Date of Award


Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Business


School of Business

First Advisor

Dr Angel Wright


This thesis focuses on Irish adult consumers and examines whether they understand the financial risk pertaining to the savings and investment products that they purchase in the Irish financial services market. This study is important because there is no up to date data currently available on this topic, specifically and solely related to Ireland and to Irish consumers. The findings of this study are significant because, if consumers lack an understanding of financial risk, it can potentially lead to mistakes in financial decisions which may lead to negative financial repercussions for consumers throughout their life and into retirement. In this study, the researcher applied a mixed methods approach to gathering the empirical evidence. Quantitative research was employed by means of a survey questionnaire issued to Irish consumers, which they completed on-line, on which they answered both theoretical and practical questions relating to their understanding of financial risk. Qualitative research was undertaken through the use of an interview guide with selected senior and professional members of the wider Irish financial services industry. During the interviews, data was obtained relating to the industry's view of Irish consumer financial literacy and their suggestions on how financial literacy may be improved. 84% of financial services industry interviewees believe that Irish consumers do not fully understand financial risk. This finding was corroborated by various results from the consumer survey during the quantitative research. In the consumer survey, a significant finding was that just 7.58% of respondents stated that they complete a risk assessment process prior to saving or investing. This study will be of interest to all parties involved in, and connected with, the Irish financial services industry. This includes the Financial Regulator, the Financial Services Ombudsman, the Pensions Ombudsman, the National Consumer Agency, the Professional Insurance Brokers Association {PIBA), and the Irish Brokers Association (IBA), among others. It will also be of significant interest to all consumers as well as all the life assurance companies, banks, credit unions, stockbrokers, financial advisors, tied agents, direct sales agents, fund managers, product manufacturers, and all financial services operatives in the Irish market.

This study will be of benefit to all of the above mentioned parties as remedial action in terms of product manufacture, marketing, literature and sales can be implemented based on the research findings. Consumers will benefit from this study through awareness and ideally through educational improvements, as well as industry improvements.

Access Level