rf2022 - CONSOB AND ITS ACTIVITIES
The Report presents evidence on financial knowledge, attitudes and financial choices of Italian investors, also to gain insights to investor protection.
The 2022 Report is based on the Survey ‘The approach to finance and investment of Italian households' by GfK Italia to a sample of 1,436 individuals, 80% of whom are men, representative of the Italian investor population, and pays attention to the impact that current economic environment may have on individual financial choices.
|About 80% of respondents consider managing personal finances complex first and foremost because of economic uncertainty and rising inflation and low financial knowledge. Although growing slightly, financial knowledge is still not sufficiently widespread either with respect to basic concepts (e.g., diversification is understood by only 50% of respondents) or financial instruments (the share of correct answers to questions on current accounts, equities, bonds and mutual funds remains on average below 60%) nor with respect to the main dimensions of financial risk (the percentage of respondents who are familiar with the notions of credit, market and liquidity risks ranges between 20% and 49%). As for knowledge of inflation, 65% of the sample seems to understand its effects although there is a significant heterogeneity among age groups, areas of residence and income levels. The 2022 survey assessed for the first time the familiarity of Italian investors with digital knowledge and skills related to the safe use of the internet and knowledge of digital assets and investment services provided through online platforms. With reference to online trading, for example, 29% of subjects are unable to correctly identify the platform operator's obligations to the investor who intends to trade online. Nonetheless, the share of respondents trading crypto-currencies and trading online is growing steadily (from 2% in 2021 to 8% in 2022 and from 8% to 11%, over the same period respectively), as well as the interest that is associated with, among other things, the prospect of easy profits and the propensity to overestimate one's knowledge on this topic.
|Investors seem to be increasingly aware of the need to enhance their financial skills, since they are willing to learn more about the most important financial choices in 66% of cases (+10 percentage points compared to 2021), mainly with the support of intermediaries (34% of cases, down by 8 percentage points compared to 2021). In the opinion of investors, these latter should also be engaged in raising people's financial knowledge (32% of interviewees), in addition to public institutions (30%) and education (26%).
|Room for improvement also remains with respect to the attitude towards personal finance, which the 2022 Survey captures through the inclination to financial anxiety, perceived self-efficacy, and perceived difficulty with respect to long-term planning. The proportion of respondents who plan and set a household budget has decreased (12% of cases compared to 16% in the previous year) indeed, while the proportion of investors who save occasionally has increased (44% compared to 37% in 2021).
|A slight worsening is also detected with respect to the overall investment attitude, driven by the decrease in digital knowledge and the increase in reliance on informal advice, both of which refer to less-experienced investors.
|Investors seeking for financial advice are not always fully aware of the characteristics of the service. Nonetheless, investors receiving professional advice hold a more diversified portfolio compared to the remaining sample, which predominantly keep holding certificates of deposit and postal savings (50% of households), followed by mutual funds (29%) and Italian government bonds (18%). In addition, investors relying on a financial advisor more frequently hold sustainable investments, which overall is reported by only 11% of respondents (17% in the subsample of the advisees). Such figure reflects the low knowledge of the basic notions of sustainable finance. Nonetheless interest in this type of investments is widespread: 57% of respondents are willing to invest more in sustainable products within two years (74% among interested and 93% among those who already own them). Lack of knowledge is perceived as the biggest deterrent to sustainable investing, followed by the perception of high risks, low financial performance, lack of useful and clear information, and fear of greenwashing.
|The last Section of the Report is a focus on gender differences, based on a sample extended to women in the household that share financial choices with the householder (2,085 interviewees). Certain behavioural traits are more frequent in the female sub-sample, such as risk aversion, loss aversion, and a tendency to underestimate their knowledge and skills (underconfidence). Women also know less about financial products, sustainability and digitalised investment services. Finally, they more frequently demand for financial advice while showing less interest in digital finance.
The Report was prepared by:
Nadia Linciano (coordinator) - CONSOB, Head of Research Department (email@example.com)
Valeria Caivano - CONSOB, Economic Studies, Research Department (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Daniela Costa - CONSOB, Economic Studies, Research Department (email@example.com)
Monica Gentile - CONSOB, Economic Studies, Research Department (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Paola Soccorso - CONSOB, Economic Studies, Research Department (email@example.com)
The opinions expressed in the Report are the authors' personal views and are in no way binding on Consob.
ISSN 2465-1974 [online]