Thursday, September 9, 2010

Changes to the “Accredited Investor” Definition - a Clarification

As I posted earlier, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the "Dodd-Frank Act") amended the definition of an accredited investor to exclude the value of the person’s primary residence from the calculation of net worth. Prior to the Dodd-Frank Act, a natural person was an accredited investor if such person’s net worth, together with spouse, exceeded $1 million. Investors could previously include the value of their primary residence.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC) issued a Compliance and Disclosure Interpretation relating to the change, clarifying that since the primary residence is now excluded from the calculation, so is the mortgage for that residence up to the fair market value of the residence (it also relates to any other loan secured by the residence). However, any mortgage in excess of the FMV of the residence is to be counted as a liability in calculating the net worth of the investor. This clarification is particularly relevant in the view of the recent decline in real estate prices. It is not uncommon that the mortgage for the residence exceeds its fair market value.

The other way for a natural person to become an accredited investor (if such person had an individual income in excess of $200,000 in each of the two most recent years or joint income with their spouse exceeding $300,000 in each of those years and has a reasonable expectation of reaching the same income level in the current year) remains unchanged.
A link to the SEC Interpretation is here:

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