What is Smart Money?

Authored by
Team Espresso
December 30 2022
4 min read

Smart money is a term used to refer to the funds used by knowledgeable, experienced traders in the market to make strategic investments. These buyers are often associated with large and important financial institutions, such as banks, hedge funds, and brokerage firms, among others.  

The term "smart money" can also refer to large investors' combined purchasing power, which can significantly impact market prices of assets like shares. In this sense, the central bank could be termed the driving factor behind "smart money". 

What is Smart Money in the stock market? 

In the context of the stock market, the term "smart money" refers to financial investments or wagers made by those widely regarded as knowledgeable, savvy, and successful. However, there is little evidence to suggest that smart money investments outperform non-smart money investments. But it can be safely said that large inflows of capital do bear an impact on the strategies employed by many speculators. 

Smart money also refers to funds used by gamblers who either have extensive knowledge of the sport being bet on or access to information that is unavailable to the general public. The world of investment is also similar in this sense. The general public believes that the most successful investors have access to or possess a profound familiarity with data compared to the general public. When the trading tendencies of institutional investors are seen to differ from those of individual investors, it can be deduced that smart money is at play, and it stands a better chance of success. 

The term "smart money" can also be used to describe the influence of large investors on the market. In that sense, the central bank is a major driving force behind smart money, while individual traders only ride on the coattails of this smart money. 

Many professional gamblers rely on complex mathematical algorithms based on past results to determine how much and where to risk their money. 

In the realm of venture capital (VC), the term "smart money" refers to the investment that takes into account the financial resources of the investor and the entrepreneur's knowledge, contacts, and expertise. Rather than just receiving financial backing, the company also benefits from the insights and connections of the investor. 

How can you identify smart money? 

You can identify the existence and the movement of smart money in the stock market by tracking the following: 

Trading volume 

When there is an unexpected increase in trading volume in a stock, but no related industry news or public information to explain it, it's likely that smart money may be at play. 

Stock pricing and index options 

Knowledgeable investors look for signs of smart money by studying index option pricing and stock prices. One can gauge how smart money is preparing to undertake future transactions based on the data gathered from the above. 

Therefore, individual investors can reap the rewards of riding the wave of smart money influx if they are able to anticipate the positions of smart money and the stocks they are buying into.  

Data sources and methods 

Data providers employ specific processes and types of information to categorise traders as informed or uninformed. Analysts can tell the difference between commercial and non-commercial trading, thanks to data reports from sources like the Commitment of Traders (COT). 

These data sources show the disparity in their market positioning. It's important to remember that investors' actions sometimes reveal their true motivations. 

Smart money index 

A smart money index is a tool for comparing the stock market returns of institutional investors against those of ordinary investors, termed "stupid or dumb money". Since institutional investors spend the day analysing the market's price action, smart money investing is constantly changing hands at all hours. However, dumb money is typically traded first thing in the morning, as it responds to breaking news or economic data released the night before. 


Institutional investors, financial institutions, central banks, funds, and other financial specialists guide capital, as described in "What is wise money". Smart money is the power that has a noticeable effect on financial markets, often under the command of central banks. Lastly, institutional investors tend to invest on a far grander scale than individual investors. 


Q. What are you hoping to accomplish with your savvy financial planning? 

The trading tendencies of institutional investors differ from those of individual investors. It is generally accepted that smart money has a significantly better chance of success, though it may not be entirely true at all times. The term "smart money" can also be used to describe the influence of large investors on the market. 

Q. What is smart money index? 

The Smart Money Index measures the relative success of "smart money" investors versus "dumb money" investors in the stock market. 

Q. What’s the difference between smart money and dumb money? 

The money being invested by mutual funds and other institutional investors is referred to as "smart money," whereas money invested by retail (individual) investors is derisively termed "dumb money". 

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