November 11, 2020
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Toronto, ON: Yesterday, the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) published a research report that was the culmination of a collaboration with behavioural thinktank BEworks aimed at tackling the issue of financial exploitation of senior investors. The report, ‘Protecting Aging Investors through Behavioural Insights’, outlines a behaviourally informed technique developed by BEworks, which generates a 23% increase in the rate at which ageing investors appoint a trusted contact person (TCP) to help protect their investments from financial exploitation and diminished mental capacity.
The result is a welcome success in light of scientific evidence that ageing individuals can experience neurological and behavioural changes that make them vulnerable to poor financial decision-making, fraud, and exploitation.
Working towards a stronger and more secure financial future for Ontario seniors is a priority for the OSC. Thus, the commission's behavioural science experts partnered with BEworks in recognition of the fact that a behavioural science perspective was needed to develop an effective strategy for helping aging investors mitigate their risks. As part of its research effort, BEworks conducted an in-depth review of the behavioural science literature to identify the potential psychological barriers that might hold senior investors back from appointing a TCP. The resulting behavioural insights were integrated into BEworks’ design of an online form that was tested in a randomised controlled trial and found to produce a 23% increase in TCP appointment rates compared to current standard procedures.
BEworks celebrates this finding as a key contribution to the protection of elderly investors. “Our research findings illustrate the fundamental power of looking at problems through a scientific lens”, comments Kelly Peters, co-founder and CEO of BEworks. “Using behavioural insights, we have shed new light on how investors can be nudged to make decisions that help them act in their own interests. We hope that financial industry leaders take note.”
In the OSC's release publishing its report, Tyler Fleming, Director of the OSC's Investor Office said “Our research report provides registrants with practical ways to increase the likelihood that investors will appoint a Trusted Contact Person to help protect their investments. Based on behavioural insights, we know small design changes to administrative forms can nudge more investors to take advantage of these protective measures.” The full report is available at InvestorOffice.ca.
BEworks is the world’s first management consulting firm dedicated to solving business and policy challenges using Behavioural Economics (BE). BE is the science of understanding how people make decisions and act on them. We provide scientific research, evidence-based strategies, and fully implemented solutions to our clients which include Fortune 500 companies and governments around the world.
BE works was co-founded by CEO and applied behavioural science pioneer Kelly Peters, top marketing scholar Nina Mažar, and world-leading behavioural scientist and New York Times Bestselling author Dan Ariely. We are one of the world’s top industry employers of PhDs, and committed to bringing true scientific thinking to any problem we face.
The mandate of the OSC is to provide protection to investors from unfair, improper or fraudulent practices, to foster fair and efficient capital markets and confidence in capital markets, and to contribute to the stability of the financial system and the reduction of systemic risk. Investors are urged to check the registration of any persons or company offering an investment opportunity and to review the OSC investor materials available at www.osc.gov.on.ca
The OSC Investor Office sets the strategic direction and leads the OSC’s efforts in investor engagement, education, outreach and research. The Investor Office also has a policy function, plays a key role in the oversight of the Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments (OBSI), and provides leadership at the OSC in the area of behavioural insights and improving the investor experience.