I haven't found any info on this. I learned that I cannot bring assets into an ISA (see e.g. here), but there is no mention anywhere about taking assets out of one. I know the government expects to tax anything coming out of an ISA, but that does not mean I have to incur additional expense connected to sale and repurchase.

The background to this is a letter from Barclays informing me that due to Brexit they cannot continue to provide services because I'm in EU. The investment ISA I have with them holds shares in mutual funds from well-known providers (Blackrock, Janus, etc).

My options, as detailed in the letter, are to either liquidate the ISA or to 'transfer my holdings to another provider'. Could I give them contact details for an Interactive Brokers account in my name (for example)? Or is the 'another provider' supposed to mean another ISA provider (in which case the option does not really make much sense)?

2 Answers 2


Two questions here, the most important one is actually whether you can find another ISA provider that will take your business so you can protect the wrapper status for the long term. I'd ring round/explore the big UK brokerage only companies who don't have quite the size of the regulatory headache Barclays may have, and/or may have setup ways to work on this as they're much more nimble and this is far larger percent of their core business.

On the main question, and as you've surmised, very little info on this as it's not something people would ever normally do. Virtually all brokers offer share transfers between ISAs (usually with a fee though, as transferring ownership of shares is a bigger headache for them than sending cash), so even in normal times you're usually better off selling positions before transfers between stock ISAs depending on exact broker and the size of these fee(s).

On moving to a non ISA account, I would guess they might be fine to do this for other brokers who offer ISAs and regular accounts, as it will be all setup in their systems already, may be some issues transferring to non ISA offering broker as won't be on their systems, but one you can only really answer talking to the broker(s) in question (or someone with a deep knowledge of the ISA plumbing jumping in here).

If you can't find anyone who will let you open an ISA under your current status, by far the simplest thing is just selling the whole position, cashing out the money and depositing into a new broker.


Find another ISA provider that will allow the shares you currently hold even though you are EU resident. You will also need to check that they accept transfers of shares (as they are not obliged to do so). I can't say whether you will find any.

Then ask the new provider to transfer the assets in specie from your old ISA to the new provider in an ISA account. Using the proper ISA transfer mechanism protects the tax status of your holdings. This normally involves filling in some forms.

You referred to an answer about adding stock into an ISA, but that answer refers to transferring shares in a non-ISA account to an ISA account (which is not allowed).

Don't sell the shares and take the cash out yourself unless you have no choice. Asking the new ISA provider to transfer assets from the old ISA provider is the only way to maintain tax protection.

The normal management of ISAs and thus ISA transfers should not be affected by you being not resident in the UK. The primary restriction is that a non-UK resident can't subscribe further funds to ISAs.

It is possible to transfer shares from a non-ISA (general investment) account in one provider to a non-ISA account in another. I doubt that you'll be able transfer from an ISA account to a non-ISA account with a different provider.

All transfers typically incur fees from the old provider especially if you transfer shares rather than cash. Barclays might waive the fees in this very specific scenario but you should check your documentation to be sure.

GOV.UK ISAs Moving Abroad

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