Investor (financial market)

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The investor (also capital investor , capital provider or investor ) is an economic entity who as a market participant in the financial market asks for a financial product for the purpose of long-term asset growth .


The word investor is the noun agentis from capital investment . An investor becomes someone through capital investment, which in turn requires an investor; both are functionally dependent on each other. From an economic point of view, the investor is an economic subject who feeds the money that is not used for consumption into the speculative fund and thus saves . The anglicism investor is the noun agentis from the investment. An investor is understood to mean an economic subject who, as part of his intertemporal consumption decision, invests or wants to invest in capital investments at a certain point in time; The private investor is synonymous. In the German-speaking area, investment and investment have to be differentiated from one another in colloquial terms and economically. Investment is generally the use of capital ( monetary and physical capital ) for a specific non-consumption purpose. The investment is often seen as a synonym for investment. From an investor relations perspective , the terms investor, equity provider , shareholder and investor are used synonymously. The laws also speak of the investor "investing".

An investor is someone who purchases financial instruments from issuers or other investors on the primary market or the secondary market on the basis of public offering , public advertising or similar . This definition does not include investment in commodities , real estate , works of art or jewelry that are not traded on the financial market. Arbitrageurs , speculators or traders in the narrower sense are not investors because they are interested in short-term profit-taking , but not in long-term wealth- increasing trading objects .

Economically, the terms investor and investor are fluent and can also have a different meaning. With stocks, the investor's savings become the investor's investment when someone acquires a strategic equity stake ( blocking minority or majority ).

Legal issues

The Capital Investment Code (KAGB) often uses the legal term investor. It divides it into professional and semi-professional investors, the rest of the negative definition is made up of private investors ( Section 1 (19) No. 31–33 KAGB). For them, Sections 297 KAGB to 306 KAGB contain special provisions (e.g. securities prospectuses , disclosure requirements , prospectus liability ). The legal term “investor” also appears in the Financial Investment Brokerage Ordinance (FinVermV; Section 11 , Section 12 ff. FinVermV), the Securities Prospectus Act (WpPG), the Securities Trading Act (WpHG) or the Asset Management Act (VermAnlG; Section 2 (3) ff. VermAnlG).

The legislator is primarily concerned with investor protection , i.e. the concern that investors are "structurally inferior" to providers of financial investments, that is, they could be disadvantaged as a result of a lack of experience , specialist knowledge , information and / or bargaining power . The protection of the investor should be realized through liability ( e.g. liability for advice , prospectus liability ).


There are three categories of investor protection in terms of investor protection, namely private investors , semi-professional and professional investors . A private investor is anyone who is neither a professional nor a semi-professional investor (Section 1 (19) No. 31 KAGB). The “retail investor” is not a professional customer according to Art. 4 No. 11 Directive 2014/65 / EU (Financial Market Directive) . A semi-professional investor invests at least EUR 200,000 or is organized in the legal form of an institution under public law , a foundation under public law or a company in which the federal government or a state holds a majority ( state-owned company , municipal company ) (Section 1 (19) No. 33 KAGB). A professional investor is any investor who is regarded as a professional client within the meaning of Annex II of Directive 2014/65 / EU or can be treated as a professional client upon request (Section 1 (19) No. 32 KAGB). According to Annex II of Directive 2014/65 / EU, a professional customer is a customer who has sufficient experience, knowledge and expertise to make his own investment decisions and to be able to adequately assess the associated risks. Professional clients within the meaning of Section 67 (2) WpHG are clients who have sufficient experience, knowledge and expertise to make their investment decisions and to be able to adequately assess the associated risks. Private customers are all other customers in accordance with Section 67 (3) WpHG.

The Securities Prospectus Act (WpPG) also knows the qualified investor . Pursuant to Section 2 No. 6a WpPG, these are in particular customers and companies who, subject to classification as private customers, are professional customers or suitable counterparties within the meaning of Section 67 (2) or (4) WpHG, or who pursuant to Section 67 (6) WpHG Application have been classified as such or continue to be treated as professional clients in accordance with section 67 (5) sentence 5 of the WpHG.

In economic terms, a distinction is made between private investors and institutional investors.

Private investors

Private investors or private customers (also known as small investors or retail investors ) are customers who are not professional customers ( Section 67 (3) WpHG). This includes all natural persons who do not have sufficient experience, knowledge and expertise ( general financial education ) to make their investment decisions themselves and to be able to adequately assess the associated risks. They always require investment advice. This is intended to reduce or even completely eliminate asymmetrical information for private investors.

After the "suitability rule" banks are required only private clients a financial product recommended when it suited (for her English suitable is). A financial instrument is suitable for private customers if it corresponds to the customer's investment goals, the resulting risks can be borne by the customer and the customer knows how to correctly assess the risks. Here, knowledge and experience to identify and classify. According to Section 64 (4) WpHG and Sections 3 and 9 WpDVerOV, investment advice for a private client must be confirmed by a written declaration of suitability before the securities order is concluded. According to section 82 (4) and (6) sentence 2 of the WpHG, credit institutions must inform their private customers that, in the event of a customer instruction, they will execute the order in accordance with the customer instruction and are therefore not obliged to carry out the order in accordance with their principles of order execution to the best possible result.

According to the clarification of the BaFin of June 25, 2010, municipalities , rural districts and urban districts are considered private customers within the meaning of section 67 (3) WpHG because they are not “regional governments” within the meaning of section 67 (2) sentence 2 no. 3 WpHG are.

Institutional investors

Institutional investors are regarded as “professional customers” within the meaning of Section 67 (2) WpHG, for whom investment services companies can expect that professional customers have sufficient experience, knowledge and expertise to make their investment decisions themselves and to adequately assess the associated risks can. A financial instrument is suitable for professional clients if it corresponds to the investment objectives ( born professional clients ) or the investment objectives and financial circumstances (born professional clients ). These include credit institutions , insurance companies , funds , public authorities , pension funds or other non-banks such as large companies as well as the federal government and the states as national governments or regional governments within the meaning of section 67 (2) sentence 2 no. 3 WpHG. In some jurisdictions, such institutional investors are also referred to as Qualified Institutional Investors .

Concrete prerequisites in everyday practice are that the investor has sufficiently high securities assets (more than EUR 500,000), professional knowledge (at least one year of work in a relevant profession or equivalent skills) and sufficient practical trading experience (over the immediately preceding 12 months at least 10 Transactions per quarter that had a turnover of at least EUR 25,000). Born investors are regarded as professional from the outset and must expressly ask the credit institution for the higher level of protection offered by private investors if they want to take advantage of this. Approved investors , on the other hand, must first expressly consent to the classification before the bank can withdraw the level of protection of a private investor. In particular, private individuals can only lose their private investor protection if they have given their express prior consent.

Investor criteria

Investment advice , risk tolerance , investment goals and possible investment objects are legally or economically linked to the investor .

Investment advice

According to the rulings of the Federal Court of Justice, investment advice from credit institutions must be “appropriate to the investor” and “appropriate to the property”. Then they have to research the level of knowledge of the customer about investment transactions of the intended type and his willingness to take risks as part of the “investor-friendly” advice; The investment property recommended by credit institutions must take these criteria into account (“property-specific” advice). With this objective in mind, the recommended investment must be tailored to the client's personal circumstances, ie be “investor-friendly”.

Willingness to take risks

The investment brokerage in accordance with § 13 para. 1 FinVermV obliged to offer investors good time before conclusion of a transaction information on the risks to or requested by the investor financial investments available. This information must be written in such a way that the investor can reasonably understand the nature and the risks of the financial investments and can make an investment decision on this basis. All information, including advertising communications, must be honest, clear and not misleading ( Section 14 (1) FinVermV).

With his investment decision, the investor takes on certain financial risks associated with the investment object , which he must assume as a risk taker . The degree of his risk attitude fluctuates between risk aversion (the investor accepts no or only negligible risks) to risk neutrality and risk affinity (he takes very high risks). These risks can be classified using the risk class to which each investment property is assigned. The risk premium is directly related to the risk attitude . The following risk settings can therefore be assigned to the risk premium :

risk neutral ,
risk averse ,
risk taker .

Risk-neutral investors expect a return in the amount of the risk-free interest rate, because they do not demand a risk premium and assign a disuse to the risk . Risk-averse investors, on the other hand, prefer investments that pay a risk premium. In turn, risky investors even receive a risk premium from the counterparty .

Credit institutions must confirm the financial risk to be taken by private investors from an investment within the framework of a suitability declaration prior to concluding a securities order in accordance with Section 64 (4) WpHG as compatible with the investor's risk attitude, taking into account the asset class and risk class. Pursuant to Section 124 of the VAG, insurance companies must invest all their assets in accordance with the principle of corporate prudence , whereby risks must be adequately identified, assessed, monitored, managed, controlled and included in their risk reporting.

Investment objectives

The financial investment recommended to the investor must correspond to his investment objectives ( Section 16 (1) No. 1 FinVermV).

There are three investment goals with mutual conflicting goals , namely return , security ( financial risk ) and liquidity ( fungibility ). In addition, there is the aim of tax avoidance for non-profit investors . This magical investment triangle is characterized by the fact that not all three goals can be achieved equally and to the same extent. The return signals to the investor the earning power of an investment property (e.g. dividend yield , current yield ), while the financial risk consists of the risk of whether and to what extent the investor has to expect the loss of the capital invested . A high return is usually associated with a high financial risk and vice versa. Liquidity says something about how quickly an investor can convert the investment back into money without capital losses. With high returns and at the same time high financial risk, liquidity is again limited. The investment properties can be divided into risk classes depending on the feasibility of the investment objectives. Risk-averse investors prefer security and liquidity, while those willing to take risks prefer the return and consciously accept high financial risks.

In relation to the term , investment goals can be short-term ( saving for the next vacation ), medium-term (investment for a car purchase) or long-term ( retirement provision ). Even if the investor pursues the personal goal of long-term asset growth, short or medium-term investment goals do not conflict with this. In the case of an unlimited investment horizon, the investment strategy must also take into account events that are considered unlikely to occur if only a limited investment period is considered, such as financial or economic crises .

Investment properties

As investment properties are all financial products and financial instruments also of the financial market in question, and equity to all forms of enterprise (about Private Equity ) to mezzanine capital (about subordinated loans ). The real estate traded on the real estate market ( residential and commercial real estate ), the commodities traded on commodities exchanges (especially precious metals ) and the works of art traded on the art market can also be investment objects. The investor can achieve capital growth through their relative scarcity , because the scarcity is usually associated with a long-term increase in value. The investment objects in the financial market are divided into risk classes, which in turn correlate positively with the risk appetite of the investor.

Cluster risks , i.e. the cumulative accumulation of an investment object in the portfolio ( securities account ) with similarly high or identically high correlation values , must be avoided. Rather, the aim is to achieve a mix of risks through a high level of granularity . For example, investment companies and capital investment companies may only invest funds according to the principle of risk diversification (cf. § 214 KAGB, § 243 KAGB), which is to be transferred to all investors. This also applies to insurance in accordance with Section 124 (1) No. 7 and 8 VAG, according to which the investments are to be mixed and distributed appropriately in such a way that excessive dependence on a specific asset or issuer or on a specific group of companies or a geographical one Space and excessive risk concentration in the portfolio as a whole are avoided, and investments in assets with the same issuer or with issuers belonging to the same group of companies must not lead to excessive risk concentration.

This risk diversification is generally aimed at diversifying asset risks as much as possible , i.e. distributing the investment amount across different investment objects, amounts, issuers and maturities . In this way cluster risks are avoided.

Investment motivation

Financial investment

When financial investment (actor financial investor ), the current income from the investment property or the expected value increase profits at a later partial or complete resale of the main investment motivation. If the investment relates to company shares, one speaks of a financial participation .

Strategic investment

With strategic investment (actor strategic investor ) the focus is on the connection of the investment object with the own business purpose .


economic aspects

In terms of capital market theory , the investor is a market participant in a perfect capital market . As a result, investors have complete foresight ( security ) of future market developments , homogeneity of their expectations, there is complete substitutability of the financial products, the market behavior of investors is rational in the sense of profit or benefit maximization , they have no time, location, material or personal preferences , have complete market transparency , and there are no transaction costs , arbitrage opportunities or taxes . Investors are modeled as rationally acting, information seekers with stable preferences who are able to process information appropriately and to assess its limits. Reality deviates greatly from this scientific ideal type of investor. Asymmetrical information prevents complete market transparency, rational behavior is supplemented by intuition , market development is characterized by uncertainty and certain preferences guide his investment decisions - he operates on an imperfect capital market . According to Kenneth J. Arrow , the utility function of a risk-averse investor is characterized by the diminishing marginal utility of uncertain assets . The elasticity of demand for safe investments is ≥ 1. This means that safe investments are luxury goods and not basic needs .

The investments of companies from a financial planning out by budget ( state and its subdivisions) or by private financial planning ( private households ). The investor exchanges cash or book money for less liquid investment objects and usually has to accept transaction costs for this . There is usually no change in assets on the day of the exchange. The risk of investment properties is shown later in their market value , market value , metal value , collectors value or market value , which may cause future financial change.

As markets get investors money market , capital market ( stock exchanges with the market segments equity market and bond market ), commodity markets , real estate market or the property market and the art market in question. Commodities and works of art suitable as investment objects are traded on the latter. As the markets become increasingly narrow, the public subsidy market can also be considered. Investors either act as actors in these markets directly or indirectly via credit institutions, insurance companies, investment brokers or shadow banks .

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: Investors  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Investor  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Niklas Darijtschuk, Performance measurement for changes in interest rates , 2001, p. 57
  2. Achim Janik, Investor Relations in Corporate Communication , 2002, p. 239 (FN 284)
  3. Thomas Werner / Ralf Burghardt, The Gray Capital Market: Opportunities and Risks , 2006, p. 15
  4. Eugen Lorenz / Katja Langenbucher / Helmut Heiss, Karlsruher Forum 2014 , 2015, p. 8
  5. DIIR - German Institute for Internal Auditing eV (Ed.), Internal Audit Current: Berufsstand 07/08 , 2008, p. 47 f.
  6. BaFin of June 25, 2010, customer classification of municipalities, rural districts and urban districts according to Section 2 (1) Securities Service Conduct and Organization Ordinance (WpDVerOV) , reference number WA 31 - Wp 2002 - 2007/0127
  7. BGH, judgment of July 6, 1993, Az. XI ZR 12/93 = BGHZ 123, 126 : "Bond judgment"
  8. ^ BGH, judgment of November 25, 1961, Az .: IVa ZR 286/80 = BGH NJW 1982, 1095 , 1096
  9. Florian Bartholomae / Marcus Wiens, Game Theory: An application-oriented textbook , 2016, p. 11
  10. Matthias Kräkel, Organization and Management , 2007, p. 70
  11. Florian Bartholomae / Marcus Wiens, Game Theory: An application-oriented textbook , 2016, p. 11
  12. Thomas Heidorn, Der Bankbetrieb , 1996, p. 329
  13. Sebastian Schwalme, Principles of proper asset management in foundations , 2010, p. 371 ff.
  14. Anke Dembowski, Profi-Handbuch Investmentfonds , 2007, p. 10
  15. Sebastian Schwalme, Principles of Proper Asset Management in Foundations , 2010, p. 372
  16. Friedrich A. Lutz, theory of interest , 1967, p 182
  17. Friedrich A. Lutz, Zinstheorie , 1967, p. 445
  18. Harald Stoklossa, Die Zinsstrukturtheorie , 2010, p. 33
  19. Eugen Lorenz / Katja Langenbucher / Helmut Heiss, Karlsruher Forum 2014 , 2015, p. 10
  20. Kenneth J. Arrow, The Theory of Risk Aversion , in: ders. (Ed.), Essays in the Theory of Risk-Bearing, 1971, p. 93
  21. Kenneth J. Arrow, The Theory of Risk Aversion , in: ders. (Ed.), Essays in the Theory of Risk-Bearing, 1971, p. 103