If I am American, can I buy a foreign mutual fund?

That depends. It is possible for you to buy a mutual fund issued in a country other than the United States; however, the mutual fund still needs to be registered with the SEC. This is the reason why many investors are turned away by foreign mutual funds. Typically, the foreign fund companies will choose not to market to the U.S. because they are able to sell enough of their mutual fund within domestic markets.

However, there is one exception to this registration requirement. If the mutual fund you are trying to purchase is privately issued to less than 100 people in the U.S. or is only issued to sophisticated investors who are considered qualified or accredited investors, then the registration requirement is waived.

It is also important to note that this mandatory registration extends to brokerage firms. If a foreign firm does not wish to register as a broker with the SEC, then that firm cannot legally do business with U.S. residents or U.S. residents living abroad. Once again, brokerages may decide not to register simply for business reasons, as marketing to U.S. clients may not be lucrative enough for the foreign firm to register with the SEC.

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