Vanguard’s newly established Center for Investor Research aims to enhance the company’s efforts to drive investor success through behavioral research and experimentation, according to an announcement.
The new center will be initially dedicated to the study of the behavior of individual investors — examining how investors make decisions through observational studies based on Vanguard’s administrative data and the growing pool of digital interactions.
According to Vanguard, the center will also design experimental interventions — or “nudges” — to directly improve investor outcomes.
“The center will take a data-driven, scientific view of investor behavior, and transform this knowledge into practical application,” Steve Utkus, principal and head of the Center for Investor Research, said in a statement. “Our research agenda will advance our understanding of the fundamental nature of investor decision-making and uncover strategies to improve the financial lives of our investors.
The new center is an evolution of the Vanguard Center for Retirement Research that was founded in 2001. The new center will continue producing defined contribution-centric research such as How America Saves, Vanguard’s flagship DC publication, which is widely leveraged by plan sponsors, consultants, regulators and academics alike.
The new center, though, will extend its reach to include a range of individual investor types and demographics, including direct and advised clients, and 401(k) participants, as well as millennials, accumulators and retirees.
Planned research topics include investor expectations for stock market returns, the role of trust in advisor-client relationships, and the transition from work to retirement.
In addition, with more than 90% of U.S. direct and 401(k) client interactions at Vanguard conducted online or via a mobile application, the new center will explore how investors make choices in the digital realm, informing test-and-learn strategies to guide online investor behavior.
InvestCloud Acquires Babel Systems for $20M
InvestCloud Inc. announced a strategic acquisition of London-based Babel Systems Limited. The value of the deal was $20 million.
This strategic acquisition links InvestCloud’s digital platform with Babel’s trading and accounting capabilities — enhancing InvestCloud’s robo capabilities.
Westwood Funds Launches Low-Volatility Equity Fund
Westwood Holdings Group, Inc. (NYSE: WHG) announced the Westwood Dividend Growth Fund (WHGDX) has transitioned to the Westwood Low Volatility Equity Fund effective Dec. 30, 2016, and will trade under the ticker WLVIX.
The new mandate will incorporate a fundamental bottom-up approach to low-volatility investing, primarily in equities and convertible securities, with a goal of providing investors participation in up-markets with loss limitation in down-markets and an attractive current yield.
Symons Capital Management Introduces Concentrated Small Cap Value Institutional Fund
Symons Capital Management introduced its second equity mutual fund strategy, the Symons Concentrated Small Cap Value Institutional Fund (SCSVX).