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Breaking the ice of low financial involvement: Does narrative information format from a trusted sender increase savings in mutual funds?

Journal article
Authors Jeanette Hauff Carlsson
Anders Carlander
Amelie Gamble
Tommy Gärling
Martin Holmén
Published in International Journal of Bank Marketing
Volume 34
Issue 2
Pages 151-170
ISSN 0265-2323
Publication year 2016
Published at Department of Business Administration
Department of Psychology
Department of Economics
Pages 151-170
Language en
Keywords Consumer behaviour, Communication, Marketing communications, Trust, Financial services
Subject categories Business Administration, Applied Psychology


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate how trust in the sender of financial information and a narrative vs fact-related format of the information influence intentions to save in a mutual fund. Design/methodology/approach – In Experiment 1, 186 undergraduates participate and in Experiment 2, 434 Swedish citizens between 18 and 70 years randomly chosen from a consumer panel. In both experiments participants are randomized to two conditions in which they are presented with the same information about a mutual fund in a narrative or a traditional fact-related format. In four different between-groups conditions crossed with information format, pre-tested descriptions of different fictitious banks are presented. The descriptions are combined in a fractional factorial design such that one bank is low in the three trust determinants of competence, benevolence and transparency, whereas the other three banks are high in one of the trust determinants but lower in the others. Ratings are made of the information with respect to how much positive affect the information evokes, interest in the message and intention to save in the mutual fund. Findings – In both experiments the narrative compared to the fact-based information format increases positive affect, interest and intention to save. Trust in the bank has an independent effect of increasing the intention to save. Practical implications – The narrative format of financial information may be key to increase involvement in financial choices but needs to be supplemented by a message that reinforces the positive affect and interest evoked by the format. Originality/value – A demonstration of how a narrative format of financial information and trust in the sender jointly influence intentions to save in a mutual fund.

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