Optimally designing financial advice

Project Lead: Katharina Gangl
Team: Marcel Seifert, Florian Spitzer
Duration: May 2021 – March 2025
Funding: Oesterreichische Nationalbank (OeNB), Anniversary Fund - Project Number 18609

Private investors often need the assistance of financial advisors. The aim of this project is to improve the advice process such that the satisfaction of investors increases based on a better alignment of investors’ preferences and investment decisions. To achieve this aim, several online-experiments are conducted to develop measurement and explanation tools for sustainability preferences. In particular, investors with little experiences and low financial literacy are in the focus of this project.

In the first study of this project, we conducted an incentivized online experiment to test the potential impact of an EU regulation that was implemented in 2022 on ESG investments. The results show that information on financial returns and on the impact on ESG factors (environmental, social and governance) increase the willingness to invest sustainably (ESG investments). The mode of eliciting sustainability preferences has no significant influence on satisfaction and sustainable investments. In the second study, a measurement tool was developed together with 12 Austrian sustainable finance experts to assess the population's knowledge of sustainable investments (sustainable finance literacy). The results show that around half of the questions are answered correctly and that sustainable finance literacy relates to stock market participation, ESG investments, and the ability to recognize greenwashing. The questions of the measurement tool are available online as a quiz with feedback and are registered as a concrete measure of the National Financial Literacy Strategy. In the third study, various measures to increase ESG knowledge in investment advice will be tested.