Q&A: A $100 fee to close a brokerage account? Really?

Dear Liz: My brokerage recently sent an updated fee list. They now are charging $100 to close an account. That seems an incredibly high fee should I choose to move my investments somewhere else. The fine print says the fee will not apply to anyone who holds at least $5 million in qualifying assets. Well that certainly isn’t me. So they’re hitting those who have the least with a ridiculously high fee when it comes time to end the account. Is this typical across the investment industry?

Answer: Unfortunately, yes, but the usual fee is closer to $75.

Many brokerages have lowered their fees in recent years, with many eliminating commissions. But the account closure fee has stuck around, probably because most people don’t think about the costs of shutting down an account after they’ve opened one.

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