I know that in most countries/markets alternative investments can be marketed and distributed to retail investors... but only through pooled investment vehicles, i.e. funds.

My question is then, where is it possible for retail investors to place money and trade on single-asset alternatives? In which country/market and under what conditions?

After all, anyone can invest in a venture capital fund... you just need lots of money... and anyone can buy a house, you just need a lot of money...

But to buy commodities and derivatives, you are obliged to go through an intermediary... but intermediaries are usually forbidden to market and distribute such instruments to retail investors... right?

  • 4
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it belongs on money.stackexchange.com Commented Oct 13, 2018 at 13:42
  • 1
    This question is not about money, money mgmt or finance. It’s about securities law and regulations applied to investment product. My question is where the LAW allows retail investors to invest in single-asset alternatives
    – moumous87
    Commented Oct 13, 2018 at 13:50
  • @moumous87: You question is indeed about the law, but it is a better fit on the money.stackexchange.com. Despite the name, that stack exchange is based around personal finance, including investing, and would more probably have better answers regarding personal investment regulations. Likewise, a question about airplane regulations would be nominally in scope of the law site, but it would get better answers from the aviation.stackexchange.com site, because, while not necessarily more legally minded, the people there are more likely to deal with such laws directly.
    – sharur
    Commented Oct 18, 2018 at 19:57

1 Answer 1


At least under U.S. securities laws, the assumption of the post, that there is a distinction in the law between a single asset security and a diversified multi-asset security is incorrect. The law makes no such distinction.

Instead, the law distinguishes between investments of all kinds which are offered to the general public (publicly held companies and publicly traded investments), and "private offerings", which are (roughly speaking) investments offered only to either employee-investors, or accredited investors pursuant to an exemption from the general rule that all offers are public offerings.

An accredited investor (roughly speaking) is someone with $1 million or more in assets other than a home or retirement accounts, or with income above a certain threshold ($200,000 for the last two years for individuals or $300,000 for the last two years for married couples), or an institutional investor such as an insurance company or bank.

It doesn't matter if it is shares in a single company, bonds in a single company, a single derivative contract, or a fund with a mix of assets.

The presence of an intermediary is not required in any of these cases, although securities listed on a public stock exchange are always publicly held.

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