You may know that an institutional investor is a (nonbank) person or organization that trades large quantities of securities on behalf of an organization. In fact, because of trading volume, institutional investors qualify for preferential treatment including lower commissions.
A retail investor is an individual investor, sometimes called a small investor, who buys and sells securities for themselves. As with almost any transaction in commerce, retail investors pay the highest commissions and are generally not privy to preferential treatment.
Related: DIVIDEND YIELD AND YOUR PORTFOLIO
Institutional investors have enormous resources to conduct research and explore investment options. The majority of trades are performed by institutional investors and because of that those trades have tremendous influence on the prices of securities. Knowing this, retail investors often research institutional investor filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to help them determine which securities they should buy and which they should avoid.
Institutional investors have access to some investments that retail investors do not, further complicating the picture. In addition, while retail investors pay brokerage fees and other costs for each trade, institutional investors send their trades to the exchanges independently and negotiate a fee for each transaction.
The Playing Field Starts To Level
Institutional investors designed to provide individual retail investors with information, including research that approximates the type of information and research available to institutional investors.
How It Works
It’s not just about the data. Understanding and using data is difficult, especially in raw form. Platforms like WooTrader and FinanceBoards make data useful without overwhelming investors. Until these platforms came along, investors who could afford the price point (more than $24,000 per year) subscribed to platforms like the Bloomberg Terminal.
While platforms like WooTrader and FinanceBoards don’t pretend to be equal to Bloomberg, they do let individuals create and customize widgets that aggregate data into an intuitive interface at a much lower cost.
For example, FinanceBoards lets users toggle through various dashboards that feature fundamental, technical, analyst targets, headline news, web and social sentiment, buy and sell rankings, and a variety of time periods. You can also create your own widgets to customize dashboards.
The WooTrader service includes the General Woo predictive model node map and associated screeners. General Woo weights over 400 investment strategies against each other based on their performance over the previous five trading days. If you want to drill down on a theme, you can get a list of ranked stocks that fit that theme.