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About the Project

This page has a brief outline of the project.
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Brief outline of the research project

In recent years, the online revolution has brought global investment markets to the investor’s sitting room. Although there was a drop in numbers of online investors after the ‘tech-stocks bubble’ burst in early 2000, the economies of online investing mean that investors are being drawn back to the medium.

The ease and convenience, the speed and promise of easy wealth has overshadowed some research which suggests that investors who switch from telephone to online trading may do worse. Fired up by the threat of being left behind in the online era, investors may trade more often, more speculatively and less profitably. Rather than being empowered by online investing, investors may instead be vulnerable.

In Australia it is estimated there are approximately 1.5 million online investors. Through privatisations, demutualisations and especially through compulsory contribution and investment in superannuation for retirement income, most Australians will become active investors at some period in their lives. With the growing use of the Internet many of them will do so, online.

Despite the encouragement for individual investors to go online, there has been little research into the regulatory implications of the non-advisory context of their decision making. Further outside the United States, there are no significant treatments of the regulation of online investing generally. This Australian Research Council funded project addresses these deficiencies, particularly in relation to Australian online investing.

This project is designed:

  • To analyse the fit of existing regulation to online investing conditions;
  • To understand whether there is a need for regulatory change by identifying and analysing the content of investment sites, whether licensed or not e.g. chat rooms, portals;
  • To study the needs, experiences, knowledge and understandings of online investors;
  • To investigate further how online investors seek and use information and advice;
  • Linked to the above aim, to study the attitudes, practices, and understandings of sponsors of online investment sites;
  • To use these findings and insights from investor psychology to make practical recommendations in relation to the regulation of online investing;
  • To refine these reform recommendations by comparing them with regulation in overseas markets; and
  • To further contemporary regulatory theory especially in its application to the digital economy.

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ARC   Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre
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