Home » Mutual Funds » What is an institutional fund: Meaning and benefits

What is an institutional fund: Meaning and benefits

If retail investors put their money into mutual funds, where do institutional investors invest? Institutional investors often turn to institutional funds to manage their substantial assets. An institutional fund is a specialised investment vehicle tailored exclusively for institutional investors. 

These funds manage vast sums of money collectively, playing a crucial role in channelling the savings of institutions into a variety of investment options. 

They are commonly used to manage assets for educational endowments, charitable organisations, and pension schemes. The primary investors in these funds typically include corporations, nonprofit groups, and governmental bodies.

In this blog, we will delve in detail into the concept of institutional funds. We will also look into the types of institutional funds and their benefits.

What are institutional funds?

Let us start by understanding what are institutional funds.

Institutional funds are specialised investment vehicles meant for institutional investors. They cater to the distinct needs and demands of larger institutions, which differ from those of other investor types. 

These funds impose specific requirements, such as large minimum investments. They target entities like pension funds, hedge funds, and high-net-worth individuals. 

Institutional clients typically possess significantly more capital for investment compared to the average investor. Additionally, institutional investors typically have longer investment horizons, allowing them to venture into illiquid assets with the potential for higher returns. This is a focus of funds targeting institutional investors.

Moreover, institutions face more constraints than retail investors. Many nonprofits, for instance, are restricted from investing in companies profiting from perceived social ills. These considerations are integral to the strategic approach and regulatory compliance of institutional funds.

Types of institutional funds

Institutional investors can choose from a wide variety of fund structures tailored specifically for them. These structures often involve pooled funds or portfolios under professional management, which helps to improve operational efficiency and reduce costs. 

The range of available fund types for institutional investors generally falls into the following 3 types of institutional funds:

  1. Institutional mutual fund shares

Institutional mutual fund shares are offered by mutual funds as institutional share classes. They have distinct investment criteria and a specific fee structure. Generally, these institutional shares have the lowest expense ratios compared to other share classes within the same mutual fund. 

Investors interested in these shares must meet a substantial minimum investment requirement.

  1. Commingled funds

Investment managers frequently create institutional commingled funds for their clients by pooling assets from multiple institutional accounts. These funds follow similar investment criteria and fund requirements as institutional mutual fund shares

They also come with specialised fee structures, enabling lower expense ratios due to the economies of scale achieved from large collective investments.

  1. Separate accounts

Investment managers often tailor separate account management services for institutional investors. These separate accounts are commonly used when an institutional client desires to independently manage their assets apart from the standard investment funds offered by the firm. 

Sometimes, investment managers oversee all of an institutional client’s assets within a separate account that is diversified. 

These separate accounts feature unique fee structures, determined by the investment manager, which might be higher than those of other institutional funds. This is because of the extensive customization needed for managing these accounts.

Benefits of institutional funds

Institutional funds offer several benefits that make them attractive options for large-scale investors:

  1. Diversification and risk management capabilities

Institutional funds excel in diversification and risk management by spreading investments across various assets, effectively mitigating risk. These funds leverage advanced risk management tools and sophisticated techniques, providing institutional investors with an edge over individual investors.

  1. Access to expertise and resources 

Institutional funds provide access to expertise and resources through dedicated teams of investment professionals and comprehensive research resources. This access enhances decision-making capabilities, potentially leading to superior investment outcomes.

  1. Economies of scale resulting in lower costs

Institutional funds provide access to expertise and resources through dedicated teams of investment professionals and comprehensive research resources. This access enhances decision-making capabilities, potentially leading to superior investment outcomes.

  1. Enhanced liquidity features 

Institutional funds offer enhanced liquidity features, allowing large entities to adjust their investment positions quickly. This flexibility in liquidity terms is crucial for accommodating the dynamic needs of institutional investors.


Institutional funds play a crucial role in the financial ecosystem. They facilitate efficient investment management for institutional investors. They enable diversification, expert management, cost efficiencies, and enhanced liquidity, aligning with institutional investors’ objectives. Additionally, they contribute to the overall stability and liquidity of financial markets. To learn more about mutual funds, subscribe to StockGro. 


What are institutional funds?

Institutional funds are investment vehicles designed specifically for large institutional investors like pension funds, endowments, and insurance companies. They typically have low expense ratios and require high minimum investments.

Who can invest in institutional funds?

Institutional funds are primarily intended for institutional investors, which include organisations such as pension plans, universities, governments, and high-net-worth individuals who meet certain financial criteria.

How do institutional funds differ from retail funds?

Institutional funds often have lower fees, larger minimum investment requirements, and access to more sophisticated investment strategies compared to retail funds, which are aimed at the general public.

What are the main types of institutional funds?

The main types include institutional mutual fund shares, commingled funds, and separate accounts. Each of these is tailored to different institutional needs and investment strategies.

What are the advantages of investing in institutional funds?

Benefits of investing in institutional funds include greater cost-efficiency through lower expense ratios, access to expert investment management, and the ability to participate in more complex and potentially more rewarding investment strategies.

Enjoyed reading this? Share it with your friends.

Post navigation

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *