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Angelita Williams
(202) 728-8988

FINRA Foundation Honors Top Student Researchers for Advancing Understanding of Financial Capability in the United States

WASHINGTON – The FINRA Investor Education Foundation (FINRA Foundation) today announced the recipients of its higher-education awards created to recognize outstanding analyses by researchers-in-training who seek to advance understanding of consumer well-being and the complex relationships among financial literacy, financial capability and financial well-being.

The three awards were presented in conjunction with the American Council on Consumer Interests (ACCI), a leading organization for researchers and other professionals involved in consumer and family economics. Students had the opportunity to present their findings during the ACCI annual conference.

Sunwoo Lee, of Ohio State University, received the Foundation’s National Financial Capability Study Research Award for her submission titled, “Propensity to Plan, Financial Knowledge, Overconfidence, and Credit Card Management Behaviors of Millennials.”

This award recognizes achievements by student researchers using data from the FINRA Foundation’s National Financial Capability Study (NFCS). Conducted every three years since 2009, the NFCS is one of the largest and most comprehensive research initiatives on financial capability in the United States. Drawing on data sets comprising responses from tens of thousands of U.S. adults, the NFCS measures four key components of financial capability: making ends meet, planning ahead, managing financial products, and financial knowledge and decision making.

In addition, University of Alabama students, Haley Kozin and Tara Henderson, both won first place in the Undergraduate Student Research Poster Competition. Their work addressed the financial well-being of millennials.

Christopher Hickey, of the University of Maine, placed second in the undergraduate poster competition for his work titled, “Health Insurance Marketplace Taxonomy and its Influence on Consumer Perceptions of Plan Suitability.”

“These students have conducted extraordinary research into the financial health of U.S. adults across multiple disciplines,” said Gerri Walsh, President of the FINRA Foundation. “Through this national awards program, we hope to encourage more innovative uses of the Foundation’s NFCS data and to inspire young researchers to continue contributing to a growing body of work.”

“The American Council on Consumer Interests is pleased to partner with the FINRA Foundation to encourage this research, support these awards, and to feature them at its annual conference,” said Dr. Ginger Phillips-Schiller, Executive Director of the American Council on Consumer Interests. “It is important to encourage researchers to utilize this important data set, as well as to foster research scholarship among undergraduate scholars.”

About the FINRA Investor Education Foundation

The FINRA Foundation supports innovative research and educational projects that give underserved Americans the knowledge, skills and tools to make sound financial decisions throughout life. For more information about FINRA Foundation initiatives, visit


FINRA is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to investor protection and market integrity. It regulates one critical part of the securities industry – brokerage firms doing business with the public in the United States. FINRA, overseen by the SEC, writes rules, examines for and enforces compliance with FINRA rules and federal securities laws, registers broker-dealer personnel and offers them education and training, and informs the investing public. In addition, FINRA provides surveillance and other regulatory services for equities and options markets, as well as trade reporting and other industry utilities. FINRA also administers a dispute resolution forum for investors and brokerage firms and their registered employees. For more information, visit