Why, oh why, do transfers between stockbrokers take so long? Having just suffered the second delay of three months or more to simply switch from using one stockbroker (or “investment platform” as some now prefer to call themselves) to another, I am now writing to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to demand some action on behalf of investors.
Other ShareSoc Members have reported similar delays on a regular basis and I am building up a portfolio of cases to support our submission to the FCA. So if you have suffered from this problem please send me details of how long it took, who were the brokers that were involved and any other information that might help to explain the delay.
These delays are exceedingly frustrating as they prevent you from trading stocks while the transfer is taking place – which is of course a positively dangerous situation if you are holding some companies. The regulators have been keen to ensure the quick transfer of bank or cash ISA accounts and these can normally now be done within 10 and 15 days respectively. But share ISAs, SIPPs and even direct holdings (for example personal crest account holdings), simply seem to take forever, however much you chase the parties involved.
It is very “anti-competitive” behaviour in the market for financial services when such delays are imposed. It deters people from changing to get cheaper rates, or a better service. My recent transfers were prompted by increases in charges and withdrawal of services by the brokers concerned. It might not have deterred me but it would have done others no doubt.
Note that this does not seem to be a problem specific to individual brokers, which is why I have not named the culprits, or the number or type of holdings in the portfolios. It seems to be a pervasive industry problem.
So send me the evidence to firstname.lastname@example.org if you have suffered like me. Any information sent will be only disclosed to the FCA and not made public – it can also be anonymised if you prefer.