Skip to main content

Attention Distribution of Current Key Investor Documents: Standardization as a Long-Term Goal of the PRIIP Regulation


The regulation of financial products is generally increasing in response to misconduct or crises that have led to losses for (retail) investors. Under the guise of various directives and laws, international and national regulators have introduced rules and standards to restore investor confidence. We tested the success of these efforts by analysing the distribution of attention in current product information sheets in an eye-tracking experiment. The results suggest that regulation has been successful as attention profiles of the different sections of product information are highly similar for different products. This suggests first success of regulation with respect to the standardization of product information sheets. However, this increased comparability does not necessarily lead to an improvement in the investment decisions of private investors, as a further aim of regulation, the increase in comprehensibility cannot be confirmed by this investigation.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4

Data Availability

We provide the stimulus material used in an online repository: There, we also make eye-tracking raw data, processing script, and the areas of interest available.


  1. 1.

    For further information see, e.g., Duchowski (2017).

  2. 2.

    DDV forms the umbrella organization and the representation of interests of issuers of structured securities in Germany.

  3. 3.

    Retrieved from Marktvolumen- Juni 2019, EN.pdf.

  4. 4.

    Retrieved from DDV statistics from June 2019, Library/Document/ Statistics/2019/062019 Marktanteile, 2. Quartal 2019, EN.pdf.

  5. 5.

    Art. 8 of (EU) Regulation No 1286/2014.

  6. 6.

    This template is available at We provide the stimulus material used in an online repository: There, we also make eye-tracking raw data, processing script, and the areas of interest available.

  7. 7.

    The interviews were carried out by means of Likert scales, which range from 1 (very incomprehensible/very unimportant) to 5 (very understandable/very important).

  8. 8.

    Detailed information is given in Table 4 in the Appendix.

  9. 9.

    For comparison, the mean absolute fixation times are given in Table 5 in the Appendix.

  10. 10.

    Due to the data structure the Fisher-Transformation was used, as proposed by Silver and Dunlap (1987).

  11. 11.

    Significance on 1% and 5% level.

  12. 12.


  13. 13.

    Specifically, these were the following discount certificates, indicated by the respective ISIN: DE000PP9KQ00 of BNP Paribas, DE000CJ7MQU0 of Commerzbank, DE000DD9SA0 of DZ Bank and DE000GD74J50, issued by Goldman Sachs Available on the respective pages of the issuers.

  14. 14.

    Here we deliberately use the aggregated values to exclude individual learning effects of the test persons. Further Information is shown in Table 6 in the Appendix.

  15. 15.

    The ratio given corresponds to an F-test with 3 and 26 df with significance at a level of 0.1%.

  16. 16.

    The relative fixation times were used here to exclude individual reading speed from the evaluation.

  17. 17.

    The lack of understanding of the rest of the product could be explained on the basis of the more easily understandable costs in terms of the resolution of cognitive dissonance (Festinger 1957).


  1. Agnew, J. R., & Szykman, L. R. (2005). Asset allocation and information overload: The influence of information display, asset choice, and investor experience. Journal of Behavioral Finance, 6, 57–70.

  2. Barber, B. M., & Odean, T. (2001). Boys will be boys: Gender, overconfidence, and common stock investment. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 116, 261–292.

  3. Baule, R., & Münchhalfen, P. (2020). What is your desire? Retail investor preferences in structured products (Working Paper). Hagen: University of Hagen.

  4. Bazley, W. J., Cronqvist, H., & Mormann, M. (2017). In the red: The effects of color on investment behavior (Swedish Gouse of Finance Research Paper No 17–16). Stockholm: Swedish House of Finance.

  5. Campbell, J. Y., Jackson, H. E., Madrian, B. C., & Tufano, P. (2011). Consumer financial protection. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 25, 91–114.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Ceravolo, M. G., Farina, V., Fattobene, L., Leonelli, L., & Raggetti, G. (2019). Presentational format and financial consumers behaviour: An eye-tracking study. International Journal of Bank Marketing37, 821–837.

  7. Colaert, V. (2016). The regulation of PRIIPs: Great ambitions, insurmountable challenges? Journal of Financial Regulation, 2, 203–224.

  8. Duchowski, A. T. (2017). Eye tracking methodology: Theory and practice. London: Springer International Publishing.

  9. Festinger, L. (1957). A theory of cognitive dissonance. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  10. Gaschler, R., Marewski, J. N., & Frensch, P. A. (2015). Once and for all – how people change strategy to ignore irrelevant information in visual tasks. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 68, 543–567.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Gigerenzer, G. (2008). Why heuristics work. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 3, 20–29.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Gigerenzer, G. (2011). What are natural frequencies? British Medical Journal, 343, d6386.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Hayek, F. A. (2013). The constitution of liberty. Chicago: Routledge.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  14. Hillenbrand, A., & Schmelzer, A. (2017). Beyond information: Disclosure, distracted attention, and investor behavior. Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Finance, 16, 14–21.

  15. Hirshleifer, D. (2001). Investor psychology and asset pricing. Journal of Finance, 56, 1533–1597.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Hüsser, A., & Wirth, W. (2016). Do investors show an attentional bias toward past performance? An eye-tracking experiment on visual attention to mutual fund disclosures in simplified fund prospectuses. In T. Harrison (Ed.), Financial literacy and the limits of financial decision-making (pp. 77–102). Basingstoke: Springer International.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  17. Jacob, N. L. (1974). A limited-diversification portfolio selection model for the small investor. Journal of Finance, 29, 847–856.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Kahneman, D. (2003). A perspective on judgment and choice: Mapping bounded rationality. American Psychologist, 58, 697–720.

  19. Kahneman, D. (2011). Thinking, fast and slow. New York: Penguin Books.

    Google Scholar 

  20. Kahneman, D., & Tversky, A. (1979). Prospect theory: An analysis of decision under risk. Econometrica, 47, 263–292.

  21. Lusardi, A., Mitchell, O. S., & Curto, V. (2010). Financial literacy among the young. Journal of Consumer Affairs, 44, 358–380.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Meier, M. F., & Sandmeier, D. (2012). Die Welt der strukturierten Produkte: Das Buch zur SVSP Swiss Derivative Map. Zurich: Finanz und Wirtschaft.

    Google Scholar 

  23. Oehler, A., Höfer, A., & Wendt, S. (2014). Do key investor information documents enhance retail investors understanding of financial products? Empirical evidence. Journal of Financial Regulation and Compliance, 22, 115–127.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Oehler, A., Horn, M., & Wendt, S. (2019). Information illusion: Placebic information and stock price estimates. In Beiträge zur Jahrestagung des Vereins für Socialpolitik 2020: Gender economics. Kiel: ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.

  25. Payne, J. W., Payne, J. W., Bettman, J. R., & Johnson, E. J. (1993). The adaptive decision maker. Cambridge: Cambridge university press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  26. Rubaltelli, E., Agnoli, S., & Franchin, L. (2016). Sensitivity to affective information and investors’ evaluation of past performance: An eye-tracking study. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 29, 295–306.

  27. Russo, J. E., Johnson, E. J., & Stephens, D. L. (1989). The validity of verbal protocols. Memory & Cognition, 17, 759–769.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Samson, A., & Voyer, B. G. (2012). Two minds, three ways: Dual system and dual process models in consumer psychology. AMS Review, 2, 48–71.

  29. Silver, C. N., & Dunlap, P. W. (1987). Averaging correlation coefficients: Should Fisher’s z transformation be used? Journal of Applied Psychology, 72, 146–148.

  30. Simon, H. A. (1955). A behavioral model of rational choice. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 69, 99–118.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Spindler, G. (2011). Behavioural finance and investor protection regulations. Journal of Consumer Policy, 34, 315–336.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Walther, T. (2015). Key investor documents and their consequences on investor behavior. Journal of Business Economics, 85, 129–156.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


We are grateful to Rainer Baule for discussion of earlier versions of this article and to Christina Weckwerth for help with data acquisition.

Code Availability

Codes will not be provided.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to P. Münchhalfen.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Additional information

Publisher’s Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.



Table 4 Relative fixation times. These result from the relative proportions of the areas in the entire KID. On the left, you find the summed values of the sections, and on the right, the more detailed representation on the level of the areas
Table 5 Mean absolute fixation times. The table shows the mean absolute fixation times in seconds based on sections and areas
Table 6 Absolute fixation times in seconds. These are the summed values over all participants, separated by the issuer. On the left, you find the summed values of the sections and on the right side is the more detailed presentation on the level of the areas
Table 7 Correlation analysis results. The individual fixation times (relative to the time used overall) are correlated with the information on the importance and comprehensibility of individual product attributes and the KID. The table focuses on the three relevant sections. Significances are marked * (p = 10%) and ** (p = 5%). There are further significant connections to other sections, which are not analysed here

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Münchhalfen, P., Gaschler, R. Attention Distribution of Current Key Investor Documents: Standardization as a Long-Term Goal of the PRIIP Regulation. J Consum Policy 44, 73–94 (2021).

Download citation


  • Retail investor
  • PRIIPs regulation
  • Attention distribution
  • Eye-tracking