What is an accredited investor?

What is an accredited investor?


Accredited investor definition

Accredited investors make investments since the law allows them to invest in specific securities offerings not registered with regulatory authorities such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the United States. Accredited investors have sufficient financial sophistication and resources as they bear the risks associated with these investments. 

Accredited investor requirements differ from other investors. Individuals must meet specific criteria to be considered accredited investors in the United States. These are as follows:

Income test

The individual must have earned income exceeding a particular threshold within the two most recent years and is expected to earn the same or higher income in the current year. The threshold is usually determined at $200,000 individually or $300,000 jointly with a partner.

Net worth test

For accredited investor qualifications, the individual is also required to have a net worth that is individually or jointly with a partner and exceeds a threshold of around $1 million, excluding the value of their primary residence.

Professional designation

Individuals with certain professions qualify as accredited investors when they hold specific roles, such as executives of private companies, licensed brokers, or investment advisors.

Partnerships, trusts, corporations, and charitable organizations are recognized as accredited investors, depending on their financial assets or organizational structure. An accredited investor can gain access to specific investment opportunities that are usually not accessible to the general public. These investments include higher risk and often include private placements, hedge funds, venture investments, or any other alternative type of investment. The mindset behind limiting these investments to only accredited investors is to ensure that the investor has the financial means and the knowledge to understand and handle the risk associated with it.

Regarding private placements, accredited investors can participate in private placements of securities offered by different companies that are usually not registered with legal regulatory authorities. These offerings consist of shares of early-stage startups and private equity deals. On the other hand, accredited investors can invest in hedge funds that employ various strategies to generate returns while simultaneously managing risk. Regarding private equity, accredited investors have access to private equity investments, including acquiring equity stakes in privately held companies where the primary aim is to generate long-term capital appreciation. Finally, regarding venture capital, accredited investors can gain the opportunity to invest in venture capital funds that inadvertently provide capital to startups and emerging companies in exchange for equity ownership.


In conclusion, accredited investors are crucial in the investment landscape as they contribute to economic growth. Identifying the types of investments open to accredited investors is paramount as they come with inherent risks. The acquisition process guards investors while facilitating capital formation and innovation within the financial market. However, these investments pose a higher level of risk than accredited investors are expected to handle due to their financial backing.

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