How to switch investment providers

Esther Shaw / 16 November 2015

A guide to transferring investments, including ISAs, from one provider to another, including potential problems and pitfalls.

Once you have got money invested, you may decide you want to move to a new provider.

This may be the case if, for example, you have money in a stocks-and-shares individual savings account (ISA) and want to transfer it to more competitive provider or platform.

You can transfer your ISA from one provider to another at any time.

New to investing? Read our guide for beginners.

Check for charges

Before making the move, it is important to check with your provider for any restrictions they may have on transferring ISAs.

You should also find out whether you will face any charges.

Fees known as “transfer out fees” are usually involved if you want to move your stocks and shares ISA to a new platform or provider. This is usually charged per fund you have. The more funds you have within your stocks and shares ISA, the more it will cost you.

That said, some platforms do not charge for transferring out.

Saga Investment Services have a friendly transfer team to make switching ISA providers simple. See if you could make more of your money with them.   

Making the transfer

When you’re ready to make the switch, you should contact the provider you want to move to.

You will then need to fill in paperwork, known as an “ISA transfer form”, so that you can move your account.

Crucially, if you withdraw the money without doing this, you won’t be able to reinvest that part of your allowance again.

If you want to transfer money you’ve invested in an ISA this current year, you must transfer all of it.

If you are transferring a previous year’s ISA, you can choose to transfer all or part of your savings. You must state this on your form.

Avoid the traps with Annie Shaw's guide to the investment pitfalls.

Types of transfer

When making a switch, you need to decide whether you want an “in specie transfer”. This is where the asset is moved across in its current form.

The alternative involves you selling or liquidating some or all of your holdings first, and transferring the cash value.

If in doubt, you should seek professional advice.

Wait for the transfer to take place

If you are transferring a stocks and shares ISA, the transfer should take no longer than 30 days.

Your new provider should contact you to let you know that the transfer has been completed successfully.

What is risk?

What if there are delays?

If your switch takes longer than this, you should contact your ISA provider in the first instance.

If you are not satisfied with the response, you can take the matter up with the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Review your portfolio

Once your new ISA is in place, this could be a good time to take stock of the investments you have.

Giving your portfolio a spring clean could be especially worthwhile if you are consolidating a range of existing ISAs, or if you are thinking about investing in some of the additional investments your new provider offers. 

If you don’t feel your ISA is performing as well as it could be, why not have a look at Saga Investment Services’ Investment ISAs. Saga has teamed up with Tilney Bestinvest to create a range of Investment ISAs aimed at making the most of your money. Whether you’re investing for income, growth or both, they have an ISA to suit your needs. And their friendly transfer team makes switching providers simple. Get started here.  

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.