Italian Asset Managers’ Behavior: Evidence on Overconfidence, Risk Taking and Gender
This paper offers new insights into the Italian mutual fund industry. Surveying Italian professionals, we do not only reveal typical gender differences but also detect divergence to their German counterparts. While disclosing Italian professionals’ overly positive self-assessment in general, we find evidence for male overconfidence in particular though without being accompanied by excessive control illusion of the own information level. Asset managers’ risk taking reveals further differences: Italian female professionals do not only assess themselves as more risk averse than their male colleagues, they also prefer a more passive portfolio management compared to the level they are allowed to. Moreover, in a tournament scenario near the end of the investment period female asset managers do not try to become the ultimate top performer when they have outperformed their peer group so far. However, in case of underperformance, the risk of deviating from the benchmark makes especially female professionals willing to seize a chance of catching up. Overall, compared to their German counterparts, we find Italian asset managers to be slightly more risk averse. Matching bounded former results on Italian mutual funds, we discuss interdependencies as well as impact of our findings at the individual asset managers’ level on trading activity, management style and performance.
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