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The Value of Evidence-Based, Comprehensive Financial Planning Research

Steven Lee, Ph.D., D.C.J.
Researcher & Education Specialist

Currently, I am a lecturer in the Department of Finance, Real Estate and Law at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.  My research focuses on misconduct of financial professionals.  I also produce education-based modules for consumers on various financial planning topics.

Previously, I was the Sievert-Sternberg Doctoral Research Fellow at The American College of Financial Services where I earned my Ph.D. in Financial and Retirement Planning. 

In 2019, my paper, "Victim Characteristics of Investment Fraud" won the best paper award in risk management and insurance at the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards' Academic Research Colloquium.


My journey began in 2011 when my wife and I were pregnant with our first child.  I was ABD in a dead-end distance education doctoral program in Philosophy.  With no career opportunities in sight, I embarked upon a long expedition in financial services where I operated as a broker for one year.  Unimpressed with my progress, I began an MBA program in financial planning, moving in the direction of a comprehensive financial planner.  For twelve years, I wrote holistic financial plans for mid-to-high net worth clients.  Today, I conduct cutting-edge research in financial advisor misconduct, fraud and other forms of white-collar crime, and financial elder abuse.

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  • Engage in leading research within the areas of financial misconduct and fraud;

  • Share my research with stakeholders who hold a vested interest in curbing incidence of fraud and other misconduct within the financial services industry;

  • Help consumers make informed financial choices when it comes to personal finance


I research characteristics of fraud in financial services.  I also create financial education-based courses for consumers to help bridge the information asymmetry gap between clients and their advisors in the areas of budgeting, taxes, investments, retirement, insurance, and estate planning.

Analysing the Numbers

Genuine and General Financial Education

Financial products and the people who sell them are becoming ever-more complex in a constantly-evolving world.  It is imperative that clients learn the basics of personal finance so they can better vet and engage with their selected advisors.


Data Collection & Analysis

I actively engage in financial services misconduct research on a number of levels.  This includes analyzing existing data sets, creating subsets of data from existing stores, and collecting my own data (both quantitative and qualitative).  My robust research agenda speaks to my relevance within the academy and informs my practice.

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