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BItNotes n°12

BItNotes n°12
"Retail investors and stock market.
Second report on shareholding in Italy"
A. Franzosi, E. Grasso, E. Pellizzoni - November 2004


This paper analyses Italian households investing directly in Italian shares and describes their social and demographic characteristics, perception of their current financial situation and saving capacity, attitude towards investments in risky assets, portfolio choices and relationship with financial services providers (including info providers). The comparison with a previous survey, published in 2001, highlights the relevant changes in the last three years. The negative performance of equity markets after March 2000, recent scandals of listed companies and more people worried about their financial situation increased financial risk aversion of retail investors. The average portfolio structure shifted towards simpler and less risky assets. Nevertheless, retail investors did not move away from investing in shares, at least in the long term. The equity portfolio of retail investors includes on average only one or two shares, mainly Italian Blue Chips. Their recent trading activity was quite limited. The main reasons to invest in shares are the desire for higher yields and the need for portfolio diversification. Middle-term objectives related to the investor life cycle are less important. Banks are still the main reference point for investing decisions. Although the level of satisfaction in their services is quite low, retail investors are reluctant to change their broker. The main sources of information are based on personal relationships. The relevance of other sources of information, and of the press in particular, has diminished. There is still significant room to improve financial knowledge and awareness of retail investors of the role of investing in the stock market. Lack of basic knowledge such as the difference between listed and unlisted financial products, is still widespread.

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Last update:  December 23 2005 - 10:19
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