Decision Making under Uncertainty and Complexity : A study of young investors’ decision to buy warrants

University essay from Linköpings universitet/Institutionen för ekonomisk och industriell utveckling; Linköpings universitet/Institutionen för ekonomisk och industriell utveckling

Abstract:

Background: A warrant is a derivative that is normally issued over stocks. During the last financial crisis, the trading of warrants reached new records. The high leverage and the complexity of the product make the warrant a risky investment. Financial products such as warrants therefore imply a significant purchase decision for an individual and the consequences of making a poorly thought-out choice can be of considerable importance. Financial products require a high degree of involvement since the decision process is characterized by uncertainty of outcome and complexity of the product. Traditional theories on consumer decision making build on the assumptions of self-interest and rationality. In the context of financial services, the rationality of the decision process has been questioned within the field of behavioral economics, a field that suggests that the consumer is unable to make rational decisions as well as comparative judgments.

Purpose: With a theoretical basis in the traditional consumer decision process, the purpose of this thesis is to examine and describe the decision making of young investors that buy warrants.

Methodology: The study can be described as abdicative, since the subject of this thesis is based on an empirical problem observed in reality as well as based on existing theories on the subject. The thesis is furthermore a mixed qualitative and quantitative study. The empirical information was gathered using an Internet survey that was sent out to young investors that are members or are connected to financial associations or societies at different universities.

Results: The study is considered to show that the decision making of young investors can be described as neither optimal nor rational when buying warrants. The respondents seldom seem to make efficient and as rational decisions as the traditional decision process model implies. Instead, individual characteristics and attitudes of the young investors affect their decision making.

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