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What is a Qualified Purchaser?

In the realm of investment, certain classifications allow investors to partake in exclusive opportunities. Two of these categories are the Qualified Purchaser and the Accredited Investor. While both share similarities, they also exhibit unique characteristics. This article aims to highlight these differences, criteria for qualification, and the investment capabilities each category offers.

Understanding Investment Classifications

Investors are classified into different categories based on their financial credentials, investment knowledge, and risk tolerance. These classifications determine the type of investment opportunities they can access. The two prominent classifications in the investment world are Qualified Purchasers and Accredited Investors.

Qualified Purchaser vs Accredited Investor

While both Qualified Purchasers and Accredited Investors are investor classifications that allow access to exclusive investment opportunities, they differ in specific aspects. The key difference lies in the financial thresholds required and the type of investments they can access.

Requirements for Qualified Purchasers and Accredited Investors

Qualified Purchaser Requirements

A Qualified Purchaser needs to meet high financial thresholds that are primarily based on the value of their investments. The specific requirements for different types of entities are as follows:

  • Individuals: Must own >$5M in investments
  • Family or Estate Planning Entities: Must own >$5M in investments
  • Investment Managers: Must manage >$25M in investments
  • Qualified Institutional Buyers under Rule 144A: Must own >$100M in investments

Accredited Investor Requirements

On the other hand, an Accredited Investor must meet either the net worth or annual income threshold. The specific requirements include:

  • Net Worth: >$1M (excluding the value of the primary residence, either individually or in conjunction with a spouse or partner)
  • Annual Income: >$200K (individually) or >$300K (jointly with a spouse or partner) for at least the past two years with a reasonable expectation of maintaining the same income in the current year.

Investment Opportunities for Qualified Purchasers and Accredited Investors

Qualified Purchasers have a broader range of investment opportunities than Accredited Investors. While both categories can invest in private funds and companies, Qualified Purchasers can invest in funds exempt from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) registration under both Sections 3(c)(1) and 3(c)(7) of the Investment Company Act. In contrast, an Accredited Investor can only invest in a Section 3(c)(1) fund.

SEC Regulation of Qualified Purchasers and Accredited Investors

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulates both categories of investors to protect them from the risks of investing in unregistered securities. These securities are typically issued by privately held companies and are not traded on public markets. Hence, the SEC sets stringent criteria for investors to qualify as either Accredited Investors or Qualified Purchasers.

Understanding 3(c)(1) and 3(c)(7) Funds

Accredited Investors are allowed to invest in 3(c)(1) funds, which can have up to 100 beneficial owners. In contrast, Qualified Purchasers can invest in 3(c)(7) funds that can have up to 2,000 beneficial owners. However, if a 3(c)(7) fund crosses this threshold, it is subject to additional regulatory requirements.

Investment Thresholds and Criteria

The financial thresholds for Accredited Investors are significantly lower than those for Qualified Purchasers. Accredited investors must have a net worth of more than $1 million (excluding the primary residence) or earn an income above $200,000 per year ($300,000 combined with a spouse) for at least three years. Meanwhile, Qualified Purchasers must have at least $5 million worth of investments.

Benefits of Being a Qualified Purchaser or an Accredited Investor

Being a Qualified Purchaser or an Accredited Investor opens the door to exclusive private market investment opportunities not available to many retail investors. These opportunities may include private equity funds, hedge funds, and other types of pooled investments not required to be registered with the SEC.

Differences in Investment Capabilities

The investment capabilities of Accredited Investors and Qualified Purchasers also differ. Accredited Investors can invest in 3(c)(1) funds, which are limited to 100 or 250 beneficial owners, depending on the fund size. In contrast, Qualified Purchasers can invest in 3(c)(7) funds, which can have up to 2,000 qualified purchasers.

Summary and Key Takeaways

In conclusion, understanding the differences between a Qualified Purchaser and an Accredited Investor can significantly impact one's investment options. The key differences lie in the financial thresholds required and the investment capabilities each category offers. By understanding these classifications, investors can make more informed decisions and maximize their investment opportunities.

Joe Robert profile picture
Joe Robert
Robert Ventures CEO
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