How to open a personal brokerage account

How to open a personal brokerage account

Personal brokerage accounts at Schwab are single investment accounts that offer you and your clients easy access to a wide range of investments and built-in cash-management features.

You can open an individual Tooltip , joint Tooltip , custodial, guardianship Tooltip , or conservatorship Tooltip personal brokerage account online using DocuSign® and paper forms. You can also open individual, joint, and custodial personal brokerage accounts using digital onboarding.

Note: If opening a tenants in common account for revocable trusts, see How to open a trust account for requirements. Contact your service team to obtain a reference number and the Supplemental Account Application for Trusts as Tenants in Common form.

To open a personal brokerage account, you will need the following:

All accounts
  • A completed Account Application (Schwab One Personal Accounts)
  • If opening a joint account and at least one tenant resides in a foreign jurisdiction, use the Schwab One International Account Application. See How to open an international individual or joint brokerage account for additional requirements.
    • The application instructions
    • Your firm name and master account number
    • The account holder's, custodian's, guardian's, and conservator's name, home address, identification number Tooltip , birth date, telephone numbers, citizenship status, employment status, employer, occupation, business address, and business phone number
    • Source of funds in account, purpose of account, and the anticipated checking activity (if the Schwab One® checking feature is elected by the client)
    • Adobe® Reader® or Adobe Acrobat® 7.0 or higher (download the latest version on the Adobe website)
    • If the account holder, custodian, guardian, or conservator is affiliated with a
      member firm of an exchange or FINRA and Rule 3210 applies, a FINRA Rule 3210 Consent Letter
Guardianship accountsSee How to open a Conservatorship or Guardianship account.
Conservatorship accountsSee How to open a Conservatorship or Guardianship account.
Additional features
  • If establishing an ACH (Schwab MoneyLink®)profile:
    • A completed ACH (MoneyLink®) Form For Non-Retirement Accounts
    • A valid document from the other financial institution containing the client's account title, account number, account type, and ABA number (e.g., check, deposit slip, statement, or letter on bank letterhead signed by an officer)
  • If adding a power of attorney to the account, a completed Power of Attorney (Individual POA) form
  • If adding options, a completed Options Trading and Margin Application
Account opening method
  • Schwab recommends using digital onboarding for the fastest, most secure experience for you and your clients.
  • If using DocuSign to submit forms:
    • For existing Schwab clients, a complete Schwab Advisor Center® profile with the account holder's current email address and mobile phone number
    • For new-to-Schwab clients, the email address and a mobile phone number
    • All clients must use either Alliance Authentication (only available when starting the envelope within Schwab Advisor Center), or, both text message (SMS) authentication and Knowledge Based Authentication (KBA) for DocuSign (available in both Schwab Advisor Center and the DocuSign Console)

To get started, go to Account Management digital workflows

For details on this process, see How to use digital onboarding.

Digital onboarding supports the following Schwab One personal brokerage accounts:

  • Individual
  • Joint
  • Tenants in Common
  • Community Property
  • Custodial

Digital onboarding also supports new account funding and set up in a single digital workflow for you and your clients, including:

  • Add beneficiary to a Schwab One account (designated brokerage account registration)
  • ACAT asset transfer (TOA)
  • Link external bank account (ACH)
  • Check requests SLOA
  • Internal cash transfers (journals) SLOA

As Schwab transitions from digital account open (single account open with no funding or account set up) to digital onboarding, you may need to access digital envelopes in two places:

Legacy digital account open envelopes
  1. Go to Account Management on Schwab Advisor Center.
  2. Click Manage Schwab envelopes.
  3. At the top of the page, click Schwab Envelopes for Additional Workflows.
  4. Edit, send, or submit existing draft envelopes.
    • Completed envelopes will continue to be accessible and will expire after 180 days.

Note: For new envelopes, follow the digital onboarding workflow.

New digital onboarding envelopes
  1. Go to Account Management on Schwab Advisor Center.
  2. Click Open and fund an account.
  3. Click Open and fund an account again.
  4. Follow the workflow steps.
  5. View in progress or completed envelopes via Manage Schwab envelopes.
  6. Review and take action on all digital onboarding envelopes (draft, waiting for client approval, action needed, completed).

For details, see How to manage envelopes.

To complete using DocuSign, see How to use DocuSign®.

Select the Open Account - Schwab One Personal Account when completing the workflow.

This process may be used to open a personal brokerage account using paper forms.

  1. Select the Open Account – Schwab One Personal Account form on Schwab Advisor Center. Expand the list, click Select for all and then select Open PDF.
  2. Complete all necessary fields, and ensure all additional features the client requested have been added.
  3. Print the form(s) and obtain signatures from all account holders and agents (i.e., all conservators, guardians, and executors). Send the signed form(s) to your Schwab service team via a Schwab Advisor Center service request. If applicable, mail the original documents to your Schwab service team.

Once you have submitted your request:

  • If the forms were submitted using digital onboarding, see How to use digital onboarding for details.
    • If the forms were submitted using DocuSign, see the What's next? section of How to use DocuSign for details.
  • If applicable, the Letters of Conservatorship or the Letters of Guardianship will be reviewed for restrictive language or expiration dates that may delay processing the account open request.
  • If you have questions about opening individual, joint, or custodial accounts, call your Schwab service team.

To select a form, go to the Forms library on Schwab Advisor Center.

Form: Account Application (Schwab One Personal Accounts)

Form: Power of Attorney (Individual POA)

Form: Schwab One Account Application for Incorporated Organizations

Form: Schwab One Account Application for Non-Incorporated Organizations


Can my client's spouse access my client's individual account online?
No. A spouse can access an account online only if they have View Only access or power of attorney over the account. For requirements to grant View Only access, see How to grant View Only access to Schwab accounts. To grant power of attorney authority, all account holders and the agent must sign a Power of Attorney form (one form per account).

If a client would like online access for their spouse on a Schwab Bank Investor CheckingTM account, then the Schwab Bank: Investor Checking Power of Attorney (POA) form must also be completed.

If multiple signers are assigned to a form, in which order do the signers receive and sign the form(s)? 
The order in which the signers are notified that a document is pending signature depends on the order in which you listed the signers on the envelope creation page. Signers will receive an email notification in sequential order after each signer has completed their signing.

If signers have the same email address, make your client aware of who should sign first, as signers won't be able to sign in the wrong order. The first signer must sign before the second can access and sign the envelope.

For incorporated or non-incorporated entities of organization accounts, the order of signers matters.

If my client makes changes to a form when using DocuSign, will I be notified of the changes?
No. Once all signers have completed eSigning, you will not be able to edit any of the information. However, if you have elected to review the forms prior to submitting to Schwab, you will have an opportunity to review the forms.

If I submitted a Power of Attorney form to open a client's Schwab One® account, do I need to submit a separate form to add the same power of attorney to the Schwab Bank Investor Checking account linked to the client's Schwab One account?
No. If the Power of Attorney form is submitted to Schwab, the additional Schwab Bank Investor Checking Power of Attorney form is not required.

How to add features to an account
How to establish an ACH (Schwab MoneyLink®) profile
How to open a trust account
How to open an organization brokerage account
How to use digital onboarding
How to use DocuSign®
Introduction to custodial accounts
Introduction to householding
Introduction to submitting client documents