Transferring Investment Institutions? Transfer Your Basis!

Have you ever received a brokerage statement that shows shares owned with a “not available” note where the cost basis should be? This normally indicates that stock was purchased, and then transferred from another investment institution into the current one.

If this has happened, you will remember your accountant asking you to go back to your records and look for documentation on the original purchase. This would include previous investment statements or receipts. If no records exist, next you would get a possible date of purchase and look at the historical price to calculate the basis in the security. Then some research must be done to find if there were any mergers, buyouts, stock dividends, spin-offs, etc. that might affect the basis over time.

To prevent this headache, be sure your brokerage statements or investment institution always has accurate cost basis for each security. If you transfer investment institutions, make sure to give them a list of the cost basis of any securities transferred over. The next important step is to check your first statement to verify they recorded the correct basis. Once this has been confirmed, you are set. You will always be able to call your current investment institution to get a cost basis on anything sold.