In September 2023, TD Ameritrade announced it would close its operations in Singapore. Apart from the initial surprise, many clients wondered what to do now: sell all their positions and withdraw the cash or transfer the positions without needing to sell them.
This article will lean over the transfer of your holdings to TD Ameritrade’s closest competitor: Interactive Brokers.
Important: This analysis applies to any TD Ameritrade client, not only to Singaporean investors. Please adapt to your previous broker and region.
What you should know about Interactive Brokers
Licensed and regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the Interactive Brokers entity in Singapore, Interactive Brokers Singapore Pte. Ltd., is focused on the urgency for Singaporean investors to transfer their accounts out of TD Ameritrade and into another financially strong and secure investment platform.
As with TD Ameritrade, IBKR also provides Singaporean investors with low trading costs, trading around the clock, and global investing access and its financial strength has shown resilience through major financial crises. Besides, Interactive Brokers offers the Trader Workstation (TWS), a trading platform as complete as thinkorswim, TD Ameritrade’s main trading platform.
As a current investor using TD Ameritrade in Singapore, exploring IBKR as a viable alternative is a strategic move worth considering. As mentioned earlier, you can close your existing positions, withdraw your funds to your bank account, and subsequently transfer them to IBKR. Alternatively, you can initiate a portfolio transfer through the ACATS (Automated Customer Account Transfer Service) process.
Our team has put together a step-by-step guide to help you transfer your investments from TD Ameritrade to IBKR using the ACATS process.
Transfer assets from TD Ameritrade SG to Interactive Brokers
1) Account Opening
Firstly, as mentioned above, you should know that Interactive Brokers is ACAT eligible, meaning it can receive your assets from your TD Ameritrade Singapore. To initiate a transfer to Interactive Brokers, you must first create an account with them.
Note: TD Ameritrade will waive or refund any transfer or wire fees you incur up to 31 December 2023 (only for entire account transfers and/or wire withdrawals).
2) Initiate the Transfer
Within Interactive Brokers, go to the top bar and select “Transfer & Pay”. Then, choose “Transfer Positions”:
On the next page, select “Incoming”:
Now, choose “United States” as the region for the delivering broker:
Select “ACATS (Automated Customer Account Transfer Service)” under the transfer method:
Supply the delivering broker information (TD Ameritrade in our case) and provide all the transaction information (you will be asked if you are transferring all assets):
Please be aware that ACATS transfers can take between 4 to 8 business days to be completed. Also, Interactive Brokers does not charge any inbound transfer fees for ACATS transfers.
Transfer status: You may monitor the status of your transfer request through the “Transfer & Pay” and “Transaction History” menu options in the Client Portal.
Can the ACATS transfer be rejected?
Yes, it may happen, but it is usually due to human error (inserting wrong data). A few examples from the Interactive Brokers FAQ’s page include:
- The account title does not match. The account title at IBKR and the delivering broker must be identical.
- The account type does not match. The account type at IBKR and the delivering broker must be the same.
- Transfers that contain expiring options. Options are not transferred during expiration week.
- Transfers containing micro-cap stocks. IBKR will only accept transfers of US micro-cap stocks from Eligible clients. (Review: U.S. Microcap Stock Restrictions)
- Transfers that contain mutual funds that are not offered by IBKR.
Is there a time limit to transfer my positions from TD Ameritrade?
Yes: December 4th, 2023. However, you should consider performing that action as soon as possible, particularly before the 27th of October, since, on that date, all retail investors (non-accredited Investors) accounts will be charged a monthly account maintenance fee of USD 50. Accounts with cash balances less than USD$50 will only be charged an amount to reduce their cash balance to $0.
Do you only have cash in your TD Ameritrade account?
If so, you need to request a wire transfer from your TD Ameritrade account by logging in, clicking on “Account Centre”, then “Withdrawal” and expanding on “Wire Transfers”.
Withdrawing cash from your TD Ameritrade only offers one option to withdraw your cash: via an international Telegraphic Transfer (TT). Remember that If you have recently sold a position, please wait until settlement (normally 2 business days post-trade execution) before requesting a withdrawal.
In case you have not withdrawn money from your TD Ameritrade account before or you are wiring money to a new bank account for the first time, you will need to provide a copy of your bank statement reflecting your full name and bank account number. You must send the statements to email@example.com.