Motivation as the Hidden Variable of Performance

Short-term thinking has disconnected us from our shared purpose: achieving clients’ long-term goals and in turn contributing to economic growth. The investment management industry and its professionals need to move from a performance-driven culture to one that is purpose-driven to better ensure clients’ long-term goals are met. 

During 18 months of surveys, interviews, and data analysis, CFA Institute and the State Street Center for Applied Research set out to answer the question: "How can we leverage the motivation of investment professionals and their clients to achieve better financial outcomes?"

image of upper case phi
A one point increase in Phi is associated with:
  • 28% greater odds of excellent long-term organizational performance
  • 55% greater odds of excellent client satisfaction
  • 57% greater odds of excellent employee engagement

The research identified “phi” as a factor that aligns the goals and values of the investment professional, the organization, and the client -- creating the greatest potential for long-term, sustainable performance.*

View the report summary (PDF)  |   Read the full report: Discovering Phi: Motivation as the Hidden Variable of Performance (PDF)

Have Questions?

For more information or to request a speaker, contact the Future of Finance team at

What's Your Hidden Performance Variable?

For this study, State Street and CFA Institute surveyed 7,000 investment decision-makers in more than 20 countries. Now you can take the survey to discover your level of phi.

Discovering Phi: In the News

New York Times Wealth Matters column by Paul Sullivan: "Aligning Your Investments With What Motivates You" (PDF); © 2016 The New York Times News Service