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Alternative Investments: An Accredited Investor's Guide for 2023

Edward Rockwell
Edward Rockwell
May 21st, 2023
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In the world of investing, accredited investors hold a unique position that allows them access to a broader range of investment opportunities. As an accredited investor, meeting specific income or net worth criteria as defined by regulatory authorities is crucial. This status not only opens the door to exclusive investment options but also carries the benefits and responsibilities that come with being a sophisticated investor.

One key aspect for accredited investors is the importance of diversification. As traditional investments such as stocks and bonds have become more susceptible to market fluctuations and global uncertainties, these investors are increasingly turning to alternative investments to achieve their financial goals. Alternative investments can provide the much-needed diversification, reduced risk, and enhanced returns, making them an essential part of a well-rounded financial strategy.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the world of alternative investments, delving into their characteristics and the differences between them and traditional investments. We will also discuss the various types of alternative investments available to accredited investors and the factors to consider when selecting the right options for their unique financial situation. By the end of this guide, accredited investors will be better equipped to optimize their investment strategies and harness the potential of alternative investments for wealth creation and diversification.

Who is an accredited investor?

A. Definition and criteria

An accredited investor is an individual or entity that meets specific financial criteria established by regulatory authorities, such as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). These criteria are designed to ensure that accredited investors have the financial sophistication and resources to participate in higher-risk investments not available to the general public. The requirements for accredited investor status may vary depending on the jurisdiction, but generally include one or more of the following:

A minimum annual income level, typically ranging from $200,000 for individuals to $300,000 for married couples.

A net worth of at least $1 million, excluding the value of a primary residence.
Holding specific professional licenses, such as Series 7, Series 65, or Series 82.

B. The benefits and responsibilities of being an accredited investor

Accredited investors enjoy several benefits due to their financial sophistication and resources. Some of these benefits include:

Access to exclusive investment opportunities: Accredited investors can participate in private placements, venture capital, private equity, and other investment opportunities not available to the general public.

Higher potential returns: Alternative investments accessible to accredited investors often offer higher potential returns compared to traditional investments, albeit with increased risk.

Diversification: The ability to invest in alternative assets allows accredited investors to build a more diversified and resilient portfolio.

However, being an accredited investor also comes with certain responsibilities. These include:

Risk management: Accredited investors should be aware of the risks associated with alternative investments, as they may carry a higher degree of risk compared to traditional investments.

Due diligence: It is essential for accredited investors to conduct thorough research and due diligence before investing in alternative assets.

Compliance with regulations: Accredited investors must ensure they comply with all applicable laws and regulations governing their investment activities.

What are alternative investments?

A. Definition and characteristics

Alternative investments encompass a wide variety of financial assets that fall outside the realm of traditional investments such as stocks, bonds, and cash. These investments typically exhibit distinct characteristics that set them apart from their traditional counterparts, including:

Lower correlation: Alternative investments often have a lower correlation with traditional asset classes, which can help diversify a portfolio and mitigate risk.

Unique return drivers: Many alternative investments derive returns from sources not directly tied to the performance of traditional asset classes, offering potential for enhanced returns.

Higher risk-reward potential: Some alternative investments may carry a higher degree of risk compared to traditional investments, but can also offer the possibility of higher returns.

B. Differences between alternative and traditional investments

There are several key differences between alternative and traditional investments:

Accessibility: While traditional investments are generally available to all investors, alternative investments are often restricted to accredited investors who meet specific income or net worth requirements.

Liquidity: Alternative investments tend to be less liquid than traditional investments, as they may have longer lock-up periods or be more difficult to buy and sell on the open market.

Complexity: Alternative investments can be more complex than traditional investments, often requiring specialized knowledge and understanding to evaluate their risks and potential returns.

Regulatory oversight: Alternative investments may be subject to different regulatory frameworks compared to traditional investments, with varying levels of disclosure and reporting requirements.

These differences make alternative investments a unique addition to an accredited investor's portfolio, allowing them to diversify their holdings and potentially enhance overall returns.

Types of alternative investments for accredited investors

A. Private equity

  1. Venture capital: Venture capital investments involve providing early-stage funding to startups and emerging companies with high growth potential. These investments can be high-risk, but they also offer the possibility of significant returns if the companies succeed.
  2. Buyouts: Buyout funds focus on acquiring controlling stakes in established businesses, often with the goal of improving their operations and profitability. The acquired companies may be privately held or public firms that are taken private.
  3. Growth equity: Growth equity investments target mature companies with proven business models that require capital to expand their operations, enter new markets, or develop new products. These investments carry lower risk compared to venture capital but may still offer attractive returns.

B. Hedge funds

  1. Long/short equity: Long/short equity hedge funds take both long and short positions in stocks, aiming to profit from the appreciation of undervalued securities and the decline of overvalued ones.
  2. Event-driven strategies: Event-driven hedge funds capitalize on market inefficiencies and price discrepancies resulting from corporate events such as mergers, acquisitions, bankruptcies, or restructurings.
  3. Macro strategies: Macro hedge funds focus on global macroeconomic trends and geopolitical events, trading a variety of asset classes such as currencies, interest rates, commodities, and equity indices.

C. Real estate

  1. Commercial properties: Investing directly in commercial real estate properties, such as office buildings, retail centers, or industrial facilities, can provide steady income streams through rental income and potential capital appreciation.
  2. Real estate investment trusts (REITs): REITs are publicly traded companies that own, operate, or finance income-producing real estate assets. Investors can gain exposure to real estate markets by purchasing shares of REITs.
  3. Real estate crowdfunding: Real estate crowdfunding platforms allow accredited investors to pool their resources and invest in a variety of real estate projects, often with lower minimum investment requirements than direct property ownership.
  4. Real estate syndication: Real estate syndication is a method by which multiple investors pool their capital to collectively invest in and share the profits from a real estate project. Syndication allows accredited investors to gain access to larger, more lucrative real estate deals than they might be able to individually.
  5. Real estate funds: Real estate funds are pooled investment vehicles that invest in a diversified portfolio of real estate assets, such as commercial properties, residential properties, or mortgages. These funds can provide exposure to the real estate market while offering the benefits of professional management and diversification.

D. Cryptocurrencies

Cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, and numerous others, have emerged as an attractive alternative investment, pushing the boundaries of the financial sphere. These digital currencies, fortified with cryptographic security, offer high potential returns owing to their volatility. Yet, the same volatility introduces a significant risk element, making them more suited for risk-tolerant investors.

Cryptocurrencies present unique advantages such as potential for substantial returns, a 24/7 global market, resistance to inflation, and ease of transactions. For instance, early investors in Bitcoin and Ethereum have reaped exponential growth in value.

Despite these benefits, crypto investments come with their own set of challenges. Their high volatility can lead to substantial gains or losses within a short span. The lack of regulation and clear legal frameworks pose risks of fraud, scams, and potential association with illicit activities. Digital wallets, the storage system for cryptocurrencies, can be vulnerable to cyberattacks, risking users' funds and data.

Beyond traditional cryptocurrencies, blockchain technology has led to the creation of other digital assets, such as Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) and Decentralized Finance (DeFi). that offer new possibilities for digital art, collectibles, and financial services. DeFi aims to replicate and enhance conventional financial systems, eliminating the need for intermediaries. While these new frontiers can offer attractive returns, they also come with unique risks.

For those seeking a more managed crypto investing approach, crypto funds and trusts offer exposure to a diversified crypto portfolio. Managed by experienced professionals, these funds navigate the dynamic crypto market on behalf of investors. Platforms like Coinbase and Binance provide easy access to a wide array of cryptocurrencies, while trusts like Grayscale Bitcoin Trust and blockchain-focused ETFs offer indirect investment routes.

While cryptocurrencies offer exciting investment opportunities, their inherent risks require thoughtful consideration. It's crucial for investors to understand these unique risks and ensure that the level of risk presented aligns with their individual risk tolerance

E. Commodities

  1. Precious metals: Investing in precious metals like gold, silver, or platinum can serve as a hedge against inflation and currency fluctuations. Accredited investors can access the professional bullion markets through companies like BullionVault.
  2. Agricultural products: Investments in agricultural commodities such as grains, livestock, or soft commodities can provide portfolio diversification and exposure to global food demand trends. With FarmAfield, for instance, investors can purchase cattle, feed, and yardage.
  3. Energy resources: Investments in energy commodities like oil, natural gas, or alternative energy sources can offer exposure to the global energy market and its dynamics. Funds such as Hennessy Gas Utility, offer various investment opportunities in natural gas and clean energy.

F. Collectibles and luxury assets

  1. Art and antiques: Investing in fine art, antiques, or other collectible items can offer potential for capital appreciation, as well as the personal enjoyment of owning unique and valuable assets.Platforms like Masterworks and Arthena allow accredited investors to invest in art and antiques.
  2. Wine and spirits: High-quality wines and spirits can appreciate in value over time, providing investment opportunities for those with expertise in this niche market.For example Vinovest has a team of sommeliers who evaluate wine and determine which ones will gain value over time. A portfolio of wine is owned by the investor, so they can buy, sell, and even drink it when they want.
  3. Classic cars: Classic and vintage automobiles can also serve as alternative investments, with the potential for significant appreciation in value for well-maintained and sought-after models.Rally Rd and The Classic Car Trust offer opportunities for accredited investors to invest in classic cars.

Factors to consider when choosing alternative investments

A. Risk tolerance and investment horizon

Before investing in alternative assets, accredited investors should assess their risk tolerance and investment horizon. Some alternative investments may involve higher risks than traditional investments and may require a longer-term commitment. Understanding personal risk tolerance and investment objectives is crucial in selecting the most suitable alternative investment options.

B. Liquidity requirements

Alternative investments often have lower liquidity compared to traditional investments. Investors should consider their liquidity needs and the potential lock-up periods associated with specific alternative assets. Ensuring that enough liquid assets are available to cover short-term expenses or emergencies is vital when allocating funds to alternative investments.

C. Tax implications

Some alternative investments may have unique tax implications that differ from those associated with traditional investments. Investors should consult with a tax advisor to understand the potential tax consequences of investing in alternative assets and plan accordingly.

D. Due diligence and research

Conducting thorough due diligence and research is essential when evaluating alternative investment opportunities. Accredited investors should consider the track record, expertise, and reputation of the investment managers, as well as the underlying assets and investment strategies. Additionally, understanding the fees and expenses associated with each alternative investment is crucial in determining the potential net returns.

By carefully considering these factors, accredited investors can make informed decisions about which alternative investments best align with their financial goals, risk tolerance, and overall investment strategy.


Alternative investments offer accredited investors the opportunity to diversify their portfolios and potentially enhance their overall returns. By investing in unique asset classes such as private equity, hedge funds, real estate, cryptocurrencies, commodities, and collectibles, investors can access new sources of return and mitigate risk through reduced correlation with traditional investments.

For accredited investors looking to explore alternative investments, Vyzer can play a crucial role in optimizing their investment strategies. Vyzer offers investors a comprehensive digital wealth management platform that enables them to manage their finances with a range of tools and resources to help investors better understand their financial situation, analyze their portfolio's performance, and uncover new investment opportunities. With the right tools and insights, accredited investors can make more informed choices about allocating their resources to alternative investments that align with their financial goals and risk tolerance.
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