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Retail investors and financial advisors: New evidence on trust and advice taking heuristics

Listed author(s):
  • Monti, Marco
  • Pelligra, Vittorio
  • Martignon, Laura
  • Berg, Nathan

This paper investigates factors that influence trust and advice taking among retail investors when consulting with financial advisors and making real-world portfolio decisions. The data reveal that non-expert retail investors trust their advisors a lot. Trust formation appears to be well described by a simple heuristic that relies substantially on the advisor's communication style when deciding how much to trust and delegate investment decisions. Portfolio decisions appear to depend more on investors' perceptions about the investor–advisor relationship than on the risk and return characteristics of investments comprising the portfolio choice set. This evidence supports Pentland's (2008) “honest signals” as a more powerful mechanism underlying investor trust than standard metrics based on past performance. Trust and advice-taking heuristics can be interpreted as well adapted to the environment of the non-profit bank cooperatives in which they are observed, implying that trusting based on simple honest signals, although vulnerable to exploitation, can be interpreted as ecologically rational. Features of the investor's environment typical of non-profit cooperative banks imply that the heuristics investors use can perform rather well without requiring investment experience or financial sophistication, which most investors in our sample are well aware they lack.

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File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0148296314000976
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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Business Research.

Volume (Year): 67 (2014)
Issue (Month): 8 ()
Pages: 1749-1757

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jbrese:v:67:y:2014:i:8:p:1749-1757
DOI: 10.1016/j.jbusres.2014.02.022
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jbusres

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  1. Dufwenberg, Martin & Gneezy, Uri, 2000. "Measuring Beliefs in an Experimental Lost Wallet Game," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 163-182, February.
  2. Hackethal, Andreas & Haliassos, Michael & Jappelli, Tullio, 2012. "Financial advisors: A case of babysitters?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 509-524.
  3. Luigi Guiso & Paola Sapienza & Luigi Zingales, 2008. "Trusting the Stock Market," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 63(6), pages 2557-2600, December.
  4. Alex (Sandy) Pentland, 2008. "Honest Signals: How They Shape Our World," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262162563, July.
  5. Ernst Fehr, 2009. "On The Economics and Biology of Trust," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(2-3), pages 235-266, 04-05.
  6. Annamaria Lusardi & Olivia S Mitchelli, 2007. "Financial Literacy and Retirement Preparedness: Evidence and Implications for Financial Education," Business Economics, Palgrave Macmillan;National Association for Business Economics, vol. 42(1), pages 35-44, January.
  7. Roman Inderst & Marco Ottaviani, 2009. "Misselling through Agents," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(3), pages 883-908, June.
  8. Pelligra, Vittorio, 2010. "Trust responsiveness. On the dynamics of fiduciary interactions," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 39(6), pages 653-660, December.
  9. Luigi Guiso, 2010. "A Trust-driven Financial Crisis.Implications for the Future of Financial Markets," EIEF Working Papers Series 1006, Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF), revised Mar 2010.
  10. Berg, Nathan & Hoffrage, Ulrich, 2008. "Rational ignoring with unbounded cognitive capacity," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 792-809, December.
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