FIIG has recently updated its requirements to certify as a wholesale professional investor. This note provides guidelines to help you work out which category you fit into
This note was originally published on 7 October 2014 with several subsequent versions published.
It’s worth reviewing whether you can qualify as a wholesale client, which would allow you to tap into a range of benefits that are not available to retail clients. As a wholesale client, you can access a greater range of bonds including foreign currency bonds and DirectBonds, credit ratings and comprehensive wholesale research.
Essentially, everyone is a retail client unless they satisfy one of the requirements to be classified as a wholesale client under section 708(8) or (11), section 761G(5), (6), (6A) or (7) or section 761GA of the Corporations Act 2001.
Wholesale clients comprise sophisticated investors and professional investors under the Corporations Act 2001. See the difference between the two in the table below.
To become a sophisticated or professional investor, or otherwise a wholesale client of FIIG, you need to complete the relevant form, Become a Wholesale Client Accountant Certificate.
Previously professional investors required a suitably qualified accountant to complete and sign the certificate.
FIIG has recently updated its requirements to certify as a wholesale client and removed the qualified accountant requirement for investors looking to qualify as professional investors. Qualification is now based on being a person or entity who controls gross assets of at least $10 million (including any amount held by an associate or under a trust that the person manages).
Now, the FIIG client, its controlling persons or its suitably qualified accountant may complete the Professional Investor Certificate – see page 4 of the form above. This means the certificate can be completed by the investment entity, which could be yourself, if you meet the $10 million gross asset requirement to be a professional investor under the sections of the Corporations Act 2001 listed above.
Should you become a wholesale client?
There are three main benefits of becoming wholesale certified:
- We can show you credit ratings. This is an important distinction – one that is enforced by ASIC and which FIIG as a fixed income broker must comply with.
- You can access the entire universe of bonds. Information memorandums that set out the terms and conditions of a particular bond often stipulate that the bond can only be made available to wholesale clients. While this doesn’t apply to all bonds, many are affected. In other instances, we may limit availability of bonds to retail clients for a range of reasons.
- Access at initial issue to FIIG originated high yield bonds. These bonds are only available to wholesale investors for the first year.
Sophisticated investor versus professional investor
On 8 August 2014, ASIC withdrew QFS 150 which means SMSFs can now be classified as wholesale if they meet the sophisticated investor test as set out in the table above – see page 3 of the form above.
It’s important to ascertain if you can qualify as a wholesale client and if so, to let us know so we can ensure you receive proper disclosure of credit ratings of products and issuers. If you’re unsure, please speak to your local relationship manager.
The certificate to complete and other important forms and information are available here.