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Financial professionals and sustainability preferences
Last registered on June 18, 2020


Trial Information
General Information
Financial professionals and sustainability preferences
Initial registration date
June 18, 2020
Last updated
June 18, 2020 11:19 AM EDT

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Primary Investigator
Radboud University
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Maastricht University
PI Affiliation
Maastricht University
Additional Trial Information
In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Online experiment to examine whether financial advisors exploit knowledge about clients’ characteristics, including their gender and their preference for socially responsible investments, in order to strategically charge fees. We recruit samples of finance professionals and clients. Our study has important implications. The European Commission has proposed a regulation, which requires all financial institutions to measure the willingness of their clients to invest in a sustainable manner. This is now to be included in MiFid II. In this proposal, we suggest that a negative side effect of this legislation could be that financial advisors use the knowledge on the preferences for sustainable investments to overcharge sustainably-minded clients. We further explore whether stereotypes of clients affect the fee that is charged to them and the time and diligence that advisors spend in constructing portfolios on their behalf.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Laudi, Marten, Paul Smeets and Utz Weitzel. 2020. "Financial professionals and sustainability preferences." AEA RCT Registry. June 18. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.6026-1.0.
Experimental Details
We employ a within-subject design. All financial professionals select stocks and set fees for clients that differ along several dimensions, including gender and sustainability preferences.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
The fees that advisors charge to different clients.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
We expect fees to be higher for those for clients with sustainability preferences and to females. We expect this to be mediated by advisors’ perceptions about the clients, which we measure along different dimensions.
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Content of advised portfolios; Description of created portfolios; Time spent in constructing portfolios
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
• Content: We will check whether there is a systematic difference in content of the portfolios that can be related to clients’ characteristics. For example: Are portfolios of sustainably-minded clients more likely to include stocks with high sustainability scores?
• Descriptions: For example: Are advisors more likely to “oversell” portfolios with the use of sustainability-related language to sustainably-minded clients? Do they selectively use technical vs. emotional language depending on a client’s profile?
• Time: Do advisors spend different amounts of time in constructing portfolios for different clients? For example: Do they spend more time on advice for men than for women?
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
Within-subject design. Field experiment.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Software (for balancing within subject and other random draws).
Randomization Unit
Individual (within subject design)
Was the treatment clustered?
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
at least 150 observations (within subject); higher N depends on budget constraints
Sample size: planned number of observations
at least 150 observations (within subject); higher N depends on budget constraints
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
at least 150 observations (within subject); higher N depends on budget constraints
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB Name
Maastricht University Ethical Review Committee Inner City Faculties
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number