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Research Foundation Review 2016

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A message from the president and CEO of CFA Institute.


The purpose of research is to inform action. After all, why conduct research if it isn’t in the service of bettering society or suggesting a solution to a problem?

Well-conducted research is vital to the success of the investment management profession because it provides hard data on which policymakers, practitioners, and regulators can base their decisions. Today, the CFA Institute Research Foundation sponsors, publishes, and distributes cutting-edge research on topics that contribute to or improve global investment practices and the CFA Institute Global Body of Investment Knowledge, which is used by investment professionals all over the world.

One of the greatest challenges with research is the slow application of findings into practice. At CFA Institute, we are uniquely positioned to take what we learn from research and do something about it. Our global reach to nearly 150,000 members around the world allows us to amplify the work of the Research Foundation. We have helped our members and other investment professionals by defining how bubbles and crises impact investment markets; determining links between asset classes and risk factors; identifying challenges involved in using forecasts; and, using technical analysis, determining trends in supply and demand.

A key to successful research results is iteration: Researchers must return repeatedly to essential questions and methods that may reveal new ideas and approaches. But what happens if these thinkers and their viewpoints are homogeneous? The chances for innovation and new knowledge are then limited. For example, a 1985 study concluded that the historical lack of research focused on women’s health had compromised the quality of health information and health care available to women. Since then, we have witnessed a transformation in women’s health research, including changes in government support of research, in policies, and in regulations. These changes have resulted in the generation of new scientific knowledge about women’s health and improved health care. Had the thinking remained in the hands of men only, this may not have happened. If innovation is a hallmark of research, then researchers must be open to greater diversity of thought. Research is a powerful tool that can effect positive change in society.

The Research Foundation also delivers research through in-person conferences and recognizes excellence in contributions to the global investment community through the James R. Vertin Award. Research produced by the Foundation has been widely quoted, sometimes for many years because much of the information presented has been way ahead of its time.

Researchers enhance our knowledge of how to best address the world’s problems. We are all better investment professionals because of the efforts of the many researchers who have been so passionate about finding answers that strengthen our profession and the investors we serve.


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About the Author(s)

Paul SmithCFA

President and CEO, CFA Institute