Why Advisors and BrokerDealers Should Know Crowdfunding

BrokerDealer.com blog update courtesy of excerpt from InvestmentNews.com

The moment many advisers hear the term “crowdfunding,” they tune out. Crowdfunding is for the unwashed masses, for Kickstarter fans, for small-time investing neophytes. It’s not a place for real investing.

Well, advisers can continue to believe that, but that doesn’t mean their clients will. Especially given changes on tap for 2016 that will shower more investors with opportunities to “get in on the ground floor of the next big thing.”

The odds of your clients being drawn to new ventures rose markedly on Oct. 30, when the Securities and Exchange Commission passed Title III, part of the 2012 JOBS Act, which allows non-accredited investors to get into private equity through crowdfunding platforms.

Jeff Benjamin’s column quoted a securities lawyer, Doug Ellenoff, calling this move “the publicification of the private investment market.” And Mr. Benjamin cautioned InvestmentNews readers about the coming “aggressive push into the retail space” early next year, when these sites can begin taking non-accredited money.


Luckily for advisers, who hold tight to client assets and manage portfolios holistically, the buy-in for these offers will be limited. The deals themselves will not be able to raise more than $1 million in a 12-month period, and individuals will be able to contribute only between 5% and 10% of their yearly income.

But any chunk broken out of a financial plan to wager on these offers deserves attention. That’s not to say none of these ventures will be worth considering. And likely, if a client wants to support a community project, for example, there may be factors to weigh in addition to possible returns.

But in this new environment, advisers need to tell clients: “Bring anything that comes your way to us first.” Deals will sound too good to be true because that’s how marketing works. That’s fine when it comes to toothpaste or hamburgers, but decisions to spend even a few grand in retirement savings on crowdfunding offers would benefit from professional scrutiny.

And advisers will need to stay current during the evolution of this new retail-level private equity market and its investment structure…

For the full article, please click here