What Is a Limited Discretionary Account?

What Is a Limited Discretionary Account?

A limited discretionary account enables a broker to execute specific trades on behalf of a client. It is essential for the broker's discretion to be clearly outlined in the account agreement, and it should not include any trades that were not previously agreed upon in the contract. A limited discretionary account combines features of both discretionary and non-discretionary accounts, offering certain advantages of each.


A distinctive investment approach, the limited discretionary account empowers brokers to execute security transactions on behalf of clients. Positioned as an intermediary solution between full discretionary and non-discretionary accounts, this account type offers a balanced degree of control and autonomy.

Brokers with limited discretionary accounts have the power to carry out certain trades without needing permission from the client. To establish this arrangement, investors are required to formalize their consent through a contractual agreement delineating the scope of permissible transactions. This agreement-driven framework operates under the premise that unless explicitly outlined otherwise, the account assumes a non-discretionary status.

Limited Discretionary Accounts Explained

Termed "controlled accounts," limited discretionary accounts epitomize a unique facet where trading decisions transpire under external guidance. This category is synonymous with managed accounts, wherein an individual investor retains ownership while a seasoned financial expert oversees operations. Unlike collective mutual funds that cater to a variety of stakeholders, managed accounts are personalized investment portfolios that are tailored to meet the specific needs of the account holder. These portfolios are aligned with their unique requirements in a detailed manner.

For instance, within limited discretionary accounts, investors might authorize brokers to tactically rebalance the account, aligning stocks, bonds, or alternative assets as per predefined proportions. Notably, these permissions exclude engagement in other transaction genres on the account holder's behalf.

Limited-Discretionary vs. Non-Discretionary Accounts

Distinguishing between limited discretionary and non-discretionary account structures unveils unique dynamics that shape client-broker collaborations. A little discretionary setup empowers brokers or advisors to execute specific trades on behalf of clients, with the arrangement codifying client-imposed constraints. Trust becomes paramount in this arrangement due to its inherent risk, as the broker's decisions must harmonize with client-stated investment objectives.

In contrast, a non-discretionary account entails brokers executing desired transactions at optimal market prices. Here, the broker-client interplay manifests as a realm of recommendations where brokers propose trades based on their evaluation. However, the pivotal distinction lies in the requirement for broker solicitation before securities can be traded, safeguarding customer consent.

Advantages of Limited Discretionary vs. Non-Discretionary Accounts

Opting for a limited discretionary account finds favor among investors grappling with time constraints amid the market's constant flux. Such an arrangement offers an avenue for involvement sans extensive temporal commitment, leveraging the broker's expertise to its fullest extent.

In contrast, non-discretionary accounts resonate with investors seeking an active role in management, wary of complete reliance on brokers. This cohort values professional insights yet remains deeply engaged in decision-making processes. The non-discretionary account suits hands-on investors, harmonizing a collaborative approach with their investment aspirations.


Limited discretionary accounts balance autonomy and guidance by enabling brokers to trade within set limits. Merging aspects from discretionary and non-discretionary accounts, they flexibly align investments with individual goals. This approach aims to meet the needs of different investors by combining broker knowledge for strategic trades while taking into account personal risk tolerance. Limited discretionary accounts remain a dynamic solution amid market complexities, showcasing adaptable investment strategies.

Limited Discretionary Account