Louis S. Harvey, who has made a career of analyzing and ranking investment products companies, says pure numbers may be overrated.

"One of the mistakes I think we make as an industry is to think of the future as being data and decisions," said Mr. Harvey, the founder of Dalbar Inc., a research and consulting firm in Boston. "We're really, I think, going to have to soften that edge, and recognize that we are human beings, and we do have emotions and sensitivities.

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