Term: PRIVATE INVESTOR

A natural person (rather than a corporate entity) who invests on the stock market either directly or indirectly. Private investors make up only about 10% of the trades done on the JSE. The other 90% are done by big institutions like pension funds, insurance companies and unit trusts. This means that the approach of big institutions and their fund managers is of great interest to private investors. As a private investor you have certain advantages over the big institutions mainly because you are managing a far smaller portfolio. The big institutions simply cannot invest in most of the shares listed on the JSE because most shares do not have sufficient volume traded to accommodate their enormous transactions. Also the sheer size of their transactions tends to move the market – thus they would begin buying at 1000c per share but end up buying at 1200c per share because their buying would push the price of the share up. The opposite happens when they sell. As a private investor, your transactions are unlikely to move the price of the share that you are buying or selling. Big institutions also make decisions through a committee of fund managers – which can make them bureaucratic and slow in their responses to the market. You have no such constraints. Basically, in the share market, “Small is Beautiful”.

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