Institutional Investor

An institutional investor, or an institutional lender, is an entity that invests large amounts of pooled money on behalf of its clients, customers, members, or shareholders. Endowment funds, commercial banks, mutual funds, hedge funds, pension funds, and insurance companies are institutional investors. They tend to enjoy fewer protective regulations than retail investors (it is assumed they are more knowledgeable and better able to protect themselves) and, often, preferential treatment (e.g., lower transaction fees). They are the “big fishes” of financial markets, and the large transactions they make can have a notable effect on the financial markets as a whole. An increasing number of P2P lending sites, especially those focused on business lending, are either dominated by institutional investors or entirely unavailable for retail investors.