On August 26, 2020 the SEC expanded the definition of an accredited investor.

According to the SEC, you are an accredited investor if:

  • you earned income that exceeded $200,000 (or $300,000 together with a spouse) in each of the prior two years, and reasonably expect the same for the current year, OR
  • have a net worth of more than $1 million, either alone or together with a spouse (excluding the value of a primary residence).

Here are the amendments to the accredited investor definition in Rule 501(a):

    • add a new category to the definition that permits natural persons to qualify as accredited investors based on certain professional certifications, designations or credentials or other credentials issued by an accredited educational institution, which the Commission may designate from time to time by order.  In conjunction with the adoption of the amendments, the Commission designated by order holders in good standing of the Series 7, Series 65, and Series 82 licenses as qualifying natural persons.  This approach provides the Commission with flexibility to reevaluate or add certifications, designations, or credentials in the future.  Members of the public may wish to propose for the Commission’s consideration additional certifications, designations or credentials that satisfy the attributes set out in the new rule;
    • include as accredited investors, with respect to investments in a private fund, natural persons who are “knowledgeable employees” of the fund;
    • clarify that limited liability companies with $5 million in assets may be accredited investors and add SEC- and state-registered investment advisers, exempt reporting advisers, and rural business investment companies (RBICs) to the list of entities that may qualify;
    • add a new category for any entity, including Indian tribes, governmental bodies, funds, and entities organized under the laws of foreign countries, that own “investments,” as defined in Rule 2a51-1(b) under the Investment Company Act, in excess of $5 million and that was not formed for the specific purpose of investing in the securities offered;
    • add “family offices” with at least $5 million in assets under management and their “family clients,” as each term is defined under the Investment Advisers Act; and
    • add the term “spousal equivalent” to the accredited investor definition, so that spousal equivalents may pool their finances for the purpose of qualifying as accredited investors.