Demat accounts are a convenient way of transacting in the stock market.  With the click of a button, you can buy or sell shares, besides investing in other financial instruments. Trading with demat accounts is enabled by stockbrokers who act as intermediaries to the stock exchanges – the NSE and the BSE. With the era of online trading, different brokers provide different online trading platforms with their own unique interfaces loaded with features and tools that allow traders to study and analyze the markets before entering trading positions. Since brokers provide a service, they also levy fees for the service known as a brokerage that may vary from one broker to another. As a result, it is not uncommon for users to transfer shares from one broker to another as they may feel that the services being offered by another broker are superior or the charges being levied are more economical. However, unlike in many other countries, the process of brokerage account transfer in India is not always very simple. Read on to find out more about how to transfer shares between brokers.

How to Transfer Shares From One Broker to Another

To better understand the brokerage account transfer process, it is important to understand the architecture of the financial system that allows dematerialized transactions. Your broker or depository participant is registered with a central depository – either the NSDL or the CSDL. The depository is the place where all stocks are held in dematerialized form. Given the large volume of stocks, depositories operate through intermediaries known as depository participants or DPs. Often the DP is the same as your broker. Each DP or broker is registered with either one of the two central depositories – the NSDL or CSDL. This is why the process of brokerage account transfer is relatively simple when you are moving between two brokers registered with the same depository than it is when you are moving between brokers registered with different depositories.  With this in mind, we look at the various scenarios that arise when you want to transfer shares from one broker to another and the possible complications in each case.

  1. Transfer Between the Same Depository and No Credits Due

This is a fairly simple case. In case you have credits or debits due on your account with the present broker, and you are transferring to a broker under the same central depository, then you can initiate the brokerage account transfer process yourself and there are no additional permissions required.

  1. Transfer Between Different Depositories

In case you are transferring to a broker registered with a different depository than your current one, then you need to submit a Debit Instruction Slip (DIS) to your present broker in order to transfer shares between brokers. This process can take up to two business days. Once it is done, you may close the existing demat account with the broker and start trading with the new one. Make sure to get a stamped acknowledgment of demat account closure from your old broker.

  1. Transferring Account But With Open Positions in the Market

This is a fairly common scenario as it is not always possible to time one’s brokerage account transfer process with exiting the open market positions. The process is fairly simple and hassle-free in the case of equities. All your open positions are transferred to your new account. However, in the case of Futures and Options (F&O) positions, this may not be possible. So it is advisable that you close any open F&O positions before transferring your account to a different broker. In case you have any debits or credits due in the account, these will have to be cleared first. Debits are any charges you need to pay to the broker, and credits are any amounts due to you by the broker. Make sure you take acknowledgment of the cleared debits/credits from the broker to avoid any issues in the future.

  1. Transferring Account With Credits Due

This is usually the most complex scenario in the brokerage account transfer process. Credit here means anything due to you. It could either be shares that you placed a buy order for, but which have not yet been credited to your demat account. Alternatively, it may mean that you have sold certain shares and the proceeds have not yet been credited to your demat account. In each case, you are owed something from the broker in the middle of the brokerage transfer process and these have been held back by the broker. To deal with such a situation, you can deploy a 3 step approach:

1. Check if there are any debts due to your broker from your account. It is likely that the broker may have held back your credit on account of these dues. If this is the case, authorize your broker to deduct these dues from your credit.

2. In case, the matter is not resolved by the previous step, you should immediately write a letter to your broker to credit any amounts or equities due to you with immediate effect. In most cases, the broker transfers your credit within a week. Once this is done you should close your old demat account.

3. In the rare event that your credits have still not been processed by the broker, you can further escalate the matter by writing to whichever depository (NSDL/CSDL) your broker is affiliated to, along with the relevant stock exchange. (NSE/BSE) You can even consider filing a written complaint with the SEBI as a last resort.

Conclusion

You can transfer shares from one broker to another by following the due process and getting the required clearances. In cases where there are no credits due with the broker, the transfer is simple. However, where you are owed credits by the broker, either in the form of credits to your bank account from shares sold by you, or in the form of equities to be credited to your demat account that were purchased by you, the brokerage account transfer process can become a little complex. However, by following the steps mentioned above, you can easily transfer shares between brokers.