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ATON (Account Transfer Online Notification) - is an electronic transfer method that eliminates the physical exchange of paper documentation between brokerage institutions in Canada (signed documents are still required to begin the process).

ACATS (Automated Customer Account Transfer Service) - is an almost entirely electronic system that executes the transfer of financial securities from a trading account at one institution to the trading account at another in the United States.

Do these systems have some sort of interoperability that allows them to perform cross-border transfers? How do cross-border securities transfers between the USA and Canada usually happen? Does anyone have any insight into this process and what happens under the hood?

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  • Have you asked your broker?
    – littleadv
    Jun 20, 2023 at 5:53
  • @littleadv Getting conflicting answers.
    – AlanSTACK
    Jun 20, 2023 at 6:03

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All stock and ETF transfers from the USA to Canada are non-ACATS transfers. These transfers typically take 1-2 weeks and are carried out through email and fax, (usually not through physical snail mail).

The process mainly involves the back offices of the respective financial institutions conducting various manual security confirmation steps with each other before finalizing the asset transfer.

They will deduct the assets from your sending institution before depositing the funds into your receiving institution a few days later. Remember to have $50-$150 in your brokerage account to cover the transfer fee!

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