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Michael Falk, CFA, CRC® – Behavioral Finance Expert & Retirement Contrarian

Michael Falk, CFA, CRC® – Behavioral Finance Expert & Retirement Contrarian

Michael Falk, CFA, CRC® – Behavioral Finance Expert & Retirement Contrarian

Michael Falk, CFA, CRC®, is a consultant and partner with the Focus Consulting Group (and our resident retirement contrarian).

Passion/Expertise:
Michael is an engaging, creative asset management professional, and offers equally engaging presentations and materials on retirement topics, behavior, asset allocation research and portfolio development expertise.
The asset consulting perspective acknowledges that the wisdom of crowds can denigrate into madness at times. Assets should be managed with the serenity to accept the market’s realities; the courage to pursue its opportunities; and the ongoing pursuit of wisdom to understand the difference.

Position/Experience:
Michael’s background includes extensive asset allocation research and portfolio development expertise along with a multi-faceted understanding of behavioral finance and retirement issues.
Michael formerly was the Chief Strategist on a Global Macro fund as well as a CIO in charge of manager due diligence and asset allocation for a multi-billion dollar advisory, one of the first firms to provide managed accounts for reluctant 401(K) investors – those that can’t, or won’t, invest wisely themselves.


View brief Youtube clips of Michael Falk’s recent Retirement Resource Center webinars on our Retirement Resource Center YouTube channel.
Michael Falk - Enough About the Assets, Already! - YouTube clip Michael Falk - Is Retirement Past Its Prime? The Economic & Behavioral Realities of Retirement YouTube clip Michael Falk - Off with Your (Rule of) Thumbs! YouTube clip Michael Falk - Housing for Retirees - Buy Sell or Hold? - YouTube clip


Education/Certifications/Awards:
Michael has been a contributing member of the PDDARI group within the Financial Management Association (FMA), the Vice Chair of the Plan Sponsor Council of America’s Investment Committee, taught as an adjunct professor at DePaul University in their Certified Financial Planner (CFP) Certificate Program. Currently he is an approved speaker for the CFA Institute and teaches on behalf of the CFA Society of Chicago in their Claritas program, and is frequently quoted in the financial press. He graduated from the University of Illinois with a B.S. in Finance.

Publications Authored:

  • “Let’s All Learn How to Fish… to Sustain Economic Growth”, A CFA Institute Research Foundation Monograph, May 2016
  • “The Investment Challenge”, 2015
  • “Good Governance, Better Decisions?” Investments & Wealth Monitor (IMCA), 2014
  • “The Economic Implications of an Older World”, Morningstar magazine with Larry Siegel, Feb/March 2014
  • “Bit by Bit”, CFA Institute Magazine interview on bitcoin, March/April 2014
  • Defined Contribution Insights, “Asset Allocation for Today’s Times?”, 2012
  • “Portfolio Construction Needs an Overhaul”, guest column in FUNDfire, 2012
  • “Investment Beliefs: Separating the Real Stuff from the Fluff”, commissioned paper 2012
  • “What’s the Best Way to Promote Large caps?”, guest column in FUNDfire, 2011
  • “Enough About the Assets Already”, Defined Contribution Insights, 2011
  • “Uncommon Investment Sense”, commissioned paper, 2011
  • Advisor Perspectives, “Solving the REAL Debt Crisis”, 2011
  • “Investing, Like Life, Is About Balance”, Defined Contribution Insights, 2011
  • “Risk Management: A Tactical Multi-Manager Approach”, commissioned paper, 2010
  • Financial Planning Association (FPA) of Illinois, Behavioral Finance & Neuroscience, 2007 and 2010
  • “Portfolio Construction for the Long Run (And Now)”, commissioned paper, 2008
  • Institutional Investor, “Managed Accounts & Default Investments – Serving the Reluctant Investor”, 2006
  • Chicago Sun Times, “How Lifecycle Funds Ease Investing Angst”, 2005
  • “An Evolved Solution – Participant Success Hinges on Plan Design”, Profit Sharing, 2002
  • “Their Quality of Retirement Matters”, Sharing Ideas (International Foundation for Retirement Education), 2001
  • “A New Alternative for 401(k) Plan Structuring”, Employee Benefits Journal, with David Wolfe, 1998

View summary transcripts of several of Michael Falk’s presentations that were included in recent issues of InFRE’s FREE Quarterly Newsletter,
Retirement Insight and Trends.
Michael Falk - Enough About the Assets, Already! - Retirement Insight & Trends article, 2nd Qtr 2014Michael Falk - Is Retirement Past its Prime? The Economic & Behavioral Realities of Retirement - Retirement Insight & Trends article, 1st Qtr 2014Michael Falk - Off with Your Rules of Thumbs - Retirement Insight & Trends article, 1st Qtr 2015 Michael Falk - Housing for Retirees: Buy, Sell or Hold? - Retirement Insight & Trends article, 1st Qtr 2016


Most Requested Presentations:
Aside from his consulting work, Mr. Falk is part of the CFA Institute’s Approved Speaker List.

CFA Institute Approved Speakers Program, Global Society Presentations, 2004 – Present

  • Is Retirement Past Its Prime? The Economic & Behavioral Realities of Retirement
  • Behavioral Finance & Neuroscience: Rational Is As Rational Does
  • Lies, Damned Lies & Mathematical Forecasting: Of Optimization and Allocation
  • Psychology, Neurology… How Your Biology Impacts Your Investment Decisions

Conference presentations:

  • Inside Indexing Conference Expanding Your DC… Does Indexing Work in Every Asset Class?, panelist 2012
  • CFA Chicago, Entitlements, Austerity, Taxes and the Mortgage Crisis, panelist 2011
  • FMA Annual Conference, Core Research Challenges Facing Practitioners, panelist 2011
  • MarketWatch / WSJ Exchange Traded Funds Panel, panelist 2011
  • FMA Annual Conference, Frontiers of Asset Management, panel moderator, 2010
  • Plan Sponsor Council of America (PSCA) Conferences, various topics, 2001 – 2003 and 2010
  • CFA Chicago, The Future of Asset Allocation Theories: Are They Alive, Dead, or on Life Support? Panelist, 2010
  • Morningstar Investment Conference 2009, Can MPT Take the Heat of a Meltdown?, debate
  • FMA Midwest Finance Association Conference, Hedge Fund & Fundamental Indexation panels, 2009
  • FPA Illinois, The Pension Protection Act of 2006 with TIAA-CREF, 2007
  • World Research Group, Best Practices in Retirement Education & Communication Program, 2005 and 2006
  • Gardner Carton & Douglas (now DrinkerBiddle), Enhancing the Value of Your Retirement Plan While Managing Your Fiduciary Exposure with Managed Accounts, 2004
  • Int’l Institute of Research National Forum, Asset Allocation & Investment Policy Design for Pension Plans, 2000
  • National Institute Personal Financial Employee Education (NIPFEE), 1999


Have Michael Falk speak at your event!

Please contact us today via email or phone 847-686-0440 x102 if you would like to have this or other speakers present at your conference or appear at one of your events, or to receive a free voucher to view a sample of one of our speakers’ work.



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