Released December 2020
In Spring 2016 the Maguire Center for Ethics collaborated with The American College State Farm Center for Women in Financial Services to conduct research to better understand the experience of women working in the financial services. This preliminary study was designed to address the following overarching question: How does gender influence individual experiences and perceptions of the equality of opportunity between men and women in the financial services industry? The study included a survey completed by 1,135 industry professionals at six different companies, along with in-depth interviews with 71 survey respondents who volunteered to participate. The results from this preliminary study suggest that women in the financial services industry have a fundamentally different experience than men, and that this experience informs a substantially less optimistic view of the opportunity structures for women in the industry.
By: Jamie Hopkins, Julie Ragatz, and Chuck Galli
What systems, structures, and practices might lead to unethical behavior in retirement income planning? Do retirement income planners worry that these unethical practices are harming clients? We surveyed hundreds of retirement income professionals and conducted 31 follow-up, in-depth interviews to answer these questions. Our quantitative survey results show that most retirement income professionals cite lack of knowledge and understanding on the part of the agent as the primary cause of unethical behavior in their industry. Our respondents see education, not an intensified drive to identify malevolent fraud, as the best ameliorant to unethical situations in retirement income planning. We are still analyzing our qualitative data using advanced coding techniques with NVIVO analytic software. However, initial results indicate that retirement income professionals believe that credentialization – specifically the Retirement Income Certified Professional® (RICP®) designation – provides the type of education needed to ebb unethical behavior in their field. Additionally, respondents say that the retirement income industry (and financial services industry at-large) suffers disproportionately from the few, rare “bad apples” who draw outrage and media attention for their particularly grievous trespasses. We believe that this project will enrich the literature on ethical behavior in retirement income planning and financial services in general. As retirement income planning becomes a more salient topic for an increasing number of Americans, understanding how ethicality can be reinforced will become essential to the economic prosperity of millions of people.