Trust in Finance: Values Matter

59 Pages Posted: 3 Aug 2020

Date Written: July 7, 2020


Moralistic trust arises when people believe others share their moral values. I examine whether trust in the finance industry has a moral foundation by comparing values and attitudes of finance professionals with those of the general population in two data sets: a unique data set on values of CFAs in 2016 paired with the World Value Survey and the European Social Survey. Across countries, finance value gaps are more aligned with ethical values when trust in finance is greater. Over time, finance value gaps are less aligned with ethical values when trust in finance is greater. I show that differences in education appear to be a primary explanation for the differences in the cross-sectional and time-series results: in periods of high trust in the finance industry, e.g. the pre-crisis period, finance professionals in the sample are less educated. While many are asked what they think about finance professionals, my results suggest that asking finance professionals what they think can provide insights into how trust evolves with selection into the industry.

Keywords: Trust, Morals, Ethics, Values,Attitudes, Finance,CFA, Education, Selection

JEL Classification: G20, J44, F30

Suggested Citation

Adams, Renée B., Trust in Finance: Values Matter (July 7, 2020). Available at SSRN: or

Renée B. Adams (Contact Author)

University of Oxford ( email )

Park End Street
Oxford, OX1 1HP
Great Britain


BIZ 2 Storey 4, 04-05
1 Business Link
Singapore, 117592

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