray’s Twitter profile @alphaarchitect

Max Schatzow’s Twitter profile @advisercounsel

Investment Company Institute (ICI) Fact Books  

Published Research: Hedge Fund Activism

“Corporate Governance and Hedge Fund Activism” by Nicole Boyson and Robert Mooradian; Review of Derivates Research, volume 14, no. 2, 2011  

“Activism Mergers” by Nicole Boyson, Nickolay Gantchev, and Anil Shivdasani; Journal of Financial Economics; Oct. 23, 2015  

Published Research: Female Hedge Fund Managers

“The Performance of Female Hedge Fund Managers” by Rajesh Aggarwal and Nicole Boyson; Review of Financial Economics; Feb. 3, 2016

Published Research: Hedge Funds and Contagion

“Hedge Fund Contagion and Liquidity Shocks” by Nicole Boyson, Christof Stahel, and Rene Stulz; Journal of Finance, volume 55, no. 5; October 2010

Financial Advisor Conflicts

Working Paper: “The Worst of Both Worlds? Dual-Registered Investment Advisers” by Nicole Boyson

“Report of the Committee on Compensation Practices” dated April 10, 1995

SEC Final Rule “Certain Broker-Dealers Deemed Not to Be Investment Advisers”

Rick Ferri’s website

“Ferri: There are No Average Investors,” The Long View podcast, July 3, 2019

SEC Investment Adviser Public Disclosure (IAPD) website

Financial Planning Association v. Securities and Exchange Commission

SEC Final Rule: “Regulation Best Interest: The Broker-Dealer Standard of Conduct”

SEC Share Class Selection Disclosure Initiative

“SEC Share Class Initiative Returning More Than $125 Million to Investors”