Financial Advisors Rely Less on Intuition and Are More Risk-Averse When Deciding for Their Clients


In an online experiment, financial advisors (N = 251) completed a hypothetical but realistic decision-making problem concerning pension fund investment on behalf of themselves or a client. Advisors who made decisions on behalf of their clients (vs. themselves) were more risk averse (only in the gain frame, with no effect in the loss frame). Moreover, advisors who decided for their clients processed information less intuitively and slightly more analytically. The change in intuitive processing drove the effect of social distance on risk-aversion in the gain frame. The current study extends previous research by providing further insight into the information-processing mechanisms, while also showing that self-other differences may be particularly salient among professional decision-makers who regularly make decisions on behalf of others.