In this section, I have included investor perspectives in the account transfer process. My next article will share the general level of investor satisfaction after switching to cheaper investing and valuable tips for those considering doing the same.

This summary is enlightening, but it is not a scientific study. And while any investor can benefit from learning the basics, switching to cheaper investing isn’t necessarily for everyone. You ultimately have to decide what is best for you.

The comments came from investors who switched to do-it-yourself investing through online brokers, switched to robo-advisors, or found cheaper advisors or mutual fund providers.

Experience with wire transfers

The actual transfer of funds went smoothly for some, but others had to spend time sorting out the paperwork from their former firms. In my experience, the banks and large brokerage firms are quite efficient at transferring accounts, while smaller companies and the life insurers are less so. Some investors have had to charge fees for closing and transferring their accounts, especially those holding deferred sales charges (DSC) mutual funds, which will soon be banned by regulators.

Many respondents found the transfer process smooth:

“I didn’t find the transfer process a hassle. There were a few forms to fill out and a lot of information to go through and agree to, but it was relatively painless.

“Administratively, the transfer process only took about two to three hours.”

“Our advisor was aware of the ultimate objective early on. When the day came, he had prepared all the paperwork, knowing this was the purpose of the meeting. The transfer was painless. Our advisor and our bank made it.”

Others I asked had to spend more time processing the paperwork. The level of difficulty was often linked to the complexity and number of accounts:

“I started the paper transfer with my bank’s online broker and since I had multiple accounts, it took almost three months. I had to spend a lot of time helping with this transfer, requesting account numbers and going back and forth with my previous advisor.”

This post What it’s like to switch your account to cheaper investing

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