Gender Differences in Financial Advice

Last registered on November 18, 2023


Trial Information

General Information

Gender Differences in Financial Advice
Initial registration date
November 10, 2023

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
November 18, 2023, 5:56 PM EST

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.



Primary Investigator

Leibniz Institute for Financial Research SAFE

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Goethe University
PI Affiliation
ZEW Mannheim

Additional Trial Information

Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Based on data gathered from 27,000 real-world meetings between financial advisors and clients of a large German bank, we show that advisors offer more self-serving advice to women, while men are more likely to receive sales fee rebates and less likely to be
recommended expensive bank-owned funds. Additional client and advisor surveys provide evidence consistent with statistical discrimination based on gender as a proxy for client financial sophistication with female clients exhibiting lower literacy, confidence, and price
sensitivity. Moreover, female advisors report less confidence in their own professional skills and engage in less discrimination than their male colleagues.

Within the study, we use administrative data, but also run an experimental survey among financial advisors in order to gain more insights into their beliefs.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Bucher-Koenen, Tabea, Andreas Hackethal and Christine Laudenbach. 2023. "Gender Differences in Financial Advice." AEA RCT Registry. November 18.
Experimental Details


Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Perceived financial literacy
Perceived financial insecurity
Rebates granted to clients
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
We run an RCT with active financial advisors. The experiment investigates whether and how prior beliefs regarding gender affect the quality of advice to male and female clients. Are advisors using gender as a proxy for financial literacy and, in turn, offer higher prices to those perceived to be less literate? Do they update their prior beliefs if they learn about the client's financial literacy?

In the first round of the experiment, all advisors are confronted with a randomized sequence of the same ten bank client profiles. Profile information comprises age, marital status, education, wealth at the bank, and risk tolerance, and is modeled as closely as possible in accordance with actual profiles from our administrative bank data. The ten profiles consist of five pairs of profiles for which this information is almost identical, but differs by gender. However, only those advisors that are randomly assigned to the treatment group obtain information on the client's gender. In order to make this information salient but not suggestive of our research question, we reveal gender through photographic portrait pictures. For each of the ten profiles, advisors are asked to rate individuals' financial literacy, consideration of costs and fees, independence in securities decisions, and then also their own preferred front-end load, and their own confidence in these assessments using a scale ranging from 1 (very poor/not at all/very low) to 7 (very good/very strongly/very high/very confident).

Before the second round of the experiment, we inform advisors in both the treatment and control groups that we will again present them with a selection of six out of the ten customer profiles from the previous session. The six profiles, three pairs of female and male clients, are the same across all advisors, but the sequence of appearance is randomized. We opt for only six profiles to prevent survey fatigue, and we pick those three pairs that offered the greatest variability in terms of client attributes. We also inform advisors that those six profiles will contain two additional pieces of information compared to round one, namely the number of correct answers (rated from 0 to 7) that the client achieved in the financial knowledge quiz, and the client's confidence level in making private financial decisions as reported in an earlier client survey (rated from 1 to 7). We then task the advisors with reevaluating the five questions per client in the first round. In the second round, advisors can see their prior answers under each question. Participants must re-enter values in an empty answer pane to ensure that they do not stick to their earlier answers solely for convenience.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization was conducted through the survey tool.
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
290 in the no gender, 248 in the gender group
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number


Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Is the intervention completed?
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials