Institutional Shares – Definition

Cite this article as:"Institutional Shares – Definition," in The Business Professor, updated December 2, 2019, last accessed December 4, 2020,


Institutional Shares Definition

Institutional shares refer to a category of mutual fund shares that are available for just institutional investors. In a mutual fund share, institutional shares are the only investment class that commands the smallest expense ratio. This information is gotten as a result of multiple comparisons with other classes of investments available at mutual funds. For investors to be considered for institutional shares, they require a minimum of $200,000, and in most cases, they are also required to match other specifications and conditions.

A Little More on What are Institutional Shares

Institutional shares are one of the classes of multiple shares offered and managed by a mutual fund. Companies that are the investment sector or space usually offer multiple shares classes of a fund and this provides clients with the opportunity to pick the best investment option to fit their portfolio interests. Retails shares can consist of Class A, B, C, and R, with each retail class having different fees which investors are required to pay. Although each investment retail shares class is divided into different categories, they are all managed under one fund by a single designated portfolio investment manager if the client decides to take all or multiple retail class shares under his portfolio. In an attempt to control and operate pooled fund investing from diverse share classes, investment and portfolio managers make use of combined fund structures to oversee and supervise funds offerings. Institutional shares of mutual funds are also offered to capable investors in combination with all other classes of retail shares. However, unlike other investment shares classes, institutional shares have their own personal fee structures and charges, as well as conditions or specifications for investing.

Little Knowledge of Institutional Investors

In the investment world, there are a number of investors institutional investors that are qualified to purchase and own institutional shares. These investors usually oversee huge investment positions well worth over $250,000. Multiple times, we have seen institutional investors who are money managers controlling and maintaining the investment decisions of huge investment projects. Institutional investors consist of investment managers of retirement plans, endowments, foundations, government agencies, institutional accounts on insurance plans, corporate institutional units and institutional investment funds. In some cases, the word institutional investor is also used to refer to financial entities that serves as intermediaries who are looking to invest in mutual funds or other securities on behalf of high net worth or extremely wealthy clients.

Institutional Share Class Fee

In mutual funds, investors have access to multiple share classes, with each class commanding their own different fee structure. Institutional share classes in most cases have the lowest ratio in terms of expenses attached amongst all the other share classes which an investor has access to in a mutual fund. An added benefit of this share class is the ability to invest in them with being required to pay sales charges.

Different Types of Institutional Share Classes

The absence of high fee structures and the cheap nature of purchasing and maintaining institutional share classes make them the most attractive and in most cases safest class of retail fees for investors. Due to this, a number of mutual fund firms have designed institutional shares in different ways, with some being suitable only for wealthy individuals. An example of a share created to fit investors with high net worth is Vanguard’s admiral shares.

Short Discussion on Vanguard Admiral Shares

The expense ratio of Vanguard’s admiral share is averaged at 0.12%, and it ranges from 0.05% to 0.38%. In most cases, index and tax-managed funds seem to require a cheaper and possibly lowest minimum investment at no more than $10,000. For funds which are actively managed, the minimum investment capital is tagged at $50,000. There are also some sector-specific index funds which require a minimum starting capital of $100,000.

References for “Institutional Shares…/institutional-shares-6715 › Purchasing a House › Short Sales › Investing › Mutual Funds › Glossary

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