Nothing appeals more to individual investors than being able to invest like the big endowment funds, the investment banks and the hedge funds that dominate the financial markets. Those big players have access to any asset class, any trading strategy and any geographic market.
The asset management industry has been successfully tapping that desire for investment alternatives since the financial crisis decimated retail investors' portfolios of traditional stocks and bonds.
The evolution of investment products and investing strategies typically follows a path from the institutional market to the retail investor landscape — primarily in the form of mutual funds and exchange-traded funds. New flavors of mutual funds, investment trusts and publicly traded limited partnerships have given retail investors access to assets such as real estate, commodities and investing strategies formerly unavailable to the small investor.