Prior to moving accounts from one firm to another, it is always a good idea to review and understand the transfer process. In addition, communicate with the new firm and determine whether any specific policies or constraints might impact the transfer of your account. For example, if you have a margin account, you should ask if the new firm will accept a margin account and, if so, what are its minimum requirements. In short, make sure the intended new firm is a good fit for you before you attempt to transfer the account.
In addition, investors can become familiar with the account transfer process by discussing it with the new firm. Ask questions, like the anticipated length of the transfer process given the specific type of account (such as cash, margin, IRA, custodial) and the assets held (such as stocks, bonds, options, limited partnership interests). Inquire about anything that may cause a delay during the account transfer process. Ask how the firm informs customers that the transfer process is complete?
Investors should also consider that buying and selling securities during the account transfer process often complicates and delays the transfer. Some firms will even "freeze" an account that is in the process of being transferred, meaning that no trades will be permitted until the transfer is complete; an important point to discuss with the firms prior to initiating the transfer. As a result, investors are best served if they avoid trading during the transfer process. For example, if ABC security is a volatile stock and you are concerned about not being able to sell your stock during the transfer process, you should consider selling ABC before entering the transfer request.