Purpose – This paper aims to investigate the relationships between advisor characteristics and consumer risk perception, willingness to follow advice and perception of advisor credibility in a financial services context. It answers calls for more knowledge about financial advisors’ influence on financial decision‐making among consumers.
Design/methodology/approach – An experimental study, displaying financial advice together with photographs of advisors, was completed by convenience sampling of 200 Swedish consumers and analysis using statistical techniques to compare groups: two‐way between‐groups ANOVA.
Findings – This study shows that advisor gender affected consumer risk perceptions, willingness to follow advice and perception of advisor credibility in a financial services context, whereas advisor mood affected only consumer willingness to follow advice. No biases depending on buyer–seller similarity were found.
Research limitations/implications – The study focuses on consumer perceptions – not real‐life investment choices. Conclusions are drawn from a relatively small sample. However, the policy implications are important, suggesting that characteristics other than those of consumers (e.g. gender, educational level, occupation, financial literacy) can be of relevance for policymakers in their attempts to improve consumer protection.
Practical implications – The findings provide useful insights for marketing practitioners that could help adjust information disseminated to consumer segments and that could have implications for marketing and hiring practices in the financial sector.
Originality/value – This paper illustrates the role of advisor characteristics in consumer financial decision‐making and calls for more research on financial advisory services.
Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2013. Vol. 31, no 3, 147-166 p.
Financial services, Consumer behaviour, Risk perception, Financial advice, Financial advisor, Lay consumer, Buyer seller relations, Sweden