Unlike 15 years ago, online brokerages are everywhere. Having immediate access to your investments is no longer a challenge. Due to this increased competition many online brokerages offer services and commissions so enticing that it only makes sense to transfer your investments from one brokerage to another. Transferring your account to anther online broker is not complicated. When you open a new account make sure to request the paper work for initiating a transfer. You will be asked to complete the information for the broker you are transferring from. You also have the opportunity to choose whether your funds should be brought over “In Kind”, meaning all shares as they are, or to liquidate the investments and just transfer over the cash.
The biggest concern while transferring is the cost of the transfer. Most inbound transfers are free, but the brokerage you are transferring from most likely will charge you to move your investments out since they are losing your business. To make sure you are not losing money while transferring your assets, make sure that the broker you are transferring to reimburse transfer fees. A site that reimburses transfer fees will credit your account once the transfer is completed. Some online brokers will cover up to $150 in transfer fees when moving your account over to them. Scottrade will refund account transfer fees under $100 for new accounts. There is also a Tradeking promo that will cover up to $150 in fees when using them for your investment needs. Be sure to read the fine print regarding the fees reimbursement to make sure you do everything that is required.
Once the transfer is in process your positions and cash will be moved from one account to the other. If you have no use for your old account, make sure to close it as a broker transfer request does not always close the source account. Be sure to have a recent statement from your old account to make sure everything has been moved over correctly. You have worked hard for your money, so make sure that you are using the best brokerage out there that fits your fund strategy, and if the current one you are using does not, then transfer it to one that does. Most sites make this process very easy, but beware of those pesky fees!