Piker

DEFINITION of 'Piker'

A broker or investor who makes small size trades. Piker is a pejorative slang term used to describe individuals who are said to have limited impact on the operations of the market or a business.

An individual is most likely to be considered a piker if he or she makes small trades or does not prepare fully for the trading day. The word itself is considered more offensive than words such as “amateur”. In some cases an individual who considered him or herself to be very knowledgeable about investing, despite evidence indicating otherwise, would be considered a piker.

BREAKING DOWN 'Piker'

Professional brokers may consider investors who don’t work for a brokerage, such as day traders, to be amateur and of lower quality because they do not work for a professional firm. This may be fueled by the idea that day traders work from home in their pajamas, waking up right before the opening bell and not researching securities with the same attention to detail as professional brokers. Because of this charged approach to non-brokers by professional brokers, calling someone a piker is often limited to professional settings.

In some sense, the word piker is used to describe investors who act in ways considered outside of the ordinary compared to what is the generally accepted behavior by brokers. In addition to being compared to amateur investors, piker may be used to describe a professional broker who submits an odd unit of trading considering the setting.

For example, a broker may place an order for $5,000 worth of a security. Other brokers may consider this so small as to be laughable, and would instead prefer making much larger trades in order to prove their worth. Backlash against the use of the word centers on the stigma leveled on smaller trades and the investors who request that their brokers make them.