Accredited Investors

Accredited Investors

Accredited Investors

Under federal securities rules, accredited investors have access to a broader choice of investment opportunities. However, these options may  come with more financial and legal risks. This is because the law assumes that accredited investors have sufficient information to protect themselves from these dangers..

How does a person or entity become an accredited investor? The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the United States follows the guidelines of Regulation D, which allows companies to be exempt from security registration requirements. Regulation D allows businesses and individuals who qualify as “accredited investors” to avoid having to register. There are two tests to prove this qualification.

Income Test

It is important to know that Regulation D’s Rule 501 establishes certain income requirements for qualified investors. Rule 501 states that a n investor must have earned at least $200,000 in the two years leading up to the investment, with the expectation of earning the same or more the following year. (To qualify, a couple must earn at least $300,000 each year.) A single year of solo income and two years of combined income as a spouse is insufficient. These requirements are complex, especially if a person’s marital status changes over the three-year term, so it’s necessary to speak with a securities lawyer before making an accreditation-required investment.

Asset Test

An investor can also use their assets to establish their accreditation, instead of proving income. Net income encompasses a thorough examination of all of your assets and liabilities  If an individual has a net income of one million dollars (either alone or combined with a spouse’s income), they qualify as an accredited investor. To establish how family support obligations, other investments, corporate assets, pending litigation and legal claims, and all other financial difficulties will affect your net worth, speak to a lawyer. Both businesses that apply for Regulation D exemptions can face severe penalties if they are dishonest or make any errors in this process.

Updated Legal Definition of Accredited Investors

The SEC modified the definition of an accredited investor in August 2020. These revisions were made to “update and improve” the definition to accommodate the changing and increasingly complex American private equity market and those who are qualified to participate in it. These modifications are mostly concerned with an individual’s knowledge. Without completing the income or asset requirements, a person who possesses financial certifications or is a “knowledgeable employee” of an equity fund may qualify as an accredited investor. Because this new legislation has yet to be challenged by case law or advisory opinions, it is critical to seek out legal advice before claiming accreditation under the new rules.


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