Switching « Back to Glossary Index

Switching refers to the act of transferring or reallocating investments from one venue to another. This could involve changing money between different funds, moving a brokerage account to a different broker, or selling securities to invest in others. Switching can sometimes incur costs and requires careful consideration and due diligence to ensure profitability and minimize risks.

What is Switching?

  • Switching denotes shifting or balancing investments from one stage to another. Basically, it defines the process under which a share or investment gets transferred or changed accordingly.
  • When investors decide to replace the invested money between different funds, including transferring a brokerage account with another broker, either sell out of securities for an exchange under different securities. 
  • The switching process is sometimes associated with costs based on requirements, etc.

Keys Points on Switching

  • Switching is possible if any person or organization changes its investment process.
  • Usually, switching implies when there is a shifting in money in between various mutual funds, etc., using different techniques such as converting money in various share classes or reallocating funds to achieve different prospects.
  •  It is also supposed to be when an organization’s investment portfolio shifts either from one broker to another.

Knowing a Switch

  • Basically, it is a technique used in the trading sector when investors approach the near month and make the invested money to open a later-month contract.
  • It helps to change an investor’s status within a contract, reaching its expiry dates.
  • Equities stocks have no expiry dates; thus, switching cannot be used.

Knowing Switching Costs

  • Basically, it is charged when consumers used to change their brands, suppliers and products.
  • Most costs are incurred in the form of a monetary nature, along with psychological, effort-based, and time-based switching costs.
  • It can be a result in terms of high and low switching costs.
  • Usually, establishments are established to slow down the switching process, such as high customer costs.

Switching Working Process

  • When any investor wishes to transfer his money investments mainly from one investment to another, a switching process comes into existence. However, various companies in the real world permit their investors to transfer or shift their share assets from them to different share classes or in other funds. Investors must consider it as they feel so to move their investment or there is a need for the time being, etc.


  • Fund exchange policies under the fund prospectus are discussed in it. Usually, funds provide exchange conditions that permit every shareholder to get a transfer or rebalance their fund assets in another fund free of cost.   E.g. In case an investor acquires to exchange his own fund for a higher value-added fund, then he needs to cover the difference between those funds, while if any investor chooses to exchange his fund for a low-value fund, he will get a capital gain, etc.

Brokerage Account

  • During the transfer process of assets from one brokerage to another, the investor needs to get involved in the switching process, possibly for investors, an outcome of many reasons in deciding to transfer brokers in order to save on fees, gain in terms of wider research, etc.
  • Mainly, firms permit switching in-kind brokerage account transfers, which helps their customers to easily change their existing investments from one to another without selling out their investments and easily transfer cash. Such switching does not incur costs for customers.

Types of Switching Costs

Costs under switching can be classified into two categories, including low and high switching costs. Variation among prices depends on the grounds of easy transfer and the availability of the same products with other competitors.

Low Switching Costs

Those products or services can easily be replicated using the comparable prices by existing competitors in the market charged with low switching costs on consumers by various companies. The clothing industry allows very low costs for consumers as they can easily find good clothing deals by moving from one store to another.

High Switching Cost

Unique goods or products manufactured by companies usually offer few alternatives to their customers and need significant efforts in their use and high switching costs. Intuit Inc. (INTU) has different bookkeeping software solutions for its consumers. Learning through using such applications requires good effort, training costs and a number of hours. Less consumer opts for switching. Meanwhile, small businesses who subscribe to such bookkeeping solutions can face difficulties, financial risk, etc., if they opt to switch from Intuit Inc.-like applications.

Common Switching Costs

Mainly, existing companies charge different costs to their customers who wish to shift from them and opt for their competitors, etc. Common Switching costs are-

  • Convenience- Many companies usually have different product store locations, enabling their customers to purchase goods easily. In case existing competitors have the same goods or products with lower value and are far away from reach. Obviously, the consumer will select the option to purchase the product of higher cost just because of their availability or convenience.
  • Emotional- Various establishments prefer to continue business with the old suppliers instead of choosing the new one because it requires a lot of costs to find a new supplier and create good relations between them, etc.
  • Exit Fees- Many corporations charge exit fees from their consumers or clients on their leaving. Usually, a company mention such fees as an administrative charge on leaving or closing any account because companies never want to lose customers and thus tack/chase their customers till the end of their leaving. 

Drawbacks on Switching

  • Usually, transferring investments is associated with huge higher costs from time to time. In case any individual wants to exchange his securities under a non-transferable investment, it’s mandatory for him/her to get liquidate status and then reinvest by using the cash amount received through the liquidation process for his/her initial securities in order to buy the new one securities.
  •  Mainly, switching under the same condition is attributed to high switching costs just because of the brokerage or commission fees charged within the whole process to sell out and purchase another security. Moreover, Investors proceed if there is a possibility of getting higher returns in other securities.
  • Switching of shares/investments requires a number of paperwork to complete, involving the holding periods unnecessarily between the purchase and sale process; thus, all investment assets convert into illiquid stocks.    

Need to consider while switching.

To decrease the financial risk and limit the duration of time on the switching process, the most important thing an investor needs to complete his/her due diligence process. It will be more beneficial for investors to work with an investment company that offers switching costs free of cost.

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