How to Liquidate Stocks

By: Victoria Duff

Stock desk traders are often involved in liquidating large positions for firm clients.

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There are two kinds of stock portfolio liquidation: small portfolio and large portfolio. You can place orders with your stockbroker to sell each individual position if you are liquidating a small portfolio of stocks. Liquidating a large portfolio or holdings of significant amounts concentrated in single stocks is a complex task that requires special professional services of a brokerage or investment advisory firm.

Step 1

Evaluate the holdings you wish to liquidate in terms of their share size, market price and liquidity. A large number of shares or a high market price on your stock are reasons to ask a stockbroker for assistance moving the shares into the market. Low daily volume of transactions in your stock is another indication that you may need professional assistance to sell your stock. If you own stock in a private company you can't sell it on the public markets, so ask a securities attorney how to liquidate the position.

Step 2

Call your stockbroker to discuss your choices in liquidating your stock. Liquidating any stock holding, particularly a large stock portfolio, is a serious undertaking. The liquidation of a large portfolio is tricky and errors in judgment can happen. Get advice and proposals from several investment professionals at different firms.

Step 3

Enter orders as suggested by your financial professional or have the liquidation specialists at your brokerage firm handle your portfolio. If the stock is thinly traded, for example, moving a large block of stock into the market will drop the stock price temporarily. Professional traders can ease the position into the market with minimal effect on the market price, which is something the liquidation specialists or your stockbroker, working with the trading desk, can do for you.


  • You may have to transfer your portfolio to another firm if you do not like the suggestions of your stockbroker but feel more comfortable with the plan offered elsewhere. Do not be daunted. The receiving firm will take care of the paperwork for you and transfer of the entire portfolio can normally be accomplished within a week. If you are liquidating an estate, be prepared to supply the receiving firm with death certificates and any trust documents, wills or documents naming you as trustee.


About the Author

Victoria Duff specializes in entrepreneurial subjects, drawing on her experience as an acclaimed start-up facilitator, venture catalyst and investor relations manager. Since 1995 she has written many articles for e-zines and was a regular columnist for "Digital Coast Reporter" and "Developments Magazine." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in public administration from the University of California at Berkeley.

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