Investor education should focus on changing behaviour with empirically based initiatives, global securities regulators say.

The International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) published a report on Tuesday that sets out best practices for developing and delivering investor education. In particular, the report focuses on the challenge of educating investors about investment risk.

The report recommends that educational initiatives in this area focus on influencing retail investor attitudes and behaviour, as well as knowledge. Among other things, the report also advises that these initiatives take an evidence-based approach, be tested with the target audience; and be designed to reach people when they are close to making investment decisions.

The report also calls on regulators to be conscious of developing messages that are adapted for different target groups and the different ways people access information, ensure investor education initiatives complement regulatory actions to enhance their impact, and develop ways to evaluate the results of educational efforts.

“This report includes a wide range of case studies, innovative approaches and practices, to highlight how securities regulators educate and inform retail investors about risk as a key part of their investor protection objective,” said Howard Wetston, vice chair of the IOSCO board, chairman of the Committee on Retail Investors, and chairman of the Ontario Securities Commission, in a statement.

“I trust that the report will be a helpful source for regulators in developing their own strategies for investment risk education,” he added.