When you started investing, you may have found yourself simply choosing the cheapest or easiest investment platform or broker to hold your investment accounts with.
However, since then, your priorities might have changed, or you may even have found a platform with better rates and fees for your style of investing.
UK investors have a huge range of investment and trading platforms to choose from, and you’ll be pleased to hear that it’s very much possible to switch to a different platform. In fact, it’s often sensible to shop around and see whether there’s a better broker or platform that’s more suitable for your needs than your current provider.
So, find out how to transfer your investments to another broker, as well as the best platforms to consider moving to.
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How do I transfer from one brokerage to another?
With most brokers, the quickest and easiest way to make your transfer will be to do so online.
Typically, you first have to put in a transfer request with your existing provider. Next, fill out the transfer form with your new broker and return it. From there, your broker will administer your transfer on your behalf.
Please bear in mind that this process may be somewhat different if you’re transferring to or from a broker based outside of the UK.
How do I transfer stocks from one broker to another?
There are two main ways to transfer stocks and investments from one broker to another: via an “in specie” transfer, or as cash.
In specie transfer
An “in specie” transfer, also known as a “stock transfer”, simply means transferring your assets in their current form. Whether that’s stocks and shares or unit trusts and mutual funds, this allows you to stay invested when you transfer.
Stock transfers are useful as it means you can keep hold of your investments alongside any changes in value. The downside to staying invested rather than liquidating your investments is that it can take upwards of four weeks to transfer your holdings.
Your other option is to sell your holdings and transfer your money as cash. You can make a cash transfer either by selling your investments yourself or by instructing your broker to sell them on your behalf and then transfer the value over to a new broker.
Cash transfers tend to be more straightforward than in specie transfers, meaning they’re typically carried out sooner. However, you obviously also run the risk of missing out on investment returns in the meantime or having to sell at a time when the price isn’t favourable for you.
Transferring ISAs and pensions
There are a couple of extra considerations when transferring ISAs and pensions.
Whether you’re looking to transfer a Cash ISA or a Stocks and Shares ISA, ISA transfers can be slightly more complicated.
ISA investments are entirely free from Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax as they’re protected in the “ISA wrapper”. However, when you transfer an ISA, you need to make sure that the cash or investments are kept within the wrapper. If you don’t do this, you’d have to use your remaining ISA allowance to make your transfer.
Even worse, if this meant you exceeded the ISA allowance, you may have to pay tax on those investments.
To make sure your investments remain within the wrapper, you need to instruct your broker to make a specific ISA transfer. Typically, this involves another transfer form where you can specify exactly what you would like to happen with your ISA.
You can transfer an existing self-invested personal pension (SIPP) or another type of pension into a SIPP with a broker. However, this can be risky, particularly as this is likely the money you’ll need to live in retirement.
That’s why it’s often essential to take financial advice from a professional advisor before you transfer a pension, particularly for a workplace or final salary pension.
Can I transfer all my stocks from one broker to another?
Yes, you can complete a full transfer of your stocks to another broker.
Can I transfer part of my portfolio from one broker to another?
Alternatively, you can also transfer part of your portfolio. This is known as a “partial transfer”. Bear in mind that by doing this, you may have to pay commission and/or dealing account fees to two brokers, rather than just one.
Beware exit fees
Before you go ahead with a transfer, one key thing to remember is that you may have to pay exit fees to your current broker. These fees could make it less cost-effective for you to move, even if you’d be going to a cheaper service.
You should also check whether your new service has exit fees. This is important to do as, if you transfer over and then realise it isn’t the right broker or platform for you, you may have to pay even more to move again.
Best platforms to transfer investments
When choosing a new broker or platform to transfer existing investments over to, your priority should be to find one that both meets your needs while also not charging transfer fees if you need to move on again.
Fortunately, there are plenty of brokers and platforms across the financial services industry that will offer this service.
Having only started in 2018, Freetrade recorded its 1 millionth user on its app in October 2021.
Freetrade has no commission or account fees for stocks, index funds, and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). This means you can trade stocks and ETFs in the UK and US for free. You can also invest tax-efficiently via their Stocks and Shares ISA for a flat fee of just £3 a month.
When you sign up for Freetrade and deposit as little as £2 into your account, you’ll also be given a free share worth up to £200.
Freetrade not only offer zero exit fees, but you can also complete your transfer in-specie although this is only an available option for ISA transfers. GIA account holders will still be required to sell any holdings for cash and withdraw manually.
Hargreaves Lansdown is one of the biggest investment providers in the UK, with £135.5 billion in assets.
The platform has a huge range of investment products that you can use to invest in stocks, shares, and funds around the world. They also have a large education section on their website with high-quality information about different investments so that you can make informed decisions when investing with them.
The downside to investing with Hargreaves Lansdown is that the account and commission fees for stocks and ETFs can be higher than other providers.
IG is one of the most well-established stockbrokers in the UK, having provided investment services for more than 45 years.
The platform offers a range of investment products to invest through, giving you access to more than 17,000 financial markets around the world. Their account and commission fees are also highly competitive, meaning you can be confident that you’re getting the most from your money when investing using this platform.
With the range of benefits from using this platform, I have ranked IG as the best overall trading platform.
Interactive Investor has quickly become one of the UK’s most used investment platforms, with over 400,000 customers and nearly £55 billion in assets under management.
The platform uses a fixed-fee model to charge for its services, meaning you’ll always know how much you’ll need to pay to make trades. It also has a huge range of investment options and an award-winning trading platform available on both desktop and mobile.
The downside to investing with Interactive Investor is that the fixed fee approach can become expensive, particularly if you don’t invest regularly or have a portfolio of less than £50,000.
Why transfer to another broker?
There are various reasons that you might want to consider transferring to another broker. Realistically, the best broker for you will depend on your personal circumstances and your investment goals.
Whether that’s your share dealing account fees or commission fees when you buy and sell, another broker may have better rates and fees.
Greater choice of investments
Some brokers and platforms may offer a wider range of investments that you’re interested in buying. For example, if you wanted to invest in crypto, you’d need a broker such as eToro who offers this service.
Better customer service
You may have had a bad customer service experience with your current broker, and so want to move to a different one where you feel you may be treated better.
Better user experience
Some brokers offer a superior user experience, whether that’s on an app or on their website.
Checking the FCA register
One other crucial thing to remember when transferring money or assets to another broker or platform is to check that the firm is listed on the Financial Services Register on the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)’s website.
The Financial Services Register is a database of firms that are authorised and/or regulated by the FCA. The Register includes a firm’s basic details, such as its registered office and company number, as well as specific permissions for what sort of financial activities it can carry out.
Make sure you check that your new broker is listed on the Register so that you can be confident that the service it’s offering you is genuine.
The value of your investment can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount you invested. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. Levels, bases of and reliefs from taxation may be subject to change and their value depends on the individual circumstances of the investor.
Antonia is the Financial Editor at InvestingReviews.co.uk and brings a wealth of experience, having written for various industries over the past 10 years.
Her investment platform reviews, news, blogs and guides are meticulously researched, fact checked, and updated on a regular basis.