HOW TO BECOME AN ACCREDITED INVESTOR IN THE US: Detailed Guide

HOW TO BECOME AN ACCREDITED INVESTOR IN THE US
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Want to get accredited in the United States as an investor? We’ll get into the specifics of what it takes to be considered an accredited investor in the United States in just a second. The definition of an accredited investor has been expanded to include those who hold certain professional credentials or who are “knowledgeable employees” of a private fund. If you’re just getting started in the world of investing, you’ll eventually come across the term “accredited investor.” Then you’ll start asking what it means, what it takes to become an accredited investor, and the potential pitfalls and rewards of doing so. This guide will go through all of that and more, including how to become an accredited investor. To begin, let’s define what we mean by this.

What Is an Accredited Investor?

Accredited investors are either large financial institutions or high-net-worth individuals who are deemed knowledgeable enough to invest in unregistered securities and avoid the restrictions placed on smaller investors.

In the existing regulatory framework for the financial markets, a firm looking to distribute its securities can do one of two things. By filing with the SEC and producing quarterly financial reports, a company can become publicly listed. Or it can find a way around such rules to keep doing business while still being privately held.

One of these exceptions is SEC Rule 501 under Regulation D of the Securities Act of 1933, which allows sales to authorized investors. The provision was created in reaction to the Great Depression to allow smaller enterprises to compete without SEC registration costs.

In 1982, the SEC relaxed its criteria to allow individuals to qualify for the same exemption as institutions, so long as they could demonstrate a level of financial security above and above that afforded by the typical investor.

Why Accreditation Is Important

People’s perception of the SEC’s role is skewed toward the protection of investors and consumers, but the agency’s responsibilities extend beyond that. In addition to protecting investors, it facilitates capital formation or the accumulation of wealth in the market. The SEC must sometimes pair high-risk, high-reward prospects with appropriate investors to avoid any potential conflicts between these two goals.

This is where serious, well-off investors come in.

Angel investing, like other forms of speculative entrepreneurship, carries a high risk of complete loss of capital. The SEC avoids stifling funding by insuring and regulating these projects by identifying a group of investors it believes is capable of evaluating the risks involved in such investments on its own and still remaining financially stable if the worst should happen.

Example Of An Accredited Investor

Maybe an illustration can help you decide if you are an accredited investor or not. Let’s examine how you can become an accredited investor by first determining your net worth.

Start with a balance sheet that details all of your assets and your debts. Next, add up all your assets—cash, investments, retirement accounts, furniture, and cars. In addition, the value of your main residence is the only asset category that should not be included. Don’t forget that a person’s net worth (not counting their primary residence) is one of the criteria for qualified investors. Include any other real estate you own but don’t use as your primary residence. After totaling the person’s assets, one must then tally their debts.

Student loans, auto loans, and credit card debt are all typical forms of personal indebtedness. The final step in calculating your net worth is to deduct your liabilities from your assets. Accredited investors have a net worth of over $1 million. If you don’t have a net worth of at least $1 million, you can’t be considered an accredited investor. Even if you’ve already checked out the accredited investor standards and realized you don’t meet them, you may find this data useful. You can now make the right financial decisions to put yourself in the best position to become an authorized investor.

How To Become An Accredited Investor

After discussing what an accredited investor is and why its important, we may go on to discuss the first steps toward achieving accredited investor status. If you’ve read this far and fully grasped all of the material, verifying yourself will be a breeze.

#1. Calculate Your Net Worth

In the preceding illustration section, we detailed the exact steps necessary to determine your own net worth. Further, compute the sum of all your debts and subtract it from the value of all your assets to get your total debt. If you included your principal home in your calculation, the SEC requires you to deduct its value.

#2. Gather Financial Documentation

After calculating your net worth, the next step is to obtain the necessary documentation to back up your claims. Get together your tax records, credit reports, bank statements, and statements from any investment or retirement accounts you have.

#3. Get verified

Conclusively, it’s time to get confirmed. The SEC requires firms issuing unregistered securities to gather investor questionnaires to assess investor eligibility. More so, each company in which you are interested in investing will require you, as the investor, to fill out a separate questionnaire.

Make sure you have all the information and documents you gathered in the previous stage ready to present to the verification service when you apply to become an accredited investor. Complete the procedure by signing the questionnaire. Keep a copy for your records, and keep a lookout for new funds and investments that could broaden your portfolio’s exposure.

How Do Firms Determine Whether You’re Accredited?

Without oversight from the SEC, it is up to private businesses to verify an investor’s accreditation before allowing them to buy stocks. The verification of identification form will likely ask about the following papers in various forms:

#1. Financial Statements

These will detail the holdings and investments of your funds, including the total amount, the duration of their stay, and the holdings’ locations.

#2. Credit Report

As a result, you’ll get a rough estimate of your current wealth.

#3. Tax Forms and Returns

Keep in mind that you and/or your spouse will need to provide proof of income dating back at least three years.

4. Professional Credentials

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Series 7, 65, and 82 licenses are included in this category, but other FINRA certificates and designations are also valid.

After providing this information and getting approved by your chosen firm, you will be able to invest in unregistered securities.

Investment Opportunities for Accredited Investors

The whole range of registered securities, including stocks, bonds, and mutual funds, can be managed by non-accredited investors. Also, they can buy property, save for retirement, take prudent risks, and succeed financially.

Hedge funds, venture capital, private equity, and angel investing are only available to accredited investors. The SEC’s distinct perspective on each product is to blame for this access problem. Because hedge funds use leverage and short-selling, the SEC considers them more “flexible” than mutual funds.

The SEC wants investors to show they’ve done their research and understand the dangers before investing in these sophisticated products.

Pros and Cons of Becoming an Accredited Investor

In this section, we shall ex-ray the advantages and disadvantages of accredited investors.

Pros of Accredited Investor Explained

Being an authorized investor gives you a significant competitive edge in the investment market. Because you have a high level of wealth already, you can invest in securities that are off-limits to those with lower means. This could lead to a rise in your wealth a result.

It’s possible that these investments might provide a higher rate of return, greater diversity, and many other benefits, all while reducing the amount of time required to accomplish the same goal.

The ability to invest in hedge funds is a particularly clear-cut example of the value of being an accredited investor. Due to the high entry barrier presented by hedge funds and the considerable risk that is sometimes inherent to these investments, only accredited investors are typically allowed to participate.

Cons of Accredited Investor Explained

Negative aspects of being an accredited investor have to do with investments themselves. Any investment that specifies that the investor must be an accredited investor likely carries a significant degree of risk. Many funds use riskier tactics in an attempt to outperform the market, but these strategies might be fruitful under the right conditions.

Another drawback is that most investments have very high entry requirements in addition to the significant risk. The typical practice of investing hundreds or thousands of dollars at a time is insufficient. Non-regular investors must invest at least $200,000 to participate in “regular” investments. This is a substantial sum to lose if your investment fails.

Investments from accredited investors also incur additional costs. These are mainly made up of management fees and performance fees. Fees tied to how well the project performs can be anything from 15% to 20%.

How Much Does It Cost to Become an Accredited Investor?

In order to qualify as an accredited investor, you need to demonstrate that you’ve earned a yearly income of $200,000 or more for the preceding two years. If an investor has a joint income of at least $300,000 with their spouse or domestic partner in any of the two most recent years, they are also eligible to invest. Both cases require the investor to have a good hope of reaching that level of annual revenue this very year.

Can Anyone Be an Accredited Investor?

Accredited investors are required to meet certain income and net worth requirements, among other criteria, in order to invest in a company.

People who have made over $200,000 per year for the past two years (or over $300,000 per year as a married couple) and can reasonably anticipate making that much again this year are considered high earners.

Is There a Loophole to Becoming an Accredited Investor?

One needs no special degrees or licenses to be considered a qualified investor. If a person’s net worth is above a certain threshold, they are immediately accepted. To be accredited or not is to be distinguished solely by one’s level of personal riches.

An accredited investor in the United States can participate in a wider range of investment possibilities than the average investor. That means you can’t invest in a private company unless you know the founder. Verifying your accreditations opens up niche industries like venture capital and hedge funds.

How Long Does It Take To Get Accredited Investor Status?

Anyone with a net worth of $1 million or more, or a joint net worth of $300,000 or more, in the preceding two years, or a realistic expectation of attaining the same net worth in the current year, is considered an accredited investor in the United States. In the United States, an accredited investor is defined as a person who has earned more than $200,000 per year for the preceding two years, or $300,000 per year as a married couple, and who can reasonably expect to earn at least that amount this year.

Conclusion

If you don’t fulfill the income, education, or net worth standards to be considered an “accredited investor,” you won’t be able to invest. They tend to be very affluent people. Non-registered investments are made available to accredited investors from various sources, including private equity funds, hedge funds, angel investments, venture capital firms, and others.

Accredited investors can use these vehicles to gain access to a variety of high-return, restricted investments. However, they also have several major negatives, like high risk and large minimum investment amounts.

Companies must take several measures to verify an investor’s accreditation status in order to comply with SEC laws. Seeking out these alternative investment alternatives may be worthwhile if you are a qualified investor looking to rapidly increase your net worth.

FAQs

Can I invest in a startup without being an accredited investor?

Accredited and non-accredited investors may have different startup investment terms. Most startup investment options for non-accredited investors can be found on equity crowdfunding platforms like SeedInvest.

Is there a certificate to be an accredited investor?

No official verification of investor credibility is provided. Instead, businesses that sell investments to accredited investors must take measures to ensure your eligibility.

Can I get a US visa if I buy a property?

No. Buying a home in the United States is not a sufficient basis for obtaining permanent residency. In truth, in most cases, having property ownership doesn’t improve your chances of obtaining a visa or other immigration benefits.

References

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