Institutional Investors are investors (either individuals or companies) that make large enough purchases to benefit from reduced commissions preferential regulations. The SEC defines institutional investors based on the level of the investors' assets. For organizations or businesses, this means having more than $5 million in assets at the time of purchase, while individuals are required to have greater than$1 million in assets at the time of purchase. Because they are considered to be professional investors, institutional investors are not subject to the same regulations as retail investors. Some examples of institutional investors include pension funds, life insurance companies, investment trusts, and hedge funds.