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SEC Research

Learn about Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) research projects focused on individual investors, including:

Study Regarding Financial Literacy Among Investors (August 2012)

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 requires the SEC to conduct a broad study on the financial literacy of investors. The study focuses on the current level of financial literacy among individual investors and the most effective private and public efforts to educate investors.

Supporting Documents:

Library of Congress Report on Financial Literacy
Investor Research Report
Appendix to Investor Research Report

Investor Testing of Target Date Retirement Fund (TDF) Comprehension and Communications (March 2012)

This report presents the findings of empirical research on individual investors’ understanding of target date retirement funds (TDFs) and advertisements  advertisements related to those funds related to those fund.

Study and Recommendations on Improved Investor Access to Registration Information About Investment Advisers and Broker-Dealers (January 2011)

This study responds to Section 919B of the Dodd-Frank Act, which mandates that the Commission study ways to improve the access of investors to registration information about investment advisers and broker-dealers.

Behavioral Patterns and Pitfalls of U.S. Investors (2010)

This Library of Congress report identifies patterns of investor behavior, including common investing mistakes, based on a comprehensive review of academic journal articles.

Annotated Bibliography on the Behavioral Characteristics of U.S. Investors (2010)

This annotated bibliography prepared by the Library of Congress includes a sample of scholarly articles on investor behavior by university professors in the fields of economics, business, finance, psychology, sociology, and business law.

Mandatory Disclosure Documents Telephone Survey (2008)

This survey was designed to inform the SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy about investors’ opinions regarding various disclosure documents filed by companies, including mutual fund companies. A total of 1,000 telephone interviews were conducted using a national population sample of adults who invest outside of an employer-sponsored retirement plan in stocks, bonds or mutual funds.