PurposeThis paper aims to clarify the mechanism by which heuristics influences the investment decisions of individual investors, actively trading on the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX), and the perceived efficiency of the market. Most studies focus on well-developed financial markets and very little is known about investors’ behaviour in less developed financial markets or emerging markets. The present study contributes to filling this gap in the literature.Design/methodology/approachInvestors’ heuristic biases have been measured using a questionnaire, containing numerous items, including indicators of speculators, investment decisions and perceived market efficiency variables. The sample consists of 143 investors trading on the PSX. A convenient, purposively sampling technique was used for data collection. To examine the relationship between heuristic biases, investment decisions and perceived market efficiency, hypotheses were tested by using correlation and regression analysis.FindingsThe paper provides empirical insights into the relationship of heuristic biases, investment decisions and perceived market efficiency. The results suggest that heuristic biases (overconfidence, representativeness, availability and anchoring) have a markedly negative impact on investment decisions made by individual investors actively trading on the PSX and on perceived market efficiency.Research limitations/implicationsThe primary limitation of the empirical review is the tiny size of the sample. A larger sample would have given more trustworthy results and could have empowered a more extensive scope of investigation.Practical implicationsThe paper encourages investors to avoid relying on heuristics or their feelings when making investments. It provides awareness and understanding of heuristic biases in investment management, which could be very useful for decision makers and professionals in financial institutions, such as portfolio managers and traders in commercial banks, investment banks and mutual funds. This paper helps investors to select better investment tools and avoid repeating expensive errors, which occur due to heuristic biases. They can improve their performance by recognizing their biases and errors of judgment, to which we are all prone, resulting in a more efficient market. So, it is necessary to focus on a specific investment strategy to control “mental mistakes” by investors, due to heuristic biases.Originality/valueThe current study is the first of its kind, focusing on the link between heuristics, individual investment decisions and perceived market efficiency within the specific context of Pakistan.
Qualitative Research in Financial Markets – Emerald Publishing
Published: Feb 5, 2018