How to Transfer a Brokerage Account

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The current landscape when it comes to online brokers is becoming increasingly more competitive. What this means for you is more and more better deals with the lowest fees, spreads, and other trading costs as the top brokers battle it out for your business.

In short then, you may find yourself eyeing up a better deal or trading conditions at another broker and want to make a change. This transfer does not have to be as daunting as it may seem.

Here we will run you through exactly what you need to do in order to transfer your brokerage account, but avoiding the inconvenience or costs associated with selling any of your current holdings.

Find a suitable broker for your transfer

Finding a new broker to transfer your holdings to is the first task you are faced with. No matter the reason you have decided to transfer your brokerage account, there are still a few key points you will want to look out for with any new broker you transfer into.

Any spreads that are charged by the broker should be as low as possible. Nowadays, many of the top brokers offer spreads that start from 0 pips. The same is true of commission. While most of the best brokers are now commission-free, you will want to double check this, and ensure that any commission that is in place remains competitive.

When it comes to fees and other trading conditions, you will also want to make sure the broker you are moving to can improve on your current situation, and of course choosing a very well-regulated broker who is transparent and trustworthy is the starting point for any potential transfer.

You can find many of the best brokers who can match all of the above criteria and more by having a look at our online broker directory. Here you should find an ideal broker to transfer to no matter your trading needs or style. Then you can get started with your in-kind transfer.

What exactly is an in-kind transfer?

If you want to transfer your brokerage without selling any of your assets, then the best thing to look for is an in-kind transfer. This will allow you to move everything you hold pretty much as is from your current broker to a new broker.

In-kind transfers are widely accepted by the majority of all the top brokers, and they allow you to directly transfer holdings of stock, bonds, ETFs, options, and more, depending on which assets are offered by your new broker. This eliminates any costs associated with sale, and also can help save you from any tax liabilities connected with selling your assets.

While most assets can be directly transferred, it is always best to double check with the new broker if any of your assets are not supported. Any which are unsupported would have to be sold, and you should try to do so before you start the transfer process.

The brokerage transfer process

The transfer process is one which is actually very simple, but you should still be prepared to follow a few precise steps to set yourself up for success. These will ensure that your transfer goes through without any problem.

Obtain an account statement: This is the first step in making your transfer. You must obtain a full statement of your account and all of your holdings with the broker you are planning on leaving. It will be essential in making sure all of your assets are properly transferred. You can typically obtain this online in a few moments through your broker account.

Open your new account: Presuming you have found the perfect top broker who you want to trade with next, then you will need to open a brokerage account with them. As with most trading processes these days, it is becoming easier and easier to open a trading account. Simply choose the account type you want, and complete the broker verification process. This will need you to have a proof of you ID, and residence to hand. These are typically your passport, and a recent utility bill or bank statement dated within the last three months.

It is important that these documents are in the exact same name and address as your current broker account if you want things to transfer through smoothly. Again, everything can be done online by simply uploading the documents and you will be good to go.

Start the transfer process: Once your new account is open, you can typically file a transfer initiation form with your new broker. This will then mean they will work with your old broker to transfer over all of the assets you held there. The new broker will walk you through the entire process but it is usually as simple as filing the form, verifying your identity, and waiting for the process to be complete.

Much of the transfer process can be done through automated processing which will let you know if the transfer in kind is possible, or which assets it is possible on.

Complete the transfer and trade: All that is really left to do is wait until the transfer is completed. Depending on the holdings in your portfolio and the broker you choose, this can be complete in 5-7 days typically. Once the transfer is through, you can start to trade again with your new broker and all of the same assets you previously held.

Final thoughts

Overall, the process of a brokerage transfer may seem like a difficult challenge at the beginning. The reality is though, that many traders often take advantage of improving offers from the best brokers in the industry, and move their holdings. The transfer process is one which all brokers are very familiar with, and professional in conducting. 
Follow these simple steps, along with choosing a top broker from our directory, and you will experience just how hassle-free it can be to transfer your brokerage through taking advantage of an in-kind transfer.

About the author

Kate Leaman

Kate Leaman

Kate Leaman is the Chief Analyst and author at InvestorGreg. She won the Sky News Fiona McDiarmad award and subsequently became a journalist for Sky News. Read more

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