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Understanding Accredited Investors and Why it Matters for Alternative Investments

Are you curious about accredited investors and their role in alternative investments such as real estate? Let's explore what defines an accredited investor, the benefits of accreditation, and the investments that may require it.

What is an Accredited Investor?

An accredited investor is a term used by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) under Regulation D to refer to investors who meet certain financial requirements. This can include high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs), banks and insurance companies.

To be considered an accredited investor in the U.S., an individual or entity must meet one of the following requirements:

  • A person must have an annual income exceeding $200,000 (or $300,000 with a spouse or domestic partner) for the last two years, with the expectation of earning the same or a higher income in the current year.

  • An individual must have earned income above the thresholds either alone or with a spouse over the last two years. It is important to note that this requirement cannot be satisfied by selecting one year of individual income and one year of joint income; it must be two consecutive years of income that meet this requirement.

  • A person must have a net worth exceeding $1,000,000, either individually or jointly with their spouse or domestic partner. This amount cannot include a primary residence.

  • A person who is a general partner, executive officer, or director for the company that is issuing unregistered securities.

  • A "knowledgeable employee" of a private fund.

  • A financial professional who holds a Series 7, Series 65, or Series 82 financial securities license.

  • An entity that is a private business development company or an organization or trust with assets exceeding $5,000,000.

  • An entity that is a bank, investment broker-dealer, insurance company, charitable organization, and any entity in which all equity owners are accredited investors.

Benefits of Being an Accredited Investor

Accredited investors have access to investments that are not available to the general public. These offerings can have higher returns and greater portfolio diversification but also higher risk. The SEC has set strict criteria for accreditation to protect individuals and investors who may not have the experience to protect themselves or withstand significant losses.

Investments That Require Accreditation

Private, unregistered security offerings, such as venture capital, angel investments, private equity funds, and hedge fund investments, typically require accreditation. However, if you are looking to purchase publicly traded investments such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds, or real estate investment trusts (REITs), you do not need to be accredited. Unaccredited investors have many options, including ETFs.

Verification Process

There is no formal process for becoming accredited with the government or SEC. It is up to each investment company to verify the accredited investor status of prospective partners before allowing them to invest. Many firms use a third party like or complete the verification process internally by requesting income and net worth verification, such as bank and investment statements, proof of securities licensing or employment, and tax returns.


Accreditation is not required for all types of investments. However, if you believe that you meet the requirements for accreditation, it is important to educate yourself on the advantages and responsibilities of this status. Remember that all types of investments come with inherent risks, and it is essential to conduct thorough research and consider your financial goals before making any investment decisions.


1 Comment

This was great information.

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