The Effect of Personal Portfolio Reporting on Private Investors

22 Pages Posted: 28 Apr 2009

See all articles by Ralf Gerhardt

Ralf Gerhardt

Goethe University Frankfurt - Department of Finance

Date Written: February 14, 2009


Information search is costly for private households especially in relation to their wealth. This paper investigates how retail customers react to free portfolio reporting - and thus reduced search costs - in a unique experimental setting: A large German direct bank sends portfolio reports to 10,000 customers while maintaining a control group of equal size and structure that received no report. Analyzing demographics as well as detailed portfolio and trade data, we find that gender, wealth, trade frequency, risk tolerance, and diversification drive the interest in portfolio information. Reading a portfolio report also triggers trading actions - so investors seem to appreciate the reduced information costs and act on it. Besides contributing to financial literature on households' information acquisition, this study derives valuable implications for financial institutions regarding communications and services for their customers.

Keywords: Portfolio Reporting, Financial Information, Household Portfolios, Investment Behavior

JEL Classification: D14, G21

Suggested Citation

Gerhardt, Ralf, The Effect of Personal Portfolio Reporting on Private Investors (February 14, 2009). Available at SSRN: or

Ralf Gerhardt (Contact Author)

Goethe University Frankfurt - Department of Finance ( email )

Grueneburgplatz 1
Frankfurt, 60323

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