Customer Account Opening

If you are a fully-disclosed broker-dealer, an RIA, or a trading app setup, you can open your end customer’s account using Account API. The POST method allows you to submit all KYC information to Alpaca. There are slight differences between setups. #

Trading/Investing App and RIA

In this use case, Alpaca is responsible for the account approval step, while you can own the user experiences for collecting the end-customer information. We require you to collect a set of the information required for our approval process.

Upon the POST request, the account status starts from SUBMITTED status. Alpaca system will run the automatic KYC process asynchronously and update the KYC result as the account status. You can receive such updates in the Event API stream.

If all KYC information is verified without problems, the account status will be APPROVED and shortly transition to ACTIVE. In some cases, if the final approval is pending, the account status becomes APPROVAL_PENDING which will transition to APPROVED once it is approved. In the case of some action is required, the status becomes ACTION_REQUIRED and you will receive the reason for this. In most cases, you will need to collect additional information from the end user. One example would be that the residential address is not verified, so a copy of a document such as a utility bill needs to be uploaded. You can use Document API to upload additional documents when requested.

Fully-Disclosed Broker-Dealer

As a reminder, in this setup, you are required to have a proper broker-dealer license in your local jurisdiction and you are the broker on the record. Alpaca relies on your KYC process to open customers' accounts which you will send via the CIP API.

In this case, as soon as a POST request is made and all fields are validated, we will first screen the account against our internal list of blacklisted accounts and an exact, or similar, match against this list will result in the account moving to either REJECTED or APPROVAL_PENDING. If there is no match then the account status starts from APPROVED status, meaning you have approved the account opening. Therefore, you need to complete your KYC for the account before making the POST request.

Omnibus Broker-Dealer

In an omnibus setup, you will not request any new account opening. Your trading accounts will be set up by Alpaca when the go-live is approved. That said, you may want to simulate this structure using Account API and you can open as many accounts as you want in the sandbox environment even if you are an omnibus.

Account Type

Alpaca currently opens all accounts as margin accounts. We support individual taxable accounts and business accounts. Other types of accounts such as cash and IRA accounts are on our roadmap.

Even though all accounts at Alpaca are margin accounts, you have the ability to set accounts to be cash accounts (100% buying power) to disable margin trading for your users through account configurations here.