Man having a phone call on the rooftop
Fintech Glossary

The Comprehensive Guide for the Retail Investor

What you will learn?

Who is a retail investor?
What he/she can do?
What are the differences between institutional & retail investors?

Unveiling the Retail Investor

Who is a retail investor?

What he/she can do?

What are the differences between institutional & retail investors?

Individual investors are non-professional investors who invest their own money in various financial markets. Retail investing is the act of these individual investors participating in the financial markets. An institutional investor, on the other hand, is an entity or organization that manages large sums of money on behalf of others, such as pension funds, banks, mutual funds, insurance companies, and hedge funds.

They have access to more complex investments, benefit from lower transaction fees, and possess greater buying power compared to retail investors.

The retail investment market is the broader ecosystem where retail investing takes place, highlighting its growth and significance.

Unveiling the Retail Investor's Interactions with Hedge Funds

Investors are individuals or entities that commit capital with the expectation of receiving financial returns. They can be divided into two groups: institutional and retail.

Retail investors, often investing through a brokerage firm, can be characterized as non-professional and personally motivated, which is a crucial difference. Brokerage firms play a pivotal role by providing services and platforms that enable retail investors to manage their investments, whether they choose to do so on their own or with the assistance of a professional.

Additionally, retail investors have access to a variety of investment vehicles, including mutual funds and hedge funds. Mutual funds offer a diversified portfolio of stocks, bonds, or index funds, catering primarily to individual investors and subject to more government regulation than hedge funds, which might appeal to those seeking different levels of risk and regulatory oversight.

Key takeaways

  • Limited investments result from smaller cash resources.

  • Individuals are generally constrained to broker assistance or services like online investment platforms.

  • More vulnerable to personal bias, manipulation, and crowded trades.

  • Despite not having a professional education, retail investors can follow sophisticated plans

  • Retail investors face challenges in making informed investment decisions due to limited access to information and higher costs, unlike institutional investors who have access to more resources and information, enabling them to conduct thorough research and financial analysis.

  • Supposing a large group of individuals will follow a certain plan, there can be huge market implications, for example, the GameStop short squeeze in 2021. This event underscores the significant role retail investors play in influencing market movements, particularly in driving up the price of 'meme stocks' and creating volatility across financial markets.

Comparison of Retail And Institutional Investors.

Institutional Investors

Institutional investors, entities like pension funds or mutual funds with professional management, are hiring full-time professionals to create sophisticated investment plans for third parties. These can be strategies for one year focused on local market bonds or ten years focused on emerging markets stocks.

Organizations like that negotiate more preferential conditions while buying tremendous blocks of assets, which can shift the whole market situation.

Retail Investors

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) plays a crucial role in this landscape by enforcing securities laws that protect retail investors and providing online education to help them understand the market better. This contrasts with the regulatory environment for institutional investors, which is subject to relatively fewer regulations.

The Differences Between Institutional and Retail Investors

The differences between institutional and retail investors, in terms of investment access, knowledge, fees, and general approach to investing, have significant implications on the market, highlighting how retail investors are gradually gaining access to opportunities once reserved for large entities such as pension funds.

Typically, such plans are realized on behalf of a larger group of people or the wealthy.


Retail investors invest their own money in the financial markets, including the stock market, managing their investments through brokerage accounts or other financial institutions, aiming to gain capital.

Retail investors may hire professionals or use online platforms to make more informed investment decisions, despite time constraints and lack of access to detailed information.

Different laws protect them due to these challenges.

We know how valuable is your time.

We guarantee that we will not waste it

Let’s talk about your project - we will convince you that we have right people, skills and experience.

Schedule a quick free call