90 Days Restriction in a Cash Account

Once a cash account is placed under a 90 Days Restriction, the account can only use settled funds to place a buy order. The following are some instances when an investor's account will be restricted:

  • When an account triggers a Good Faith Violation for the 4th time within 12 months.
  • When an investor makes day trades using unsettled funds:

Nick had a $1,000 account balance in his cash account on Monday. He then bought $1,000 worth of ABC stock and sold it on the same day. Later that same day, Nick saw the price of ABC drop and decided to buy another $1,000 worth of ABC stock using the unsettled funds he had from selling ABC stock earlier. A 90 Days Restriction occurs.

To avoid this scenario, typically sale proceed from a day trade in a cash account will only get replenished to the buying power on the next business day.

When an investor sells securities that were not fully paid for by the settlement date:

  • Jake has $1,000 in cash in his account and he decided to place a market buy order on ABC stock on Monday. The market price inadvertently went up, and the order was executed at a higher price. Jake ended up buying $1,300 worth of ABC stock that was not fully paid for.

Since the trade was made through a cash account where no margin trading is allowed, Jake has to deposit the additional $300 before selling the security. If he sells this same position without fully paying for the security, his account will face a 90 Days Restriction.

To avoid this scenario, typically when purchasing stocks using market orders, the locked buying power is slightly marked up.

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