Transferring Investment Accounts – And Getting Paid For It

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I have been thinking about transferring our investment accounts (ISA & SIPP) away from our current provider (to save on fees) for some time, so I thought I’d bite the bullet and take advantage of one of the cashback offers this year.

In this post, I’ll detail the offers available and give you my experience of the transfer process.

I transferred two pensions and two ISAs (my wife’s account and my account). We already hold all of our ISA’s and our SIPPs with the same provider (Interactive Investor) after I spent some time a few years back consolidating the various pensions we had.

Background

From about mid-November each year, a number of the larger platforms/brokers start to offer time-limited cashback offers to transfer your ISA & Pension accounts to them. If you have a reasonable-sized account, these offers can be very generous (often in the £000’s).

My current charges with Interactive Investor are £21.99 per month (and the same again for MAFF), so that’s a total of £527.76 per year combined. Our fees with Fidelity would be £180 per year combined (£90 each) and with Hargreaves Lansdown they would be £490 (£245 each or £45 if you only have an ISA). These amounts exclude any dealing costs (I rarely trade), assume you have both an ISA & a SIPP and you only hold ETFs (not Funds)

So, both HL & Fidelity are cheaper than my existing trading platform and the cashback offers available cover the fees for at least 9 years. Which makes it a bit of a no-brainer for me to move.

The Current Cash Back Offers

Three of the large platforms are offering generous cashback deals to transfer your account/s, namely:

Hargreaves Lansdown

Hargreaves Lansdown – ISA
Transfer ValueCash Back Amount
£4,000 – £9,999£50
£10,000 – £19,999£100
£20,000 – £39,999£150
£40,000 – £59,999£300
£60,000 – £79,999£500
£80,000 or more£1,000
Hargreaves Lansdown – Pension
Transfer ValueCash Back Amount
£10,000 – £29,999£100
£30,000 – £59,999£250
£60,000 – £89,999£500
£90,000 – £109,999£1,000
£110,000 – £124,999£1,250
£125,000 – £999,999£1,500
£1,000,000+£3,500
  • With Hargreaves Lansdown, you need to have started the transfer process by the 29th of February. Although you can apply for an extension of 3 months for an ISA & 6 months for a SIPP.
  • The cashback money is paid into your account within 8 weeks from the date that your last qualifying transfer has been completed.
  • You need to keep your account open for 12 months and not transfer money out of your account.
  • Full details can be found here https://www.hl.co.uk/features/cashback

Fidelity

FIDELITY
Transfer ValueCash Back Amount
£25,000 – £49,999£200
£50,000 – £99,999£500
£100,000 – £249,999£1,000
£250,000 – £749,999£1,250
£750,000 – £999,999£1,500
£1,000,000 or over£2,000
  • With Fidelity, you need to have started the transfer process by the 1st of April.
  • The cashback money is paid to your account within 90 days of the offer closing date i.e. 1st April
  • You need to keep your account open for 18 months and not transfer money out of your account.
  • Full details can be found here https://www.fidelity.co.uk/transfer

Interactive Investor

Interactive Investor – ISA
Transfer ValueCash Back Amount
£2,000 – £9,999£100
£10,000 – £19,999£150
£20,000 – £49,999£250
£50,000 – £99,999£500
£100,000 – £199,999£750
£200,000 – £499,999£1,000
£500,000+£1,500
Interactive Investor – Pension
Transfer ValueCash Back Amount
£10,000 – £24,999£100
£25,000 – £69,999£250
£70,000 – £99,999£500
£100,000 – £159,999£1,250
£160,000 – £499,999£1,500
£500,000 – £999,999£2,000
£1,000,000 – £1,499,999£3,000
£1,500,000 – £1,999,999£4,000
£2,000,000+£5,000
  • With Interactive Investor, you need to have started the transfer process by the 31st of January. And, in their case, started means you have opened an account and made at least a minimum deposit (which makes things a bit more difficult than the other offers)
  • The cashback money is paid to you 12 months after the transfer
  • Full details can be found here https://www.ii.co.uk/

Which Provider Did I Choose

I chose Hargreaves Lansdown, as their offer is worth £5,000 to MAFF & I combined (£2,500 each) vs £2,500 combined for Fidelity.

HL’s annual charges are more than Fidelity’s (£245 vs £90 for me) but the difference in the cashback amount covers this for a good number of years.

* I’m already with Interactive Investor, so that rules them out for me but they would have paid us £4,750 combined.

Getting Ready for the Transfer

MAFFs investment accounts are good to go. She only holds ETFs and I’ve checked with Hargreaves Lansdown that they offer those ETFs on their platform, so they can do an in-specie transfer.

My account is not so good to go.

I still have a couple of unwanted holdings I want to sell and reinvest (and this is cheaper to do on Interactive Investor before I transfer).

My biggest problem is that half of my SIPP is invested in the Vanguard FTSE Global All Cap Fund. I know from when I looked at ‘Best Trading Platform in the UK for Larger Accounts‘ that Hargreaves Lansdown’s charges are exorbitant for holding Funds (Fidelity is not much better). So I need to sell the Fund and swap it for an ETF (namely VWRP, which I already hold as well).

So a bit of tidying up to do on my account before I get started with the transfer.

The Transfer Process

In-specie Transfer

All the platforms I looked at offer in-specie transfers. In short, this means your holdings are simply transferred, as is, from one provider to another. So your investments are never sold, you aren’t out of the market for any time etc.

The only thing to watch out for with this is you don’t want to be doing trades in your existing account during the transfer window, as that may complicate things. So if you are investing monthly, you will want to suspend this until the transfer is complete.

Process Overview

I had problems with initiating the process online so ended up having to phone Hargreaves Lansdown (if you’re a complete Luddite, you can also do it by filling in a form and posting it to them).

Turns out via a thread on the FIREUK Reddit sub that several other people had exactly the same issue with the online process (so it seems that HL have a technical problem they don’t know about)

Step 1 – was to register and get a client ID, which I did via the ISA transfer team. You need to have a client ID before you can start the transfer process. You will need your National Insurance number to hand for this.

Step 2 – was to initiate the transfer of both the ISA & the SIPP from Hargreaves Lansdown.

For the ISA, this can all be done over the phone by calling the ISA Transfer team (Tel. 0117 906 7816).

Rather annoyingly, you can’t do the SIPP transfer by phone. You need to call the Pension helpdesk team (Tel. 0117 980 9926) and they will email you a form, which you then need to fill out and send by post (how antediluvian is that).

I haven’t had to speak to Interactive Investor at all during the process.

Time To Do the Application

The call to the ISA transfer team took around 15 minutes, to do both my and MAFFs ISAs. I had our Interactive Investor account details to hand, so everything was straightforward.

The call to the Pensions helpdesk took around 5 mins and I had the form in my inbox within another 5 mins. The SIPP transfer forms didn’t take long to fill out.

Transfer Time

Hargreaves Lansdown told me it would take between 2-6 weeks to transfer the ISAs and 4-6 weeks to transfer the SIPPs and that this timescale is largely dependent on the other provider.

Transfer Time Summary

MAFFs ISA transfer – 7 working days
MAFFs SIPP transfer – TBC
My ISA transfer – 11 working days
My SIPP transfer – TBC

I have set out the timetable of how long everything took and the different steps below:

DateStageNo. of Working Days
Friday 19/01/24Initiated ISA transfer over phone.0
Saturday 20/01/243 emails were received, within a few minutes of each other, from Interactive Investor, telling me that they had received MAFF’s ISA transfer request. The email tells me the transfer is estimated to take place on the 29th Feb.

No emails concerning my ISA account yet (as you’ll see below, that’s because HL has messed mine up).
Tuesday 23/01/24Letters containing our PIN numbers arrived via post, so I can create an online account and log in to see an empty ISA (as the transfer has not happened yet)2
Thursday 25/01/243 emails were received, within a few minutes of each other, from Interactive Investor, telling me that they have received MAFF’s ISA transfer request. The email tells me the transfer is estimated to take place on the 29th Feb.

No emails concerning my ISA account yet (as you’ll see below, that’s because HL has messed mine up).
4
Friday 26/01/24Letter received in the post from Hargreaves Lansdown telling me they are going to contact my current provider to start the ISA transfer.

The worrying part is it tells me my current provider is Interactive Brokers (which is a totally different company).
So I phoned HL and they have indeed made a mistake and have sent the transfer request to Interactive Brokers rather than Interactive Investor. They have said they will get it rectified and send the request to the right company today.
They did confirm that the telephone application correctly stated Interactive Investor, so not quite sure how it’s gone wrong.

Good job I read the letter!
5
Saturday
27/01/24
MAFF received the same letter from HL as I did above telling her the ISA transfer is in progress.5
Monday
29/01/24
I received a secure message in the HL app apologising for the mistake re Interactive Broker and to say that they have now corrected it.6
Tuesday
30/01/24
MAFF received an email from Interactive Investor telling her that the ISA transfer was now complete.

MAFFs Hargreaves Lansdown account does indeed now have all her ISA holdings in there. So her ISA transfer is complete and happened within 7 working days.
I also noticed that both our HL accounts now show an empty SIPP, so I’m taking it that they have received the SIPP transfer forms and are starting the transfer process for those as well.
7
Tuesday
30/01/24
3 emails were received from Interactive Investor confirming my ISA transfer is now in progress. So it looks like I’m about 1 week behind MAFF due to the Hargreaves Lansdown error, which is not a major issue for me.7
Friday
02/02/24
Letter arrived from HL confirming they have received my SIPP transfer request.10
Monday
05/02/24
MAFF had the same letter as above from HL, confirming they have received her SIPP transfer request.
Noticed that my ISA had transferred across.
11
Wednesday
07/02/24
Secure email from HL confirming they had corrected an error I had reported to them re 2 funds they have set up as the USD version rather than the GBP version (see ‘Experience End-to-End’ section below for more details)13
Wednesday
14/02/24
Secure message from HL was sent to MAFF regarding her SIPP transfer. HL are sending her a ‘discharge form’ in the post which she needs to complete and send by post to Interactive Investor.

We wait with bated breath to send our ‘discharge’ in the post 🙂
18
Tuesday
20/02/24
Having sent MAFFs discharge form off in the post to Interactive Investor yesterday, I realised it has been some time since I heard anything about my pension transfer.

Phoned HL to be told that they have been waiting for II to send them my discharge forms since the 29th Jan. They have said they’ll chase II. If I don’t hear anything from HL by the end of the week I’ll chase II myself.
22

The Experience End-to-End

Would I Transfer Investments Accounts Again?

6 thoughts on “Transferring Investment Accounts – And Getting Paid For It”

  1. Hey. Is this a typo and should be HL?

    Step 2 – was to initiate the transfer of both the ISA & the SIPP from Interactive Investor.

    Reply
  2. Hey! the ‘transfer an ISA for a new customer’ journey is still broken. So I’ve opened a fund and share account to then initiate the ISA transfer. can’t believe I have to wait for a letter in the post to get online access though! that’s crazy.

    Reply
  3. So, HL did the same and bought USD versions of a couple ETFs. IGLN instead of SGLN. VWRD instead of VWRP. I spoke to them and they are rectifying and claimed their system is isin based and this was the reason as these products have the same isin…

    Reply
    • Hi – Yes, exactly the same with me. The ISIN numbers were the same for both the USD & GBP versions. They then used the SEDOL numbers, which are unique, to confirm their mistake and rectified it. Makes you wonder how many times this must happen and why they don’t just use the SEDOL numbers in the first place.

      Reply

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