An investor is a party that makes an investment into one or more categories of assets — equity, debt securities, real estate, currency, commodity, derivatives such as put and call options, etc. — with the objective of making a profit. This definition makes no distinction between those in the primary and secondary markets. That is, someone who provides a business with capital and someone who buys a stock are both investors. Since those in the secondary market are considered investors, speculators are also investors. According to this definition there is no difference.
Types of investors
The following classes of investors are not mutually exclusive:
- Individual investors (including trusts on behalf of individuals, and umbrella companies formed by two or more to pool investment funds)
- Collectors of art, antiques, and other things of value
- Angel investors (individuals and groups)
- Sweat equity investor
- Venture capital funds, which serve as investment collectives on behalf of individuals, companies, pension plans, insurance reserves, or other funds.
- 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