Skip to Content
  1. Podcasts
  2. The Long View

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.

The Long View cover art

Listen Now

Listen and subscribe to Morningstar’s The Long View from your mobile device.

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”  

Transparency is how we protect the integrity of our work and keep empowering investors to achieve their goals and dreams. And we have unwavering standards for how we keep that integrity intact, from our research and data to our policies on content and your personal data.

We’d like to share more about how we work and what drives our day-to-day business.

We sell different types of products and services to both investment professionals and individual investors. These products and services are usually sold through license agreements or subscriptions. Our investment management business generates asset-based fees, which are calculated as a percentage of assets under management. We also sell both admissions and sponsorship packages for our investment conferences and advertising on our websites and newsletters.

How we use your information depends on the product and service that you use and your relationship with us. We may use it to:

  • Verify your identity, personalize the content you receive, or create and administer your account.
  • Provide specific products and services to you, such as portfolio management or data aggregation.
  • Develop and improve features of our offerings.
  • Gear advertisements and other marketing efforts towards your interests.

To learn more about how we handle and protect your data, visit our privacy center.

Maintaining independence and editorial freedom is essential to our mission of empowering investor success. We provide a platform for our authors to report on investments fairly, accurately, and from the investor’s point of view. We also respect individual opinions––they represent the unvarnished thinking of our people and exacting analysis of our research processes. Our authors can publish views that we may or may not agree with, but they show their work, distinguish facts from opinions, and make sure their analysis is clear and in no way misleading or deceptive.

To further protect the integrity of our editorial content, we keep a strict separation between our sales teams and authors to remove any pressure or influence on our analyses and research.

Read our editorial policy to learn more about our process.