New Bill Aims to Grant Accredited Investor Status, Access to Private Markets to Those Who Pass Exam

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If you’re interested in investing in a hot startup or joining a market-beating private investment fund, chances are you won’t be able to unless you’re already quite wealthy or have particular investment expertise, writes Brian J. O’Connor for SmartAsset.

However, a recently passed House bill wants to change that and allow investors to put their funds into private securities after taking and passing an exam.

Currently, investors who want to purchase an unregistered security need to show the Securities and Exchange Commission that they are accredited investors. To qualify for this title, an investor needs a net worth of more than $1 million, excluding their home; over $200,000 a year in income for unmarried individuals or $300,000 for those who are married; or have significant experience as an investment professional.

If you do not fit these criteria, your money is off-limits for private placements.

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The Equal Opportunity for All Investors Act of 2023 would instruct the SEC to make an accredited investor certification exam that would make it possible for investors to demonstrate they possess the knowledge and understanding necessary to participate in the private market.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority would administer the exam.

“It is my firm belief that the accredited investor definition should not be tied exclusively to wealth,” said one of the bill’s sponsors, U.S. Rep. Mike Flood of Nebraska.

Fred Hubler, CEO and Chief Wealth Strategist at Creative Capital Wealth Management Group in Chester Springs and a contributor, agrees.

“I have met very astute investors who were not technically qualified but had all the right knowledge to have benefited from some exposure to alternative investments,” he said. “Having worked with alternative investments since starting Creative Capital Wealth Management Group over 20 years ago, I welcome this change to allow more people in the tent.”

Read more about the accredited investor exam in SmartAsset.


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