Brokerage account empty, not closed

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Brokerage account empty, not closed

Postby NAD83 » Tue Jul 02, 2013 9:37 am

I decided to switch brokerages over a year ago, from Waddell & Reed to Vanguard. I first stopped automatic withdrawals. Then I made the transfer of funds. I did all of this through either Vanguard or Waddell customer service, not my advisor.

When I last spoke to the Waddell rep to actually close the account, he said he couldn't close it immediately. It wasn't clear exactly why, but my account was $0 and I made sure there were no inactivity charges or any charges that would be incurred.

There was a small amount of dividends that had accrued after the transfer ($17) which I believe was mailed to me in check form. Otherwise the account has been inactive for over a year. I wasn't charged any closing costs or anything. I check it ocassionally online and nothing. I don't receive statements, as the balance is zero.

Anyway, I've always been suspect of this move. Is it because they hope I may decide to put some money back in the account? Am I missing something? I've never called back to try and completely close it again. I don't want to lose the approximately $200 for closing two accounts (although, how would they get that? Bill me?)
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Re: Brokerage account empty, not closed

Postby PacNorWest » Tue Jul 02, 2013 9:55 am

In a similar vein, we had a trust account with Vanguard through which passed our inheritance funds.
We zero'd out the balance and, like your situation, the fund sat empty. About five years passed before Vanguard quietly removed the account from my account list.
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Re: Brokerage account empty, not closed

Postby Default User BR » Tue Jul 02, 2013 4:15 pm

I have three accounts at Wells Fargo with zero balances. One is TIRA I used for some rollover stuff that hasn't had anything in it since March 2010. I wouldn't worry about it.


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Re: Brokerage account empty, not closed

Postby Watty » Tue Jul 02, 2013 4:47 pm

It wasn't clear exactly why


By leaving it where it can still be accessed you can still sign on and get any old statements or tax forms that you might need.
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Re: Brokerage account empty, not closed

Postby frugaltype » Tue Jul 02, 2013 5:19 pm

I have a zero balance account laying around at Vanguard. I forget why they told me they do that when I phoned in. I ignore it.

I have closed accounts elsewhere (Schwab, maybe?) and they took them off the website immediately, after which I learned to dump the statements before doing that.
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Re: Brokerage account empty, not closed

Postby wilpat » Tue Jul 02, 2013 5:23 pm

I have one a Wells Fargo, but they call it an "inactive" account.
Contrary to the belief of many, profit is not a four letter word!
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Re: Brokerage account empty, not closed

Postby bertilak » Tue Jul 02, 2013 6:01 pm

Watty wrote:
It wasn't clear exactly why


By leaving it where it can still be accessed you can still sign on and get any old statements or tax forms that you might need.

I think this is the key. There must be federal regulations about maintaining the data and access to it for some time (7 years?). Keeping an account alive may be the simplest way to do that.
I have a strong moral sense - by my standards. | -- Rex Stout
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Re: Brokerage account empty, not closed

Postby Default User BR » Wed Jul 03, 2013 1:14 am

Watty wrote:
It wasn't clear exactly why


By leaving it where it can still be accessed you can still sign on and get any old statements or tax forms that you might need.

That's a good point. An annoyance when I closed at TD Ameritrade was that the online login no longer worked. If I end up needing anything, I'll either have to get them to send me stuff or re-enable the account access.


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Re: Brokerage account empty, not closed

Postby NAD83 » Wed Jul 03, 2013 10:28 am

But don't they want their $95 per account (or whatever it is) for closing them? Maybe had I gone through my broker he would have made that withdrawal. There is no way they can get that now, right?

They bent me over in many other respects, so I guess I just don't trust them, which is why I'm uneasy. But I'm not going to worry about it.
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Re: Brokerage account empty, not closed

Postby SHB » Wed Jul 03, 2013 12:15 pm

Well they probably would have a hard time forcing the close of an account AND charge a $95 closing fee. At the end of the day the real cost of keeping these types of account open is minimal and keeping them open atleast raises the chance and ease for you to return in their eyes.

I wouldn't worry about it.
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Re: Brokerage account empty, not closed

Postby Default User BR » Wed Jul 03, 2013 4:01 pm

NAD83 wrote:But don't they want their $95 per account (or whatever it is) for closing them?

Are you sure they didn't already? Wells Fargo takes it when the balance drops below the closing fee.


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