- See Investor AB for the Swedish investment company.
An investor is any party that makes an investment.
The term has taken on a specific meaning in finance to describe the particular types of people and companies that regularly purchase equity or debt securities for financial gain in exchange for funding an expanding company. Less frequently, the term is applied to parties who purchase real estate, currency, commodity derivatives, personal property, or other assets.
The term implies that a party purchases and holds assets in hopes of achieving capital gain, not as a profession or for short-term income.
Types of investors
Here is an overlapping, non-exclusive list of investor types
- Individual investors (including trusts on behalf of individuals, and umbrella companies formed for two or more to pool investment funds)
- Collectors of art, antiques, and other things of value
- Angel investors, either individually or in groups
- Venture capital funds, which serve as investment collectives on behalf of individuals, companies, pension plans, insurance reserves, or other funds.
- Investment banks
- Businesses that make investments, either directly or via a captive fund
- Investment trusts, including real estate investment trusts
- Mutual funds, hedge funds, and other funds, ownership of which may or may not be publicly traded (these funds typically pool money raised from their owner-subscribers to invest in securities)
- Sovereign wealth funds
Also, investors might be classified according to their styles. In this respect, an important distinctive investor psychology trait is risk attitude.
The term “investor protection” defines the entity of efforts and activities to observe, safeguard and enforce the rights and claims of a person in his role as an investor. This includes advise and legal action. The assumption of a need of protection is based on the experience that financial investors are usually structurally inferior to providers of financial services and products due to lack of professional knowledge, information and/or experience.