How to Change an Investment Broker

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An investment broker is supposed to help you manage your assets to plan for your future. There may be many reasons to switch investment brokers throughout your lifetime. You may decide to give business to someone who is a family friend or who has been advising your family or friends for years. You may realize that the broker is not really considering your investment objectives. Or you may move out of town and enjoy being able to have a face-to-face meeting with your broker over your portfolio. Whatever the reason, changing your broker is fairly easy.

  • Find a new broker that you trust. Use friends and family members as a referral resource.

    Search the FINRA Broker's Check at FINRA.org. This is the regulatory body for investment brokers and can tell you whether the person you are considering has any customer complaints or lawsuits pending.

  • Open a new account and fill out paperwork in an Automated Customer Account Transfer (ACAT). Sign the forms and turn them at the new brokerage firm. Make sure that your name, address and all pertinent information on the new account form matches the old one.

    If you are staying with the same investment brokerage firm, you don't need a new account. You only need to fill out a "Broker Change Form" that notifies the firm that you wish for another broker to handle your account.

  • Check with your new brokerage firm four to eight business days after the paperwork is submitted. This is the normal time for the transfer to take place, though there are circumstances where it may take longer, such as trades pending on the account, discrepancies in the name or address on the account, or value discrepancies.

  • Confirm that all securities transferred and for the correct number of shares.

    Values fluctuate on securities but the share numbers should match. If they don't, contact your old broker and determine what the discrepancy is. Your new broker should be more than happy to do this for you so you don't need to explain to the new broker why you are moving.

Tips & Warnings

  • While you are not required to ask your old broker for permission, it may help speed up the process if you advise them that you are moving to a new broker. Giving them a heads up that you are moving may expedite the process. But don't feel that you need to explain the reason for moving. It's your money and your prerogative.

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