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Guide to ACATS: Transfer your shares between brokers easily

24 Oct 2023

Find out how you can use ACATS for a smooth transition when switching from one broker to another.

acats transfer singapore

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What is ACATS?

The Automated Customer Account Transfer Service, or ACATS, is a system that allows you to transfer your investments between brokers.

It facilitates the transfer of securities between different brokerage platforms without requiring you to sell your holdings.

This can come in handy if your broker has announced its closure or if you wish to change your broker for other reasons.

ACATS simplifies this process of moving for you, and it applies to a wide range of assets in a fully automated manner.

Which brokerages can use ACATS?

The ACATS was developed by the National Securities Clearing Corporation (NSCC)a subsidiary of the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC)as a system that automates and standardises procedures for the transfer of a customer’s assets from one broker to another.

All eligible and qualified NSCC full-service members and DTC bank participants will be able to use the ACATS system.

Amongst the brokers in Singapore, Interactive Brokers and Moomoo allow for the transfer of shares using ACATS.

Which securities are eligible for ACATS transfer?

You will be able to transfer publicly traded stocks, ETFs, bonds, mutual funds, and cash holdings through the ACATS system.

However, the receiving broker may also have a list of ineligible securities. 

For example, Interactive Brokers does not support certain transfers of US microcap stocks.

Moomoo does not allow the transfer of US options expiring within 14 days and US index options. Fractional shares, short positions, selective OTC stocks, mutual funds, bonds, futures, and annuities are also ineligible for transfer.

What are the benefits to using ACATS?

#1 - Simplified and efficient stock transfer process

ACATS is excellent for simplifying the process of transferring your investment holdings from one brokerage platform or bank to another.

This is arguably a much better option as opposed to manually liquidating and transferring your investments.

Apart from needlessly incurring transaction fees (which may add up if you have many different holdings), this is also slower.

ACATS is time efficient in this regard, as it can speedily transfer assets in customer accounts using standardised and centralised automated operations.

#2 - Reliable and trustworthy

The ACATS system is highly reliable as you can rest assured knowing that the transfer process is fully compliant with the regulatory requirements of the US Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

In fact, the strict standards applied to the Transfer Initiation Form (TIF) information matching helps to protect investors from impersonation, theft, and fraud.

Step-by-step guide to transferring shares using ACATS 

Step #1 - Check new broker

Before you do anything, you need to check that your new broker can accept the account you intend to transfer over.

Some brokers have certain requirements in their policies on particular investments that they may not accept.

Step #2 - Retrieve statement from old broker

Next, you will need to retrieve your latest account statement from your current brokerthis statement should contain important information such as your account type, account ID, account name (name used to open the account), and current investment holdings.

The above documentation is necessary for investment acceptance from your new broker who will be on the receiving end of the transfer.

Think of it as changing citizenship from one country to another–these are the necessary administrative steps needed for you to get your new passport!

Step #3 - Create account on new broker

Before you transfer anything, you will need to open an account with your new broker that you plan to move your assets to.

After creating a new account on the brokerage platform you intend to migrate to, you can proceed to fill up a Transfer Initiation Form (TIF) which officially requests the transfer through ACATS.

Do note that all personal information and data from your old account and new account must be an identical match. Any discrepancy may result in the application being rejected.

Step #4 - Initiate transfer

Now, the next step would be to initiate the transfer from the receiving end of your new broker.

For illustration purposes, we will show you the remaining steps using Moomoo as an example. If you are using ACATS to transfer your shares to Interactive Brokers (IBKR), check out our step-by-step guide here.

On the Moomoo app, click ‘Accounts’ and go to ‘Transfer’ before selecting ‘Transfer Stock In’.

If you are holding US stocks, select ‘US market’.

acats share transfer step 1
Source: Moomoo

 

Here, you just need to select your old broker. If you’re moving over from TD Ameritrade, you will need to enter your account number and upload the account statement.

acats transfer step 2
Source: Moomoo

 

Finally, you can proceed to select ‘Initiate Full Transfer’ to transfer all your assets from TD Ameritrade Singapore. Note that you can also opt for a partial transfer if you only want to transfer certain holdings.

ACATS share transfer step 3
Source: Moomoo

How long will the ACATS transfer take?

After you initiate a total brokerage account transfer request, ACATS will typically take around 5 to 8 business days to effect the transfer, according to TD Ameritrade.

However, the transfer process may take longer than usual because of the potentially higher volume of transfer requests at TD Ameritrade. 

Depending on how long TD Ameritrade takes to process the ACATS transfer, the process may take up to 15 business days

Are there any fees involved in ACAT Transfers?

In the case of TD Ameritrade, full ACAT transfers out of TD Ameritrade Singapore will cost US$75 and will automatically result in account closure.

But the good thing is that in some cases, your new broker will be happy to reimburse you for this fee after you onboard as a client and transfer your investments to them.

For example, Moomoo is offering a transfer fee subsidy capped at S$200, which can help to offset the transfer fee. 

What happens if your broker does not accept ACATS?

In some cases, your broker may not support ACATS and any non-ACATS transfer will be a Depository Trust Company (DTC) transfer.

The key difference between an ACATS transfer and a non-ACATS transfer is that the ACATS transfer typically takes just 3-6 business days, much shorter than the up to one month which may be required for a non-ACATS transfer. 

Also, a DTC transfer is only used to transfer fully paid securities positions, and it does not support options transfers. In other words, your options positions can only be transferred through ACAT. 

If you would like to proceed with a non-ACATS transfer, you can initiate a DTC transfer request from TD Ameritrade Singapore by filling out the “DTC Request Form-TDAS 1021 (tdameritrade.com.sg)” form.

Next, you will have to go to your receiving broker to effect the transfer. Using Saxo Markets as an example, it has a portfolio transfer option under ‘Deposits and transfer’ which allows you to make a securities transfer into your Saxo account. 

If you transfer in your positions from TD Ameritrade Singapore to Saxo before 30 November 2023, you will get an additional S$188 commission credit.

What would Beansprout do?

ACATS allows you to transfer your stock, ETF and option holdings between brokers rather than having to liquidate them.

This helps to simplify the process of transferring your investments between brokers in a reliable way. 

Currently, only Interactive Brokers and Moomoo allow ACATS transfer, You can read our reviews of Moomoo and Interactive Brokers to find out which broker is more suited for your needs.

Check out our guide to the best brokers in Singapore to find out which is the trading platform with the lowest fees and best sign-up promos.  

Here’s a summary of the pros and cons of the brokers which offer competitive fees for trading US stocks, options and ETFs. 

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Pros:

  • Competitive fees for trading US and Singapore stocks
  • Offer access to money market funds through Moomoo Cash Plus
  • Attractive sign-up promo

Cons:

  • Not able to invest with CPF/SRS funds
  • No access to London Stock Exchange

Read our review

Promo: Earn a welcome bundle worth up to S$680 when you sign up for a Moomoo account.

Beansprout Exclusive: Receive a bonus S$20 Grab or NTUC FairPrice voucher in addition to Moomoo welcome rewards when you sign up through Beansprout.

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Pros:

  • Competitive fees for trading US stocks, ETFs and options
  • Offer access to money market funds through Webull Moneybull
  • Attractive sign-up promo

Cons:

  • Not able to invest with CPF/SRS funds
  • No access to Singapore stocks

Read our review

Promo: New customers can receive free shares worth up to US$5,000 when you open an account, fund any amount, and maintain for 30 days. No trading required. T&Cs apply.  Promo ends on 30th November.

In addition, earn a cash voucher of US$100 to US$2,000 when deposit at least US$3,000 and activate Webull Moneybull.

Beansprout Exclusive: Earn an additional S$20 Grab or FairPrice voucher when you sign up via Beansprout. T&Cs apply.

apply now button.png

 

tiger-brokers-logo-2.jpg

Pros:

  • Competitive fees for trading US stocks, ETFs and options
  • Offer access to money market funds through Tiger Vault
  • Attractive sign-up promo

Cons:

  • Not able to invest with CPF/SRS funds
  • No access to London Stock Exchange

Read our review

Promo: Get started by opening an account and enabling Auto-Sweep on Tiger Vault for the first time to enjoy a 30-day interest bonus boosted to 8%* p.a. 

Make an initial deposit of at least SS$1,000 and complete 5 new buy trades to receive one free Apple fractional share worth US$30, one free Starbucks fractional share worth US$8.80, and one sure-win draw attempt to get one free stock worth US$8.80 to US$888.

In addition, new users enjoy a competitive fee of USD 0.65 per contract for US options. T&Cs apply.

apply now button.png

 

saxo logo

Pros:

  • Competitive fees for trading US stocks, ETFs and options
  • Access to wide range of products and markets including London Stock Exchange
  • Attractive welcome bonus and zero transfer fees

Cons:

  • Monthly fee
  • Limited regular savings plan options

Read our review

Promo: Welcome bonus of $188 commission credits for new Saxo accounts opened from now til 31 October. T&Cs apply. 
apply now button.png

 

interactive brokers logo

Pros:

  • Competitive fees for trading US stocks, ETFs and options
  • Advanced charting and analysis tools
  • Access to wide range of markets including London Stock Exchange
  • ACAT transfer allowed

Cons:

  • No existing sign-up promo
  • More limited customer service support

Read our review

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Are there any promos for stock brokerages and trading accounts (November 2023)?

Webull Singapore promo

Webull is currently running a promotion which allows you get free shares worth up to US$5,000 by funding any amount. 

  • Fund any amount to receive 5 frees share worth US$50 to US$2,500.
  • Maintain your funding for 30 days to receive another 5 free shares worth US$50 to US$2,500.
  • This means that you can receive US$100 (S$137) to US$5,000 (S$6,850) of welcome rewards by signing up, funding the account and maintaining for 30 days. No trading is required.

Beansprout Exclusive: Receive a S$20 Grab or Fairprice voucher from Beansprout in addition to the Webull welcome gift when you sign up for a Webull account via Beansprout and fund any amount by 30th November 2023. 

The promo will end on 30th November 2023 3.59pm Singapore Time. Learn more about Webull welcome reward promo here.

In addition, earn a cash voucher of US$100 to US$2,000 when you  a net cumulative deposit of at least US$3,000 and activate Webull Moneybull. The Webull Moneybull promo is stackable with the Webull welcome reward promo. Learn more about the Webull Moneybull promo here.

Moomoo Singapore promo

Beansprout Exclusive: Receive a bonus S$20 Grab or NTUC FairPrice voucher in addition to Moomoo welcome rewards when you sign up through Beansprout.

Moomoo Singapore is currently running a promotion where you can earn welcome rewards of up to S$680 when you sign up for a Moomoo account

  • Earn a guaranteed return of 5.8% p.a. for 30 days when you deposit your funds into Moomoo Cash Plus. This means that you would be able to earn up to S$380 for a S$80,000 deposit. 
  • Receive an additional S$20 cash coupon when you perform 1 buy trade
  • Receive a stock bundle worth S$70 when you deposit a cumulative amount of S$3,000 or more, and complete 3 buy trades.
  • Receive 3 stock bundles worth S$210 when you deposit a cumulative amount of S$10,000 or more, and complete 8 buy trades.

Learn more about the Moomoo promotion here.

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