How to Transfer a Brokerage Account

Read our Advertiser Disclosure.
Contributor, Benzinga
August 18, 2023

In an ideal world, everyone would choose the perfect investing or retirement account for themselves on their first attempt — and wouldn't need to look up brokerage account transfers. That isn’t always the reality of the situation, especially if you’re fed up with your brokerage’s high fees, unresponsive customer service or broken platform.

Online brokerage accounts have made it easier than ever before to transfer your assets to a new firm. Read on to learn the steps you’ll need to take for account transfers from broker to broker.

5 Steps to Transfer Your Brokerage Account

Follow these steps to move your funds from one brokerage account to another.

Step 1: Understand the Fees

Most brokers will charge you a few fees when you jump ship — the most common of which are account transfer fees to complete your transaction and closure fees to finalize the removal of your investment account from their platform.

These fees vary significantly depending on the broker, but you can typically expect to be billed anywhere from $25 to $100 when transferring your assets. Some fees from some of the biggest brokers are listed in the table below.

The idea of blowing $100 to close your investment account got you down? Don’t fret yet — many brokers also offer reimbursement offers for new customers. Because they want your business, it’s common to have your new broker offer to cover the transfer and closing costs from your old firm. Remember to ask if your new broker is offering any specials — nine times out of 10, you can avoid paying any fees at all.

Step 2: Complete a Transfer Initiation Form (TIF)

The next step in the process of closing your account is to complete a transfer initiation form (TIF). Your TIF will come from your new firm (called the “receiving firm”) and your new broker can guide you in the process.

The specific information required by your TIF will depend upon the receiving firm’s standards but generally includes:

  • Your name
  • Address
  • Social Security Number
  • Details of all the assets you need to transfer

Double-check your information, as most brokerage firms will reject a transfer request that has incorrect personal or account information. Your new brokerage firm will then use your TIF to communicate with your old firm and begin the transfer.

Step 3: Validate your Request if Necessary

Some brokers will require you to validate your transfer before they begin the process of moving your assets. This is typically done to ensure that the correct assets are transferred (in the event of a partial transfer) and to prevent fraud.

Your current brokerage may contact you to confirm that you do want to transfer your assets. Be sure to validate your transfer in a timely manner to ensure that your assets are moved as quickly as possible.

Step 4: Wait Patiently

After you’ve validated your transfer request, your delivering firm and your receiving firm will work together to move your assets. All you have to do at this point is play the waiting game.

Although the asset transfer process is largely done online, you can still expect your assets to take about a week to appear in your new account. Transfers from entities that aren’t brokers (like credit unions or banks) can take more time to transfer and may be subject to additional fees. Your receiving firm can keep you updated on where your assets are — don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Step 5: Ensure Your Assets Have Made it to Your New Account

After your transfer is complete, make sure that all your assets have made it to your new account. Keep a copy of your TIF and cross-check it with your new account.

If everything has made it, your process is complete. If not, contact your new broker immediately — there may be a delay in your transfer or an error on your TIF.

Compare Brokerage Accounts

Not sure where you want to transfer your account to? Browse some options that we recommend.

Before Your Transfer Your Brokerage Account

Keep these items in mind throughout the transfer process.

1. You Will Lose Access to Your Assets While the Transfer is Taking Place

While your transfer is taking place, you will most likely lose control of your assets. Many brokers freeze your assets during a transfer, meaning that you cannot buy, sell or trade any of your assets until the transfer is complete.

This typically isn’t an issue, as transfers don’t usually take much longer than a week, but it’s something to remain aware of.

2. Your New Broker Can Probably Handle the Transfer for You

If you are transferring an entire account between two brokers, your new broker may be able to streamline the process for you by asking you to sign an authorization form granting them temporary control over your assets.

Though this option is usually limited to the transfer of cash, bonds and stocks of domestic corporations, it can expedite the transfer process and take some of the stress off your shoulders. Ask your receiving broker if this is a possibility for your asset mix.

3. Transferring a Joint Account Requires Extra Steps

Keep in mind that the steps listed above apply to assets that you solely own. Joint accounts will need verification from both parties to be transferred and may take additional time to complete.

Maximizing Control

Transferring your assets can be a pain — sometimes, it can feel like it’s easier to just stick with your current broker rather than go through the hassle of switching to a new account. However, the time you spend will hopefully pay off in the long run.

A broker that works with your lifestyle needs will give you more control over your financial well-being. This is why it’s important to read up on all your brokerage options before you make a commitment—a little planning now can save you a ton of headaches in the future.

Frequently Asked Questions


Is transferring a brokerage account taxable?


Generally, there is no taxation on a transferred brokerage account, but brokers may charge fees to close or open an account — or for the transfer itself.


How long does it take to transfer brokerage accounts?


Typically, it takes around six business days to transfer a brokerage account. Reach out to your broker for a more definitive timetable.


What are good reasons to transfer your brokerage account?


There are several reasons to transfer your brokerage account, including dissatisfaction with current services or fees, changes in financial circumstances, the desire to consolidate accounts or the need for personalized support from a local firm.