I recently listened to a podcast by Malcolm Gladwell in which he recommends that the next time you go out for dinner and you are unsure of what to order, order two dishes. Order something totally unknown that you have never eaten before and maybe were contemplating but probably wouldn't have ordered. Then as a safety, order a dish that you know under normal circumstances should be a consistent satisfying meal. The rational supporting this behaviour is to ensure that when you leave the restaurant that evening you will leave satisfied. If the unknown dish is a disaster, you have the safety meal, but if it turns out to be a winner, you end up very satisfied. I understand that this advice is not always practical, but I believe that this does speak to the fact that making decisions can be extremely hard especially when we feel that the outcome is unknown.
Research shows that uncertainty is but one factor inhibiting rational decision making. We tend to think we know what we want, but the truth is we don't. A study conducted by Nescafé showed that when asked most Americans want; "a dark, rich, hearty roast" when actually only about 25% of people want this. Most Americans prefer weak and milky coffee. Big difference. This difference was explained partially due to the marketing campaigns, peer pressure, etc.
So we know that people tend to avoid uncertainty (or at least try to manage it) and that people don't know that they want. Added to this think about how over the past decade choice of goods and services has exploded, you will begin to realise why making decisions these days is so hard!
In the financial services industry we too have seen a continuous increase in the number of service providers, exponential growth in the variety of investment products and underlying investment options ito funds and to add to this companies becoming more innovative due to advances in technology.
Where does this leave you as an investor/ client? It is imperative to remove behavioral biases from the decision making process, this is not always as easy as it sounds, but being aware of them is a step in the right direction. Our objective is to ensure we remove any biases from the investment management process in order to provide advice that is independent and affords you the greatest opportunity to achieve your long-term goals.
Therefore this weekend when you are out for dinner and trying something new..., please remember to order that second meal to avoid disappointment.