Friday’s Files: Account Transfers and Closings

Ben Dell’Orto, Spring 2018 IAC Student Intern

Breaking up is hard to do.

Luckily, if you like your broker, even if he or she transfers firms, you can likely stay on as a client. While this isn’t always the best idea—and there are a few questions to ask to find out if it is—if you are happy your broker, it might be worth it to move to a new firm. As the customer, you will start the process with a Transfer Instruction Form. You’ll want to keep a copy of this completed form, since, as the SEC notes, “most account transfer delays occur because the TIF is either incorrect or incomplete.”

If there are any delays, this copy will allow you to have the information on hand for a quick resolution with either your old or new firm. You will also want to keep track of this form, since the date might be important in tracking the history of your account should you ever have to make a claim. You’ll also receive a new customer agreement or set of terms for the new firm. Since these terms will be different in some ways from the old firm, you’ll want to take a look and save a copy since these terms will dictate how your account is governed.

However, whether its based on your broker’s transfer or another cause, there might come a day you have to break up with your broker.  If you just want to keep the same accounts with a different firm, the above advice still stands. However, if you want to close your account, the exact terms of that process will vary based on the conditions of your customer agreement or terms and conditions received when opening or transferring the account. You’ll want to keep track of any paperwork you receive during the closing to make sure it lines up with the conditions set out when you opened the account.