Why does Vanguard requires medallion for MM IRA Transfer

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mrc
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Why does Vanguard requires medallion for MM IRA Transfer

Post by mrc »

Wife and I want to transfer our Roth IRAs from TIAA to Vanguard. I moved the funds into the TIAA-CREF Money Market Fund (Retirement, TIEXX for those keeping score). Because this is a money market fund, it should be liquidated and the funds transferred in cash to a like-titled Roth at Vanguard.

Yet the Vanguard paperwork includes a medallion signature on the authorization form! :x

Obtaining the medallion signature is doable, but non-trivial, and I really don't see why (given the nature of what is being moved and with no change in ownership), this move should require anything more than a Notary.

Does anyone know why this is? Is it just easier for Vanguard to slap a medallion sig on every transfer request? Given other thread(s) on how much Vanguard's customer service is lacking, I'm having second thoughts about moving these accounts.

<I did search for this and find a lot of variations but nothing specific>
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livesoft
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Re: Why does Vanguard requires medallion for MM IRA Transfer

Post by livesoft »

I don't know, but why not just submit form without MSG and see what happens? Are you in a rush or are you OK if it gets kicked back to you?
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kd2008
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Re: Why does Vanguard requires medallion for MM IRA Transfer

Post by kd2008 »

Medallion signature guarantee requires the grantor of medallion to verify that the person listed on the form is you. And they will record date, time and mode of verification in their logs like driver's license etc. Vanguard can go back to the grantor and verify what happened and what was done.

Notary is not required to do this. Therefore is a lot less "official" Vanguard cannot trace back to the notary reliably.

I actually like that Vanguard requires it.
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Re: Why does Vanguard requires medallion for MM IRA Transfer

Post by hicabob »

I transferred some individual stock to one of my kids from my Vanguard account to his. They required a medallion which involved making an appointment, going to Wells Fargo, sitting down with a banker and explaining the transaction prior to getting signed off. It's a pain but I could see it being invaluable in helping stop elder financial abuse or other such shenanigans.
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Re: Why does Vanguard requires medallion for MM IRA Transfer

Post by retiredjg »

I'm under the impression that it is the losing end of the transaction that requires the medallion signature, not the receiving end. If that is correct, the requirement (if it exists at all) would be on TIAA, not Vanguard.

The fact that there is a line on the paperwork does not mean you have to have it. It's just a place to put it if needed.

In my case, a medallion signature was not required even though there was a place for it on the form. I believe it has something to do with the amount of money that is being transferred. It's a good thing cause I had no place to get one done. :D
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mrc
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Re: Why does Vanguard requires medallion for MM IRA Transfer

Post by mrc »

So, thinking about livesoft and retiredjg said, I re-read the form closely. On the medallion page:
Important: Before completing the Your authorization, Letter of authorization to Vanguard Brokerage Services, and Medallion Signature Guarantee sections of this form, refer to the instructions at the beginning of this document for details about who must sign and whether a Medallion signature guarantee is required.
Say what? Now the first page, somewhat buried in what looks like boilerplate ... Letter of authorization section:
Who should complete: If the account owners and/or registration types on the Vanguard account and the current firm account DON’T MATCH, you MUST complete this section and have ALL owners of the Vanguard account and the current firm account sign.
Signature guarantee requirements: You MUST obtain a Medallion signature guarantee for all signatures in this section.
Given this, I think we will send in the forms without the medallion. Appreciate the thought reset!
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Re: Why does Vanguard requires medallion for MM IRA Transfer

Post by aj44 »

It is a pain, my credit union doesn't offer it and the couple of banks around here that would do it require an account. I have only needed it one time and I ended up selling and buying again taking a small tax hit when even Vanguard could not find someone in my area that could do it for me. In my view it is a relic that is not applied appropriately to risk. Make a 100k purchase originating from my bank account no problem, move 20k from one taxable account to another it is Medallion Signature for you!
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Re: Why does Vanguard requires medallion for MM IRA Transfer

Post by retiredjg »

mrc wrote:
Who should complete: If the account owners and/or registration types on the Vanguard account and the current firm account DON’T MATCH, you MUST complete this section and have ALL owners of the Vanguard account and the current firm account sign.
In the context of that form, what do you think that means?

It sounds like if your Vanguard account is Robert John Jones and your 401k account is Robert J. Jones, you'd have to get the signature. Is that what you think that means?
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Re: Why does Vanguard requires medallion for MM IRA Transfer

Post by krow36 »

retiredjg wrote:I'm under the impression that it is the losing end of the transaction that requires the medallion signature, not the receiving end. If that is correct, the requirement (if it exists at all) would be on TIAA, not Vanguard.

The fact that there is a line on the paperwork does not mean you have to have it. It's just a place to put it if needed.

In my case, a medallion signature was not required even though there was a place for it on the form. I believe it has something to do with the amount of money that is being transferred. It's a good thing cause I had no place to get one done. :D
I think retiredjg has it exactly right (as usual). In a 3 way phone conversation between a relative, Vanguard and American Funds (the loosing end), AF was asked if they required a Medallion Signature on the Vanguard transfer form. They said not if the transfer was for less than $250k.
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Re: Why does Vanguard requires medallion for MM IRA Transfer

Post by mrc »

retiredjg wrote:
mrc wrote:
Who should complete: If the account owners and/or registration types on the Vanguard account and the current firm account DON’T MATCH, you MUST complete this section and have ALL owners of the Vanguard account and the current firm account sign.
In the context of that form, what do you think that means?

It sounds like if your Vanguard account is Robert John Jones and your 401k account is Robert J. Jones, you'd have to get the signature. Is that what you think that means?
Yes I do. The registrations are identical, and the Vanguard application app asked that, and I selected the "they are identical" selection. Yet, it appears that fact doesn't make it into the generated form.
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Re: Why does Vanguard requires medallion for MM IRA Transfer

Post by celia »

retiredjg wrote:
mrc wrote:
Who should complete: If the account owners and/or registration types on the Vanguard account and the current firm account DON’T MATCH, you MUST complete this section and have ALL owners of the Vanguard account and the current firm account sign.
In the context of that form, what do you think that means?

It sounds like if your Vanguard account is Robert John Jones and your 401k account is Robert J. Jones, you'd have to get the signature. Is that what you think that means?
No, it means that if you are transferring to/from a joint (eg, checking) account to an individual account, it would be required. If you are transferring to/from a trust account to a joint account (even if the two names are the same as trustees and joint owners), it is required. If you are transferring to/from a TIRA at one institution to a Roth at another (while converting or recharacterizating), it would be required.

Some? custodians may overlook the absence/presence of a middle name if the SSNs match. I have seen accounts transfer successfully even when a person's name was misspelled on one of the accounts.

OP, Suppose you were to transfer in the other direction. Would the MSG be Required? My guess is "yes".
Last edited by celia on Wed Jan 18, 2017 3:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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mrc
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Re: Why does Vanguard requires medallion for MM IRA Transfer

Post by mrc »

celia wrote: OP, Suppose you were to transfer in the other direction. Would the MSG be Required? My guess is "yes".
Again, I don't see why. I'm moving my (<$50K) Roth from Custodian A to Custodian B. Same exact registration "First Middle Last" and the starting fund holds money market funds only. No equities. No joint-to-single, no trust. Not even tIRA to Roth.

When DW moved an individual stock from one broker to the other, then an MSG made sense: She moved stock.
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Re: Why does Vanguard requires medallion for MM IRA Transfer

Post by retiredjg »

I'd do what livesoft recommended. Send off the form without it and see what happens. I'll bet it goes just fine.
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Re: Why does Vanguard requires medallion for MM IRA Transfer

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

Just as some points: when I moved a quarter mill from a Fidelity IRA to Vanguard, I attained no notarized signature and have never needed a medallion signature ever for anything (although I can get them at my credit union for free).

When moving a very small 403b from another company (might have been New York Life), we had to fill out a 15 page form that was so confusing, we made our first trip ever to a Fidelity brick and mortar office and had them help fill it out and they notarized it. Again, no medallion.

Maybe just move it to Fidelity instead. You might be able to do it completely online with no mailings, no notarizations. Or it could be the "from" company requiring this.
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Re: Why does Vanguard requires medallion for MM IRA Transfer

Post by c078342 »

From time to time over the last few years, I have transferred cash from an IRA custodian back to Vanguard where it could at least earn a minimal return. The custodian IRA wanted a Medallion guarantee. Sometime last year I went to BoA where I have accounts seeking such a guarantee, and was told they no longer did this. In talking to Vanguard, they sympathized and suggested I sent them the paperwork without the guarantee and they would submit it. Transfer happened with no problem. Did this again and transfer went fine. The forms no longer mention a Medallion guarantee.
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Re: Why does Vanguard requires medallion for MM IRA Transfer

Post by celia »

mrc wrote:
celia wrote: OP, Suppose you were to transfer in the other direction. Would the MSG be Required? My guess is "yes".
Again, I don't see why. I'm moving my (<$50K) Roth from Custodian A to Custodian B. Same exact registration "First Middle Last" and the starting fund holds money market funds only. No equities. No joint-to-single, no trust. Not even tIRA to Roth.

When DW moved an individual stock from one broker to the other, then an MSG made sense: She moved stock.
It is probably part of the "know your customer" legal requirement for custodians as well as ensuring possibly different parties (account owners) on both sides approve of the transaction.

Your bank also has the responsibility to "know you" (as a way to prevent drug money and money laundering). How can one expect mega-investment companies to "know" their customers? That would be very expensive.
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Re: Why does Vanguard requires medallion for MM IRA Transfer

Post by jazman12 »

hicabob wrote:I transferred some individual stock to one of my kids from my Vanguard account to his. They required a medallion which involved making an appointment, going to Wells Fargo, sitting down with a banker and explaining the transaction prior to getting signed off. It's a pain but I could see it being invaluable in helping stop elder financial abuse or other such shenanigans.
I just transferred stock from my fido brokerage account into my child's custodial account at fido and all it took was filling out a transfer application online (it takes about 5 days to process)
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Re: Why does Vanguard requires medallion for MM IRA Transfer

Post by Northern Flicker »

If you are submitting paperwork to Vanguard for them to engage with TIAA-CREF to get the funds on your behalf, then TIAA-CREF will require your MSG on the paperwork Vanguard sends to them on your behalf. This is because the check is not being sent to a physical address or bank account with description in their records for your account. Vanguard will then ask you for the MSG to meet the requirements.

You can ask TC for a check made out to Vanguard (I think the correct designation is Vanguard Fiduciary Trust - Fund No - FBO your Roth IRA) and have the check mailed to you, and then you send that to Vanguard with the rollover paperwork (this keeps it as a direct trustee-to-trustee transfer). Not recommended, but you can also do an actual rollover and withdraw the funds and deposit as a rollover to the new account within 60 days. This has the risk that a ball gets dropped somewhere and it becomes a taxable distribution).

If you call Vanguard and ask if they will support the trustee transfer method where you receive the check and forward it to vanguard, you likely won't need a MSG for Vanguard. TIAA-CREF may still require it.
I just transferred stock from my fido brokerage account into my child's custodial account at fido and all it took was filling out a transfer application online (it takes about 5 days to process)
This is a very different type of transaction.
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Re: Why does Vanguard requires medallion for MM IRA Transfer

Post by retiredjg »

jalbert wrote:If you are submitting paperwork to Vanguard for them to engage with TIAA-CREF to get the funds on your behalf, then TIAA-CREF will require your MSG on the paperwork Vanguard sends to them on your behalf. This is becsuse the check is not being sent to a physical address or bank account with description in their records for your account. Vanguard will then ask you for the MSG to meet the requirements.

You can ask TC for a check made out to Vanguard (I think the correct designation is Vanguard Fiduciary Trust - Fund No - FBO your Roth IRA) and have the check mailed to you, and then you send that to Vanguard with the rollover paperwork (this keeps it as a direct trustee-to-trustee transfer).
This finally makes things make sense. Didn't realize there was a work around. Thanks.
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Re: Why does Vanguard requires medallion for MM IRA Transfer

Post by mrc »

retiredjg wrote:
jalbert wrote:...
This finally makes things make sense. Didn't realize there was a work around. Thanks.
Yes it does. There's more going on that meets the eye.
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Re: Why does Vanguard requires medallion for MM IRA Transfer

Post by Big Dog »

I transferred some individual stock to one of my kids from my Vanguard account to his.
Just received an e-mail from my Flagship rep yesterday and he said as long as the adult kid's account was with Vanguard, no medallion sig necessary (which is good bcos BofA no longer does them, and I have no other retail branch account).

fwiw: when I transferred some stuff from a Fidelity IRA account to Vanguard IRA last year, no medallion was required.
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Re: Why does Vanguard requires medallion for MM IRA Transfer

Post by toto238 »

mrc wrote:Wife and I want to transfer our Roth IRAs from TIAA to Vanguard. I moved the funds into the TIAA-CREF Money Market Fund (Retirement, TIEXX for those keeping score). Because this is a money market fund, it should be liquidated and the funds transferred in cash to a like-titled Roth at Vanguard.

Yet the Vanguard paperwork includes a medallion signature on the authorization form! :x

Obtaining the medallion signature is doable, but non-trivial, and I really don't see why (given the nature of what is being moved and with no change in ownership), this move should require anything more than a Notary.

Does anyone know why this is? Is it just easier for Vanguard to slap a medallion sig on every transfer request? Given other thread(s) on how much Vanguard's customer service is lacking, I'm having second thoughts about moving these accounts.

<I did search for this and find a lot of variations but nothing specific>
Whether a Medallion Signature Guarantee is needed is usually the requirement of the firm that is losing the assets. If TIAA doesn't require it, don't bother getting it.
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Re: Why does Vanguard requires medallion for MM IRA Transfer

Post by Kevin M »

Just because the IRA transfer form has a space for a signature guarantee does not mean you need to get a signature guarantee.

It is the sending custodian, not the receiving custodian who decides whether or not a signature guarantee is required. So in your case it is up to TIAA-CREF. You should ask them if they require it.

I have done many IRA transfers between many different custodians, including into and out of Vanguard, and almost none of them required a signature guarantee. The only custodian who ever did was Ally Bank, and they no longer require it (I found this out on my last IRA transfer out of Ally after having some problems getting the signature guarantee, and upon calling them they told me they no longer require it).

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Re: Why does Vanguard requires medallion for MM IRA Transfer

Post by pennstater2005 »

I've transferred assets from my wife's Simple IRA at State Farm to her Vanguard account. I see the same Medallion signature are but have never completed it. Just her signature above it and mail it in. It's been accepted every time. The money goes from a State Farm MM fund to her Vanguard money market settlement fund, then into her TIRA.
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Re: Why does Vanguard requires medallion for MM IRA Transfer

Post by Kevin M »

pennstater2005 wrote:I've transferred assets from my wife's Simple IRA at State Farm to her Vanguard account. I see the same Medallion signature are but have never completed it. Just her signature above it and mail it in. It's been accepted every time. The money goes from a State Farm MM fund to her Vanguard money market settlement fund, then into her TIRA.
This is because State Farm did not require it. What State Farm requires has no bearing on what TIAA-CREF requires, but your case is another example of "just because there's a space for the signature guarantee doesn't mean you need to use it".

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Re: Why does Vanguard requires medallion for MM IRA Transfer

Post by pennstater2005 »

Kevin M wrote:
pennstater2005 wrote:I've transferred assets from my wife's Simple IRA at State Farm to her Vanguard account. I see the same Medallion signature are but have never completed it. Just her signature above it and mail it in. It's been accepted every time. The money goes from a State Farm MM fund to her Vanguard money market settlement fund, then into her TIRA.
This is because State Farm did not require it. What State Farm requires has no bearing on what TIAA-CREF requires, but your case is another example of "just because there's a space for the signature guarantee doesn't mean you need to use it".

Kevin
Right. But, it's a little confusing the first time using the form. The verbiage made it seem like you may need to.
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Re: Why does Vanguard requires medallion for MM IRA Transfer

Post by Northern Flicker »

I would not do business with a provider that would be willing to transfer my funds to some unverified account in my name at another institution in response to an unauthenticated request.
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mrc
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Re: Why does Vanguard requires medallion for MM IRA Transfer

Post by mrc »

pennstater2005 wrote: Right. But, it's a little confusing the first time using the form. The verbiage made it seem like you may need to.
My sentiments exactly the space implies the MSG is required. I don't manage rollover/transfers for a living and have only done a couple. Folks say it's better to pull funds (go through the new custodian) than to push them (from the current custodian). Yet it's the "from" that determines the need for a MSG, so Vanguard prints the (small print: maybe optional) MSG on the transfer forms. Makes sense now.

It's not like these transfers are rare: I wish there were some sort of universal form, like a HUD-1 for closing real estate, for conducting a custodian transfer. It would be easy to ask TIAA if they require a MSG or not for an IRA-1 custodian transfer. :wink:

We've been with TIAA since the 80s, so they know their customer.
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Re: Why does Vanguard requires medallion for MM IRA Transfer

Post by NotWhoYouThink »

My bank does not do MSG unless you are a private banking client, which we have decided not to be. I transferred money from a bank joint account to a Vanguard trust account without the MSG, but did have to call in and use the Vanguard voice system.

We then transferred DH's inherited trust from Wells Fargo to Vanguard. The WF Advisor would have had to increase his responsiveness by an order of magnitude to be considered unhelpful. We showed up at his office uninvited with the form and calmly but persistently insisted that he get the MSG person to his office to sign the form right then. He did, under protest, and we got the signature. DH's concern was that WF would refuse to do the transfer without the signature (after refusing to set up an appointment to get the signature). It all worked out.
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Re: Why does Vanguard requires medallion for MM IRA Transfer

Post by Kevin M »

mrc wrote:
pennstater2005 wrote: Right. But, it's a little confusing the first time using the form. The verbiage made it seem like you may need to.
My sentiments exactly the space implies the MSG is required.
If you say so, but it seems pretty clear to me. My first couple of IRA transfers were to Vanguard using their form, and I just followed the instructions. On the second page, under section "The transfer process at a glance":
Sign and date in Section 7, and obtain a Medallion signature guarantee if required by the financial institution currently holding your assets.
Then in the signature section, to the left of the signature space:
If your current
financial institution
requires a Medallion
signature guarantee
,
DO NOT sign this
form until you’re in
the presence of an
authorized officer
Then above the signature guarantee space:
Medallion signature guarantee if required
Yes, "if required" is in a smaller font, but I don't see how you'd miss it.

So there are three places in the document where "if required" is mentioned, and two where it clarifies that it's your current financial institution (the financial institution currently holding your assets) that determines whether or not it's required. So simply reading the document carefully should make it clear that it's not Vanguard who requires the signature guarantee (answering the question in the post title).

You do have to read these forms carefully, and sometimes it is confusing exactly what you need to fill in for some items, so if in doubt, I just pick up the phone and call to ask for clarification.

I will note that most IRA transfer forms I've used are a single page, while Vanguard's "IRA Transfer Kit" is 42 pages, and the form itself is 9 pages (not including the mailing instruction page).

Also, most IRA transfer forms I've used don't have a specific section for the signature guarantee, but often do mention to check with your current financial institution to see if it's required. This is what led to some difficulties on my last transfer. The receiving custodian's form did not have a designated space for the signature guarantee, and my local credit union would not do a signature guarantee without a designated space for it. While sitting with the signer at my CU, I called the receiving custodian to see if they could provide a form with a designated space for the signature guarantee, and they could not. So I finally called Ally, the current custodian who had previously required a signature guarantee, and that's when the Ally rep told me they no longer required it.

I had previously obtained signature guarantees from a local Fidelity office on the same or similar transfer form, and they just squeezed in the stamp and signature anywhere it would fit. However, when I went to a different local Fidelity office for this last transfer, they would not do it for non-Fidelity forms. Incidentally, that pissed me off, so I moved most of the rest of my IRA assets at Fidelity to a credit union to get a 5-year CD paying 2.7% (a good thing anyway).
It's not like these transfers are rare: I wish there were some sort of universal form, like a HUD-1 for closing real estate, for conducting a custodian transfer.
Agreed. Unlike the Vanguard form, the forms used by most banks and credit unions are very similar (one page), and sometimes even identical, and interestingly, almost never if at all have a designated space for a signature guarantee (at least the many I've used). There's usually not even enough space at the bottom for the signature guarantee, so it has to be squeezed in sideways where there's a little blank space on the right side of the form.

I found it very ironic that my credit union that would not do a SG without a designated space did not have a designated space for one on their own transfer form! Before I found at Ally no longer required it, I was considering doing an intermediate transfer to my credit union, and so asked her, "OK, so if I do a transfer here using your form, how are you going to provide a signature guarantee since there's no designated space for it?" That stumped her for awhile, and then she found some language on the form that she said would satisfy their auditor.

So a standard form with a designated section for a signature guarantee would be useful, although again, requiring a signature guarantee is very rare in my experience (now non-existent with Ally's policy change).

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