DEFINITION of 'Boutique'

A small financial firm that provides specialized services for a particular segment of the market. Boutique firms are most common in the investment management or investment banking industries. These firms may specialize by industry, client asset size, banking transaction type or by other factors to address a market not well addressed by larger firms.


Smaller players in the financial segment can do well by positioning themselves to serve a niche. Although they may lack some of the resources of larger firms, boutique firms aim to offer more individualized services and tailor their offerings to the needs of their clients. Boutique firms are often started by former employees of larger firms who wish to strike out on their own. Working at a boutique firm can offer an alternative for finance workers who are looking for something different from the large firm experience.

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