Wants to switch advisors

Question: I am not happy with the financial institution that currently administers my portfolio and would like to end my relationship with them. How do I end the relationship and, after that, what are my options? My portfolio consists of one locked-in and one non-locked-in retirement account. The accounts have a mixture of mutual funds and stocks and cash. Thank you for your help. – W.S. (Disappointed Investor)


You end the relationship simply by telling the financial institution you are doing so. Before you take that step, however, I suggest that you request a meeting with a senior person, such as the branch manager, to discuss the problems. If they can be resolved internally, you’ll save yourself some time and expense.

If you still want to make a move, then your first step is to find another financial institution with which you are comfortable. This may require some work on your part, since you want to be sure that the frustrations you have experienced in the past won’t be repeated.

I suggest you make a detailed list of your complaints about the current holder of your plans. Then interview two or three prospective new financial stitutions and specifically ask about their policies in relation to the trouble spots. You should also talk directly to the person who will be in charge of handling your plans to get some idea of how he or she will operate and his or her knowledge level about investing. Be aware, however, that the staff turnover rate in many banks is very high, so your contact person could change by next month.

The new financial institution you select will handle the paperwork to arrange for your accounts to be switched over. There is usually a small fee involved to transfer an account; see if you can persuade your new institution to pick up that expense. After all, you’re bringing them business. – G.P.  (July 2003)

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