Perceived risk, risk tolerance and trust in debt decisions : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Finance at Massey University, Manawatu, New Zealand

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Massey University
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The perceived risk of stock investment, risk tolerance and trust play important roles in the stock market and in use of debt for stock investment, yet the relationship between these has received little attention. This thesis examines these direct and indirect relationships using three independent essays using structural equation modelling as the main technique. Vietnam is used as an illustrative example, as the use of informal borrowing is common. This thesis surveyed 420 Vietnamese individual investors and found the following results. Essay One finds that the perceived risk is positively associated with borrowing sources and the use of informal debt. Leverage risk and opportunity risk also directly relate to borrowing sources. Borrowing sources is positively related to perceived risk and debt decisions. Perceived risk is a mediator between borrowing sources and informal debt, and borrowing sources act as a mediator between perceived risk and debt decisions. The results of Essay Two show that risk tolerance has a direct relationship to the use of financial leverage, while investment horizons are related to the use of informal debt. Risk tolerance positively relates to the use of informal debt and mediates between investment horizons and debt decisions among stockbrokers. In Essay Three, the results reveal that there is a significantly positive relationship between trust in the stock market, and trading frequency and the use of informal debt. Trust in stockbrokers and brokerage firms are directly related to the use of informal debt. Trading frequency is also positively associated with trust in the stock market and the use of financial leverage. Trust is a mediator between trading frequency and informal debt, and trading frequency acts as a mediator between trust and financial leverage. Findings from this thesis will help provide useful insights into investors’ behaviour and its impact on debt decisions for stock investment amongst individual investors, users and non-users of informal and formal borrowing, stockbrokers and non-stockbrokers, male and female investors in the Vietnam stock market and other stock markets.
Investments, Stocks, Debt, Risk perception, Risk management, Trust, Vietnam