Guide to Starting an Investment Club

By Anna Davies · January 30, 2023 · 9 minute read

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Guide to Starting an Investment Club

An investment club is a group of individuals who discuss the financial markets and make investments. They typically meet regularly to discuss and decide on investment strategies and opportunities. People start and join investment clubs to learn about investing and potentially achieve higher returns than they would by investing on their own.

Maybe you and your coworkers spend breaks discussing the market, or you’re constantly texting friends about financial moves. Or perhaps you want to raise capital for specific stock. Whatever the reason, you may be thinking about starting an investment club to learn more about the financial markets, socialize, and potentially make a profit. Below we lay out some of the steps to start an investment club.

What Is an Investment Club?

An investment club is a novel way for people to come together and help one another reach their shared financial investment goals by discussing them and working together to make them come to fruition. Talking through what-ifs, gathering advice, and learning from other people can be one way to broaden an investor’s knowledge base and alert them to popular investment trends, like investing in cryptocurrency or impact investing.

Typically, an investment club can take on one of two forms, depending on the interest and goals of club members. Some investment clubs pool their money, and the group invests as one unit. Other investment clubs, sometimes called self-directed investment clubs, meet to discuss strategy or invite speakers to share on various topics, but each investment club member makes stock investments independently.

For investors who decide to pool resources and invest as a group, it’s important to understand any regulations and guidelines. Depending on the structure of the investment club, it may be necessary to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as an investment company. Additionally, setting up the investment club as a legal partnership or limited liability company may be necessary.

How Many Members are Usually in an Investment Club?

The number of members in an investment club can vary, but they typically have between 10 and 20 members. Some clubs may have more or fewer members depending on their specific goals and the amount of capital they have to invest.

The size of the club can also be influenced by regulatory restrictions and compliance requirements, as well as the availability of potential members and the size of their financial resources.

How to Start an Investment Club: 4 Steps

The following are some of the initial steps you should take if you’re interested in starting an investment club:

Step 1: Decide On The “Why”

The first step in starting an investment club is figuring out the purpose of the club. Understanding and agreeing on the motivation behind the investment club can help like-minded members craft a mission statement and bylaws.

There are many reasons for starting an investment club. Some people want to invest with friends to pool resources and enjoy the camaraderie that comes with a mutual goal. Others want to explore specific areas, such as impact investing, or invest in alternative investments, such as startups or mineral rights. There are several reasons to start an investment club.

A frank discussion can help narrow focus and weed out members who might be happier in a club with different goals. These discussions can also be a good time to discuss the financial commitment of the investing club. Some clubs may have annual membership fees for club expenses such as speakers, meeting space, and supplies and a monthly expected contribution to earmark for investing.

Step 2: Observe Existing Investment Clubs in Action

Once you’ve decided on the “why” of your club, seeing a few investment clubs in action can be helpful. Browsing stock market forums or performing an online search may help you find clubs in your area. There also may be “model clubs” that are open for observation.

Pay attention to how these club meetings are run, including the format and structure. For example, you may notice whether clubs have guest lecturers or if they operate casually or formally. This will give you and your club members a sense of how you’d like your meetings to go.

Step 3: Kick Things Off with Informative Sessions

Before getting deep into group investing, it may be helpful to have several investment club meetings without pooling funds. These club meetings can include a speaker’s series or an open forum opportunity to discuss approaches to the market, and can be a good way to assess whether or not taking the next step and forming an investment club makes sense.

Step 4: Create a Legal Framework

Many investing clubs operate as a business entity, either as a Limited Liability Company (LLC) or Limited Liability Partnership (LLP). It can be helpful to create a legal framework for your investment club that clarifies and addresses specific financial questions, including:

•   Will returns be reinvested or distributed to members?

•   What happens if someone decides to leave the club?

•   How will investment decisions be made?

The answer to this last question may also change whether your investment club must register with the SEC. For example, if you have one club member making investing decisions, or one member providing investment advice to the rest of the club, that person may need to register as a financial advisor with the SEC. There may also be state-specific securities requirements that a club may need to comply with.

You should also ensure you clearly understand the tax implications of investments and profits.

Creating membership bylaws, even if your club is an informal group of friends and acquaintances, can help ensure everyone is on the same page and there is a clear understanding of the investment club’s finances, commitments, and purpose.

Do Investment Clubs Pay Taxes?

Investment clubs or their members have to pay taxes on any income they earn from investments. The specific tax rules that apply to an investment club will depend on how the club is organized.

If an investment club is organized as a partnership, the club itself does not pay taxes on its income. Instead, the income is passed through to the individual members, who must report their share of the club’s income on their personal tax returns. If the investment club is organized as an LLC, the club will be taxed as a corporation.

In any case, investment clubs must file an annual tax return, and members must report their share of the club’s income on their individual tax returns. They must also report any capital gains or losses from the sale of investments on their tax returns.

Pros and Cons of Starting an Investment Club

Pros

Cons

Pooled resources increases investment capital Potential for fraud
Provides a learning opportunity Conflicts with other members
Can be a fun social activity Complex tax situation

Pros of Investment Clubs

Investment clubs have many advantages, especially when compared to an individual investing alone without outside help. The following are some of the benefits of an investment club:

•   Pooled resources: Investment clubs allow members to pool their resources together, giving them access to a larger pool of capital to invest with. This can increase the potential for higher stock market returns and diversification of investments.

•   Learning opportunity: Investment clubs provide an excellent opportunity for members to learn about different investment strategies and opportunities. Members can learn from each other’s experiences and expertise and discuss different investment options and ideas.

•   Social interaction: Investment clubs can also provide a social element, as members meet regularly and discuss investments and strategies. This can be a fun and engaging way to learn about investing.

Cons of Investment Clubs

Investment clubs also have risks, including the following drawbacks:

•   Risk of fraud: Investment clubs are generally not regulated by the SEC, and members should be aware that there is a risk of fraud or mismanagement of funds. Before investing, members must perform due diligence and research the background of the club’s organizer and members.

•   Potential for conflicts: Investment clubs can also be prone to disputes among members, particularly when making investment decisions or dividing profits if club rules are not formally adopted.

•   Complex tax situation: Investment clubs can have a complicated tax situation, and members may be responsible for reporting their share of the club’s income on their individual tax returns. This can be confusing and time-consuming, and members should consult with a tax professional to understand the tax implications of being a member of an investment club.

Investment Club Alternatives

There are several alternatives to an investment club for individuals who want to invest and learn about investing. Some of them are:

•   Individual investing: Investing on your own through a brokerage account is always an alternative to pooling resources in an investment club. Investing on your own allows you to purchase individual stocks, bonds, or mutual funds without compromising with members you disagree with.

•   Robo-advisors: Robo-advisors are digital platforms that provide automated investment advice and management. They can be a good option for individuals who want to invest on their own but want the help of technology to make investment decisions.

•   Financial Advisor: Hiring a professional investment manager or financial advisor to manage your investments.

The Takeaway

Starting an investment club has the potential to be rewarding in many ways. For instance, developing and discovering investing strategies with peers can be beneficial and enjoyable. In some cases, pooling resources to invest together can bring members closer to their individual financial goals.

There are other options for investors who don’t have the bandwidth to start up a self-directed investment club. Talking stock tips at the water cooler is one classic strategy, but another option is to join platforms that allow you to “watch” your peers’ investment moves in real-time.

For example, an online brokerage account with SoFi Invest® allows you to follow people’s investment moves. This feature hides actual dollar amounts, but allows you to view watchlists of other participants, view people’s SoFi Invest activity, and see your own investments play out on a dynamic leaderboard. This can be a way to actively participate in the market together while keeping your finances separate.

Take a step toward reaching your financial goals with SoFi Invest.

FAQ

Do investment clubs make money?

Investment clubs can make money if the investments they make are profitable. However, like any other investment, they can also lose money if the investments do not perform well. It’s important to do research and perform due diligence before investing in an investment club, as there are no guarantees of profitability.

Do investment clubs pay tax?

Investment clubs are generally required to pay taxes on their income. The exact type and amount of taxes owed will depend on the type of investment club and the income it generates. Generally, investment clubs are treated as partnerships or corporations for tax purposes and must pay taxes on their income.

How do I start an investment club for fun and profit?

To start an investment club, you’ll need to recruit a group of like-minded individuals interested in investing and pooling their resources together. You’ll also need to decide on a legal structure for the club, such as a partnership or limited liability company, and establish rules and guidelines for making investment decisions and managing the club’s finances. Additionally, you should research and consult a financial professional and attorney to ensure you follow all the legal and regulatory requirements.


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