Introduction to master accounts


Master accounts Tooltip  organize and group client accounts.

They allow you to:

  • Control access within a firm or enable access to third-party entities (e.g., money managers Tooltip , turnkey asset management providers (TAMPs) Tooltip , outsource agents Tooltip ) by segregating accounts.
  • Group accounts by specific client segments (e.g., friends and family, employee/compliance).
  • Segregate different pricing structures such as Asset-Based Pricing (ABP), Transaction-Based Pricing (TBP), Wrap and Non-Wrap. 
  • Perform consolidated functions, such as trading and downloading data.
  • Establish preferences (e.g., statement preferences, cost basis) for new accounts which help streamline the account opening process. 

​There are three types of master accounts, designed to support different sets of functions on Schwab Advisor Center®:

  • Financial advisor (FA) master Tooltip : This is the primary master account linked to client accounts that advisors use to manage their clients' accounts. It lets firms manage permissions, view and download data, and trade.
  • Sub-linked (SL) master Tooltip : This master type extends access to other branches or advisors within your firm who are not the primary advisors on the account. This is also the type of master used by TAMP firms and outsource agents, so they can download data and have view-only access to account information. In some scenarios, these masters also allow trading.
  • Block trade (BT) master Tooltip : Money managers use this master type to download information and execute block trades.

Schwab enables the money managers, TAMPs, and other providers you work with access to your clients' accounts by linking the masters that those providers have access to (usually SL or BT masters) to your clients' accounts.

When working with your clients and other entities, your firm will use FA master accounts. To determine the type of master accounts other entities will use, review the table below.


Master account used

Money manager

BT master

TAMP firm

SL master

Outsource agent

SL master


If you have questions regarding your master accounts setup or need assistance establishing or closing a master, contact your Sales Relationship Manager or Regional Sales Specialist.

Type of master account

How they're used at Schwab

FA Master

  • An FA master is the primary master linked to an account. Every Advisor Services account must be linked to the FA master that belongs to the Registered Independent Advisor that the account holder(s) have authorized to manage that client account. A client account can only be linked to one FA master account.
  • Your firm's primary master account is one specific FA master associated with your firm. This master also functions as your firm's ID at Schwab. 

SL Master

An SL master or sub-linked master must be linked with an FA and/or BT master. These are optional, and a client account can have multiple SL masters associated with it.

BT Master

A BT Master is used for managed accounts and, like FA masters, only one BT master can be associated with an account.

Advisor employee, friends, and family master

  • All personal accounts at Schwab belonging to an authorized agent of a firm or accounts where an agent holds a role, including, but not limited to a Power of Attorney or View Only role must be linked to an FA master on the Advisor Services platform.
  • Your firm may want to establish this type of master to group employee, friends, and family members' accounts as needed.

Deceased master

  • When a client passes away, all powers of attorney expire as the relationship is terminated. Advisors maintain a unique relationship with Schwab and often assist their deceased client's beneficiaries with the estate process.
  • To assist with this process, advisors may use a special master account established for view-only access, to link to the accounts of deceased former clients. A View-Only master account does not allow for trading, billing of fees, or any other activity. It is used solely as a window into the account to assist with the estate process.

Master accounts associated with products

Your firm may require specific FA, BT, or SL master accounts for certain Schwab products. These products include, but are not limited to:

  • Managed accounts (BT)
  • Institutional Investment Portfolio® (FA)
  • Schwab Bank Investor Checking™ accounts (SL) Tooltip
  • Personal Trust Reporting Services accounts (SL)
  • Schwab Personal Choice Retirement Accounts® (SL) Tooltip  
  • Outsource Agent (SL)

Note: To establish new or additional masters, contact your Sales Relationship Manager or Regional Sales Specialist.

How do I establish a master account?
Contact your Sales Relationship Manager or Regional Sales Specialist.

Can you have more than one link on a master account?
Yes. Typically, additional links include view-only, download, and trading SL master accounts. Note: An account cannot be linked to two FA master accounts.

How to request account data download access for service providers
How to set up a managed account master
Introduction to the Schwab Data Sharing Relationship Attestation Tool
Introduction to turnkey asset management providers through Schwab