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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