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Tom Smythe, Ph.D. - Florida Gulf Coast University. Fort Myers, FL, US

Tom Smythe, Ph.D. Tom Smythe, Ph.D.

Expert in banking, markets, trade and mutual funds | Florida Gulf Coast University

Fort Myers, FL, UNITED STATES

Tom Smythe researches mutual fund performance and governance and looks for connections between global crisis and markets.

Media

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Videos:

Economic impact of coronavirus

Audio:

Biography

Tom Smythe is a professor of finance in the Lutgert College of Business at Florida Gulf Coast University. A self-described consumer watchdog, Smythe has focused his academic study on financial services, looking particularly for the impact of characteristics (cost and performance) on the public. He is a veteran of the U.S. Army and has been quoted or his work cited in the Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Financial Times, USA Today, Consumer Reports, Money Magazine, CNN Money, the Chicago Tribune, the Associated Press and NBC News.

Areas of Expertise (12)

Mutual Funds

Banking

Trade

Trade and International Business

Markets

Federal Reserve Monetary Policy And Interest Rates

Finance and Economics

Stock Performance

Stock Market and Investors

Stock Market and Investments

Economics and Behaviour

Economic & Financial Data

Accomplishments (2)

Commendation Medal (professional)

U.S. Army

Achievement Medal (professional)

U.S. Army

Education (3)

University of South Carolina: Ph.D., Business Administration 1999

George Mason University: MBA 1993

Furman University: B.S., Mathematics 1985

Affiliations (5)

  • American Finance Association : Member
  • Financial Management Association : Member
  • Eastern Finance Association : Member
  • Academy of Financial Services : Member
  • Southern Finance Association : Member

Selected Media Appearances (23)

Has the State of Florida really paid $2 billion in unemployment claims?

NBC2  tv

2020-05-19

Tom Smythe discusses Florida unemployment claims.

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Southwest Florida's unemployment numbers could likely be higher than actually reported

NBC2  tv

2020-04-16

Tom Smythe discusses unemployment numbers during COVID-19.

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Restaurant owner says he isn't seeing any federal relief, and no one else is either

Fox 4  

2020-04-10

Tom Smythe discusses small business loans.

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Scientists say a second wave of COVID-19 cases to come later in the year

Fox 4  tv

2020-04-14

Tom Smythe discusses the economy during COVID-19.

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Stimulus checks: Do they need to be repaid?

NBC2  tv

2020-04-15

Tom Smythe discusses stimulus checks and how people will receive funds.

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Florida scrambles to fix broken unemployment system

NBC2  tv

2020-04-10

Tom Smythe discusses the delay in state unemployment benefits.

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Health insurance options for recently unemployed

Fox 4  

2020-04-06

Tom Smythe health insurance options for people who have lost their jobs.

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Demand for gasoline decreases as coronavirus outbreak spreads

ABC7  tv

2020-03-26

Dr. Tom Smythe explains why gas prices are dropping.

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What you can do with stimulus check

Fox 4  tv

2020-03-26

Tom Smythe breaks down the nationwide stimulus package and what families should do with the money.

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Coronavirus announcement from CDC causes stock market to drop another 3% today

Fortune  online

2020-02-25

Tom Smythe discusses the coronavirus' impact on the U.S. stock market.

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Florida seeing impacts of coronavirus with no confirmed cases in the state

NBC2  tv

2020-02-24

Tom Smythe discusses the coronavirus' impact on the U.S. stock market.

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Florida seeing impacts of coronavirus with no confirmed cases in the state

NBC2  tv

2020-02-24

Tom Smythe discusses how a growing number of coronavirus cases outside of China is causing manufacturing facilities to shut down.

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FGCU Economist on Coronavirus Impact on Markets

WGCU  radio

2020-02-26

Tom Smythe explains how the coronavirus is impacting the stock market.

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Empty shelves: Is there a shortage?

NBC2  tv

2020-02-16

Tom Smythe discusses how panic buying for COVID-19 is creating a strain on the supply chain.

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How the Federal Reserve interest rate cuts affect your credit card interest rates

Fox 4  tv

2020-02-16

Tom Smythe discusses how the Federal Reserve slashing interest rates affects the average person during the coronavirus outbreak.

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Could Apple Pay protect your information at the gas pump?

NBC2  tv

2019-12-31

Tom Smythe talks about secure ways to pay electronically.

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In the Know: CaliBurger debuts locally. What about White Castle? What national or regional chains would you like to see in the area?

Naples Daily News  print

2019-12-09

Tom Smythe looks at how a company might approach Florida expansion.

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Jobs, automation & Southwest Florida: Preparing for the technological job market

Fox 4  tv

2019-10-24

Tom Smythe looks at automation and its impact on jobs.

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A ban on assault weapons in Florida could cause the state to lose millions of dollars

NBC2  online

2019-09-06

Tom Smythe looks at the economic impact of an assault weapons ban.

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Smartphone sales were already in decline — then came the trade war with China

NBC News  online

2019-06-27

Tom Smythe talks about the U.S. trade war with China.

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Some Fund Ads Misrepresent Morningstar Ratings

Wall Street Journal  print

2017-11-19

Tom Smythe discusses fund company advertising practices.

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A Fund Fee That Keeps On Taking

Wall Street Journal  print

2010-07-31

Tom Smythe talks about the ethical practices of financial advisors using multiple share class funds.

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Investors ignore fund costs, at their peril

The Associated Press  print

2009-10-07

Tom Smythe talks about mutual fund cost impact on fund performance.

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Selected Event Appearances (3)

Invited Panelist: Mutual Fund Fee Disclosure

Securities and Exchange Commission Evidence Summit  Washington, D.C.

2017-03-10

Is Information Disclosure in the Mutual Fund Industry Effective?

Academy of Financial Services  Boston, Massachusetts

2008-10-01

Mutual Fund Advertising: Reading Between the Lines

Southern Finance Association  Key West, Florida

2002-11-01

Selected Articles (3)

Advertising Appeals Across Varying Economic and Regulatory Conditions: A Longitudinal Content Analysis in the Mutual Fund Industry Journal of Financial Services Marketing

Tom Smythe, with Robert Underwood, Sean Hastings and Beth Pontari

2015 This research investigates the relationship between the utilization of various appeals in mutual fund advertisements and prevailing market, and regulatory conditions during the period 2000—2009. Mutual fund firms promote their investment products utilizing an array of advertising appeals, including those that highlight performance, product and consistency. We hypothesize that the application of these appeals varies over time and according to market conditions. In addition, the research considers the 2007 regulatory efforts mandating the inclusion of mutual fund expense information in advertisements that promote fund performance. A longitudinal content analysis is utilized to survey the presence and prevalence of various advertising appeals by mutual fund providers in Money magazine from 2000 to 2009. Results reveal that appeal usage varies over time and by market performance. Appeals focusing on performance and product are strongly correlated with market performance, whereas appeals relating to trust are correlated with subpar market performance. In addition, the use of cost information, broadly defined, has become more important over the 2000–2009 period independent of market performance. The implications of these findings and their relationship to government regulation are also discussed.

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Regulating Information Disclosure in Mutual Fund Advertising in the United States: Will Consumers Utilize Cost Information? Journal of Consumer Policy

Tom Smythe, Beth Pontari and Andrea Stanaland

2009 Consumer decision making with regard to mutual funds is less than rational. Consumers tend to focus on past performance and virtually ignore a variable which has a more definite (and negative) impact on wealth—cost. FINRA, the mutual fund industry’s self-regulatory body in the USA, has recently changed its regulations for fund advertising to require that cost information be reported when performance information is present. We conducted an exploratory conjoint study to examine whether consumers might, in fact, use the additional information, and found that despite the highly salient presence of expense information, consumers overwhelmingly continue to use past performance when forming mutual fund preference. With over $8 trillion under management and roughly half of American households participating, the mutual fund industry now represents the largest financial intermediary in the USA (Houge and Wellman 2007). Consumer welfare with regard to mutual funds continues to be an area of interest for researchers and policy makers since prior research suggests consumer decision making in this realm is less than rational (Alexander et al. 1998; Capon et al. 1996; Jain and Wu 2000). That is, mutual fund investors largely base decisions on past performance while virtually ignoring cost which has a much more definite (and negative) impact on ultimate performance in the form of lower returns (Barber et al. 2005; Haslem et al. 2008). Furthermore, advertising—one source of information for mutual fund selection—generally fails to provide the information consumers need for optimal decision making (Huhmann and Bhattacharyya 2005). Regulation of fund advertising in the USA falls under the domain of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA—formerly known as the National Association of Securities Dealers), with oversight by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The current research offers an exploratory examination of whether recent changes in FINRA rules requiring disclosure of cost information in mutual fund advertising will effectively influence investor behavior. Specifically, we examine if and how consumers might use such cost information in conjunction with performance information when forming fund preferences. We first discuss consumer choice of mutual funds and the role of mutual fund advertising in that choice, then we describe our conjoint experiment, and finally we report our results and discuss implications of the findings.

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The ‘CalPERS Effect’ Revisited Journal of Corporate Finance

Tom Smythe, Phil English and Chris McNeil

2004 Institutional investors have become more active in corporate governance with the relaxation of Depression Era securities laws. The California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) is a leading institutional activist. In this paper, we examine the relationship between CalPERS' public targeting and both short- and long-term stock returns to address what has been dubbed the “CalPERS effect.” Our results indicate evidence of an announcement effect and that, while there is also evidence of some long-term improvement, it is limited to 6 months from the announcement of the target list in the Wall Street Journal when more consistent empirical methodologies are employed.

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