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Requirements for Accredited Investors
The regulations for accredited investors vary from one jurisdiction to the other and are often defined by the local market regulator or a competent authority. In the United States, the definition of accredited investor is put forth by SEC in Rule 501 of Regulation D.
To be an accredited investor, a person must have an annual income exceeding $200,000, or $300,000 for joint income, for the last two years with expectation of earning the same or 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. The income test cannot be satisfied by showing one year of an individual's income and the next two years of joint income with a spouse. The exception to this rule is when a person is married within the period of conducting a test.
A person is also considered an accredited investor if they have net worth exceeding $1 million, either individually or jointly with his spouse. The SEC also considers a person to be an accredited investor if they are a general partner, executive officer, director or a related combination thereof for the issuer of unregistered securities.
An entity is an accredited investor if it is a private business development company or an organization with assets exceeding $5 million. Also, if an entity consists of equity owners who are accredited investors, the entity itself is an accredited investor. However, an organization cannot be formed with a sole purpose of purchasing specific securities.