What is an Accredited Investor?
You may have heard the term 'Accredited Investor' being brought up among investment circles or at banking events. But what exactly is an Accredited Investor?
Quite simply, an Accredited Investor is someone who meets the requirements set out by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and has opted in to be treated as an Accredited Investor by the bank. Accredited Investors generally have access to a wider range of investment products than non-Accredited Investors, and at the same time require less regulatory protection.
Accredited Investors who no longer wish to have this status will have to sign an opt-out confirmation form.
The Accredited Investor Regime
MAS implemented legislative amendments aimed at enhancing regulatory safeguards for investors in 2018. The criteria for an investor to qualify as an Accredited Investor has been refined and with effect from 8 January 2019, the introduction of an opt-in regime will provide investors the option of electing for Accredited Investor status.
Why become an Accredited Investor?
An Accredited Investor generally has access to a wider range of financial products and services. These include restricted products like structured notes, equity linked notes and selected bonds.
Accredited Investors are assumed to be better informed, better able to access resources to protect their own interests, and therefore, would require less regulatory protection. Investors who agree to be treated as Accredited Investors therefore forgo the benefit of certain regulatory safeguards. When the bank deals with Accredited Investors, we're exempt from complying with certain regulatory requirements of the Financial Advisers Act (FAA), the Securities and Futures Act (SFA) and related regulations that are meant to provide regulatory safeguards to retail customers.
Who can be an Accredited Investor?
Any investor who meets any one of the qualifying criteria and has opted in to be treated as an Accredited Investor.
For individuals to qualify to become Accredited Investors, they have to meet at least 1 of the following 3 criteria:
- Income in the preceding 12 months is not less than SGD300,000 (or its equivalent in a foreign currency)
- Net personal assets exceeding SGD2 million (or its equivalent in a foreign currency) in value, of which the net value of the investor's primary place of residence can only contribute up to SGD1 million
- Net Financial Assets exceeding SGD1 million (or its equivalent in a foreign currency) in value
In order for joint accounts to qualify for Accredited Investor status, they have to meet the following 2 criteria:
- At least 1 joint account holder must qualify as an Accredited Investor and have opted in for the status
- All other joint account holders who do not qualify for Accredited Investor status on an individual capacity must opt in for Accredited Investor status for the joint account
If any of the joint account holders has not opted in for Accredited Investor status, the joint account will be designated as a retail joint account. Consequently, none of the joint account holders will be able to transact through that joint account as Accredited Investors.
Similarly, if any of the joint account holders opts out of Accredited Investor status, the joint account will be re-designated as a retail joint account. None of the joint account holders will then be able to transact through that joint account as Accredited Investors.
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HSBC Bank (Singapore) Limited has informed me that I have met the requirements to be an Accredited Investor. What else am I required to do?
What supporting documents should I submit for the Accredited Investor eligibility assessment?
Can I choose to have a different status for each of my accounts with HSBC?
Will my existing investments which I have entered into as an Accredited Investor be subject to the regulatory safeguards accorded to a non-Accredited Investor after I have successfully opted out of being an Accredited Investor?
Can I withdraw my consent to be treated as an Accredited Investor after I've signed the opt-in form, and what are the consequences of such a withdrawal?
You'll need these information sheets and relevant documents for the regulatory changes made to the Accredited Investor Regime.