What is a qualified purchaser?

We have previously discussed the difference between a 3(c)(1) hedge fund and a 3(c)(7) hedge fund. Unlike a 3(c)(1) hedge fund where investors only generally need to be accredited investors and potentially qualified clients, all investors in a 3(c)(7) hedge fund must be “qualified purchasers.” A qualified purchaser is a greater requirement than an accredited investor and a qualified client. Generally only super high net worth individuals and institutional investors will fit within the definition of qualified purchaser. Because of this fact, there are fewer 3(c)(7) hedge funds than 3(c)(1) hedge funds. Also, most 3(c)(7) funds are going to be funds with greater intial investment requirements and will be marketed towards the institutional market. Because of this, 3(c)(7) hedge funds will tend to have greater assets than many 3(c)(1) hedge funds.

The definition of “qualified purchaser” is found in the Investment Company Act of 1940. The definition includes:

i. any natural person (including any person who holds a joint, community property, or other similar shared ownership interest in an issuer that is excepted under section 3(c)(7) with that person’s qualified purchaser spouse) who owns not less than $ 5,000,000 in investments, as defined below;

ii. any company that owns not less than $ 5,000,000 in investments and that is owned directly or indirectly by or for 2 or more natural persons who are related as siblings or spouse (including former spouses), or direct lineal descendants by birth or adoption, spouses of such persons, the estates of such persons, or foundations, charitable organizations, or trusts established by or for the benefit of such persons;

iii. any trust that is not covered by clause (ii) and that was not formed for the specific purpose of acquiring the securities offered, as to which the trustee or other person authorized to make decisions with respect to the trust, and each settlor or other person who has contributed assets to the trust, is a person described in clause (i), (ii), or (iv); or

iv. any person, acting for its own account or the accounts of other qualified purchasers, who in the aggregate owns and invests on a discretionary basis, not less than $ 25,000,000 in investments.

v. any qualified institutional buyer as defined in Rule 144A under the Securities Act, acting for its own account, the account of another qualified institutional buyer, or the account of a qualified purchaser, provided that (i) a dealer described in paragraph (a)(1)(ii) of Rule 144A shall own and invest on a discretionary basis at least $25,000,000 in securities of issuers that are not affiliated persons of the dealer; and (ii) a plan referred to in paragraph (a)(1)(D) or (a)(1)(E) of Rule 144A, or a trust fund referred to in paragraph (a)(1)(F) of Rule 144A that holds the assets of such a plan, will not be deemed to be acting for its own account if investment decisions with respect to the plan are made by the beneficiaries of the plan, except with respect to investment decisions made solely by the fiduciary, trustee or sponsor of such plan;

vi. any company that, but for the exceptions provided for in Sections 3(c)(1) or 3(c)(7) under the ICA, would be an investment company (hereafter in this paragraph referred to as an “excepted investment company”), provided that all beneficial owners of its outstanding securities (other than short-term paper), determined in accordance with Section 3(c)(1)(A) thereunder, that acquired such securities on or before April 30, 1996 (hereafter in this paragraph referred to as “pre-amendment beneficial owners”), and all pre-amendment beneficial owners of the outstanding securities (other than short-term paper) or any excepted investment company that, directly or indirectly, owns any outstanding securities of such excepted investment company, have consented to its treatment as a qualified purchaser.

vii. any natural person who is deemed to be a “knowledgeable employee” of the [fund], as such term is defined in Rule 3c-5(4) of the ICA; or

viii. any person (“Transferee”) who acquires Interests from a person (“Transferor”) that is (or was) a qualified purchaser other than the [fund], provided that the Transferee is: (i) the estate of the Transferor; (ii) a person who acquires the Interests as a gift or bequest pursuant to an agreement relating to a legal separation or divorce; or (iii) a company established by the Transferor exclusively for the benefit of (or owned exclusively by) the Transferor and the persons specified in this paragraph.

ix. any company, if each beneficial owner of the company’s securities is a qualified purchaser.
For the purpsoes of above, the term Investments means:

(1) securities (as defined by section 2(a)(1)of the Securities Act of 1933), other than securities of an issuer that controls, is controlled by, or is under common control with, the prospective qualified purchaser that owns such securities, unless the issuer of such securities is: (i) an investment vehicle; (ii) a public company; or (iii) a company with shareholders’ equity of not less than $50 million (determined in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles) as reflected on the company’s most recent financial statements, provided that such financial statements present the information as of a date within 16 months preceding the date on which the prospective qualified purchaser acquires the securities of a Section 3(c)(7) Company;

(2) real estate held for investment purposes;

(3) commodity interests held for investment purposes;

(4) physical commodities held for investment purposes;

(5) to the extent not securities, financial contracts (as such term is defined in section 3(c)(2)(B)(ii) of the ICA entered into for investment purposes;

(6) in the case of a prospective qualified purchaser that is a Section 3(c)(7) Company, a company that would be an investment company but for the exclusion provided by section 3(c)(1) of the ICA, or a commodity pool, any amounts payable to such prospective qualified purchaser pursuant to a firm agreement or similar binding commitment pursuant to which a person has agreed to acquire an interest in, or make capital contributions to, the prospective qualified purchaser upon the demand of the prospective qualified purchaser; and

(7) cash and cash equivalents (including foreign currencies) held for investment purposes. For purposes of this section, cash and cash equivalents include: (i) bank deposits, certificates of deposit, bankers acceptances and similar bank instruments held for investment purposes; and (ii) the net cash surrender value of an insurance policy.