ACATS Transfer Guide (US brokerage account transfers)

ACATS Transfer Guide

Introduction

ACATS Transfer Benefits

Navigating The Process

Incoming Or Outgoing

Initiating Your Transfer

What To Expect

Who To Contact For Help

 

Introduction

Understanding the basic facts about transferring accounts between US brokerage firms can be help to avoid delays.  Through this article and other Knowledge Database resources, Interactive Brokers seeks to assist with your incoming and outgoing ACATS requests.

US brokerage firms utilize a standardized system to transfer customer accounts from one firm to another.  Known as the Automated Customer Account Transfer Service or ACATS, the process allows assets to move seamlessly between  brokerage firms in a unified time frame.   ACATS transfers are facilitated by a third party, the National Securities Clearing Corporation (NSCC), to assist participating members with timely asset transfers.

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ACATS Transfer Benefits

The majority of assets may be transferred between US brokerage firms and some banks through ACATS.  This standardized system includes stocks, US corporate bonds, listed options, unit investment trusts, mutual funds, and cash.  Information on assets eligible for transfer is provided at "Assets Eligible..."  Though impacted by multiple factors and time constraints, the accepted or rejected transfers finalize within 10 business days in most cases.

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Navigating The Process

4 simple steps of the ACATS process will help you understand the flow and minimize delays.  Familiarizing yourself with the transfer process helps to ensure a successful transition.

1.  Incoming or Outgoing

2.  Initiating Your Transfer

3.  What to Expect

4.  Who to Contact For Help 

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 1. Incoming or Outgoing

 

Incoming ACATS Transfers

The financial institution that is receiving your assets and account transfer is known as the "receiving firm."  Investors always work with and through the "receiving firm" to move full or partial account assets into a new broker. 

Contact the "receiving firm" (Interactive Brokers) to review the firm's trading policies and requirements.  You should verify that your assets are eligible for trading at the "receiving firm" before initiating the transfer request.   Not all ACATS transferable assets are acceptable for trading at every brokerage firm.

Outgoing ACATS Transfers

All outgoing ACATS transfers, full or partial, must be approved by the "delivering firm."  Investors, however, should work with and through the "receiving firm" in order to begin the the transfer process or to status the progress of the request.      

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2. Initiating Your Transfer

Investors must always begin the ACATS transfer with the "receiving firm."  An ACATS transfer form or Transfer Initiation Form (TIF) must be submitted.  The "receiving firm" takes your reqeust and communicates with the "delivering firm" via ACATS.  The process begins with this request for transfer of the account. 

For your Interactive Brokers Account, the transfer is usually submitted online.  Video instruction on submitting the transfer is provided at "How to deposit funds via a full ACATS/ATON Transfer."  or through Step-by-step instructions.

Note: Outgoing account transfers from your IB account should be directed to the other broker.  Your request will be submitted to IB from the other broker through the ACATS electronically.

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3. What to Expect

Your Account

Brokers ensure the safety and security of transfer requests by only authorizing requests between open accounts that meet the following criteria:

  • Same Account Title
  • Same Tax ID Number
  • Same Account Type

Transfer Approval

Ultimately responsible for validating the transfer,  the "delivering firm" may accept  information from the "receiving firm" correcting data originally entered.  Approved or validated requests result in the delivery of positions to the "receiving firm" for their acceptance.   Assets may not be accepted by the "receiving firm" for the following:

  • Non-marginable or Margin (credit) violation
  • Not Tradable
  • DTC Chill

Note: The most common reasons for ACATS rejections are outlined by clicking here.

Processing Time-frame

The processing time for each transfer request is fixed.  In general, approved transfers complete within 4 to 8 business days.  Almost all transfers complete within 10 business days.  Each firm is required to perform certain steps at specific intervals in the process.  Feel free to review the Full ACATS transfer process flow.

 

Fees

While Interactive Brokers does not charge a fee to transfer your account via ACATS, some brokers do apply a fee for full and partial transfers. Prior to initiating your transfer, you should contact the "delivering firm" to verify any charge.

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4.  Who To Contact For Help

Interactive Brokers Customer Service stands poised to assist with your incoming ACATS transfer reqeust.  Click here for Customer Service contact resources.

Note:  Outgoing or ACATS transfers sending accounts to another broker should be directed to the "receiving firm."  Their Account Transfer Group will work with Interactive Brokers directly to complete your outgoing request.

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Free of Payment (FOP) Transfers

概観: 

Free of Payment (FOP) is term used by IB to refer to a process of transferring long US securities between IB and another financial institution (e.g. bank, broker or transfer agent) through the Depository Trust Company (DTC).

The FOP transfer method is often used when:

1. The delivering form is not a DTC ACAT (Automated Customer Account Transfer) Participant.

2. The customer would like to expedite the delivery of their securities.   The processing time frame for securities transferred via FOP may, in certain instances, be less than that associated with an ACATS transfer.

The following steps are to be followed in order to create a FOP notice:

1. Log into Account Management.

2. Select Funding or Funds Management and then Position Transfers.

3. From the drop-down list, select the Transfer Method: Free of Payment.

4. Select the applicable transaction Type: Deposit or Withdraw.

5. In the case of a FOP Withdrawal, the steps are as follows:

    - Select the Destination to whom the securities are being transferred.

    - Enter your account number of the Third Party Broker Acount Information.

    - Specify the security (Stock, Warrants or US Bonds).

    - Enter the Symbol, Shares and the Exchange (optional) and click Add.

    - Provide your electronic signature authorizing the transfer request and clicking on the Continue button.

    - Verify your identity by entering your password and clicking on the Confirm Request button;

    - If your account is enrolled in the Secure Transaction Program (STP), the processing of your request   will take place once you enter your confirmation code and click on the Confirm Request button.  If not STP enrolled, your request will be subject to security verification, requiring that you contact our Customer Service Center to validate your identity and request.

6. In the case of a FOP Deposit, the steps are as follows:

    - Select the Source to whom the securities are being transferred.

    - Enter your account number of the Third Party Broker Acount Information.

    - Specify the security (Stocks, Warrants or US Bonds).

    - Enter the Symbol, Shares and the Exchange (optional) and click Add.

    - Provide your electronic signature authorizing the transfer request and clicking on the Continue button.

    - A printable version of the FOP request is made available should your transferring firm require an authorization form.

7. Transfer requests are typically completed within five business days.

 
IMPORTANT NOTE:

While IB does not assess a fee to process FOP transfers, other firms may and we therefore recommend that you confirm with the contra-firm their policies in this regard prior to submitting a request.  In the event a contra-firm does charge a fee to IB, the fee will be passed to the IB account holder.

 

Glossary terms: 

Assets eligible to be transferred through ACATS

Instruments handled by the ACATS system include the following asset classes: equities, options, corporate bonds, municipal bonds, mutual funds and cash. It should be noted; however, that ACATS eligibility does not guarantee that any given security will transfer as each receiving broker maintains its own requirements as to which asset classes as well as securities within a particular asset class it will accept.

Account holders are encouraged to use the Contract Search link on IB’s homepage to assess transfer eligibility prior to initiating a full account transfer request.  In the case of mutual funds, please click here for a list of fund families and funds offered by IB.

How do I transfer my US securities positions from my current broker to IB?

概観: 

Broker to broker transfers for US securities are conducted via a process known as the Automated Customer Account Transfer Service or ACATS.  This process generally takes between 4 to 8 business days to complete in order to accommodate the verification of the transferring account and positions. The request is always initiated via the receiving broker (IB in this case) and can be prompted by following the steps below.

1.      Log into Account Management and select the Funds Transfer and then Position Transfers menu options.

2.      From the Transfer Method drop-down list select ‘ACATS'.

3.      From the Type drop-down list select either ‘Full’ or ‘Partial'.

a.       Note that the ‘Full’ election does not require that you specify any assets as an attempt will be made to transfer your account in its entirety.  Account holders should note, however, that certain positions may not be on the list of securities eligible to trade at IB and others, while transferable, may be subject to a house margin requirement higher than that of the delivering broker.  In the event IB receives an asset list from the delivering broker which includes ineligible positions or the aggregate of the positions transferred are such that a margin deficit would exist were the transfer to occur, IB will attempt to contact you to remedy the situation within the allocated time frame after which an automatic reject of the full transfer would take effect.  Account holders may wish to minimize potential delays or problems associated with a ‘Full’ transfer request by verifying security eligibility and margin requirements via the Contract Search link located at the upper right hand corner of the IB homepage prior to initiating the transfer.

b.      Note that the ‘Partial’ election will require that you specify the positions you wish to transfer on step 5.

4.      From the Source drop-down list select the delivering broker.  Note that certain brokers maintain multiple Participant account numbers with DTCC and account holders are encouraged to confirm with their delivering broker the account number to be associated with the transfer request.

5.      On the Deposit & Transfers/ACATS Request form enter the account number as reflected on your delivering broker account statement and respond to questions regarding the existence of a margin loan, short positions and option positions. Note that certain short stock positions may not be transferable if IB is unable to locate and borrow.  In the event of a ‘Partial’ election, you will need to provide additional detail (product identification, number of shares/contracts, long/short designation) as to the stock, option, mutual fund, bond or cash position you wish to transfer.

6.      Provide electronic signature authorizing the transfer.

 

Please note that brokers generally freeze the account during the transfer period to ensure an accurate snapshot of assets to transfer and may restrict the transfer of option positions during the week prior to expiration. You may wish to check with the delivering broker to verify their policy in this regard. In addition, please note if your IB account is currently maintaining positions on margin, any cash withdrawals or adverse market moves could increase the likelihood that your account falls out of margin compliance during the transfer period which may delay or prevent completion of the transfer. 

 

IMPORTANT NOTICE

Applicants may meet the initial account funding requirement through the transfer of securities positions and/or cash via the ACATS system.

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