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Transferring Account from ML to Vanguard

Posted: Thu Oct 05, 2017 4:23 pm
by vihila
Hi all, long time lurker and first time poster here.

I have a taxable investment account that I inherited from my grandfather at Merrill Lynch that I would like to move to Vanguard and reallocate to a more balanced portfolio. I have gone as far as contacting Vanguard and finding out that all of the funds except one (VEVCX) can be transferred "in-kind", and the remaining funds can be sold at Vanguard without fees. I was going to ask Merrill to liquidate my VEVCX positions, then initiate the transfer through Vanguard. Once at Vanguard, I was going to liquidate a fair amount, and then start dollar-cost averaging into a more balanced portfolio of primarily Vanguard funds recommended by my financial advisor.

When I talk to my Merrill Lynch broker to liquidate my VEVCX positions, should I disclose that I am switching to Vanguard? I am wondering if my broker would make things difficult for me. Any other advice on executing the transfer?

Re: Transferring Account from ML to Vanguard

Posted: Thu Oct 05, 2017 6:17 pm
by dbr
Why do you need to talk to someone to sell a fund? Can't you access your account online and enter a sell order?

As for process, just have Vanguard initiate a transfer of all your assets.

Re: Transferring Account from ML to Vanguard

Posted: Thu Oct 05, 2017 6:24 pm
by vihila
@dbr, I am new to this and didn't even realize that was an option! It looks like I need to enroll in Online Order Entry by printing and mailing an application to my ML broker/advisor. I'm not sure if it's worth all that effort just to make the one sale before I have Vanguard initiate the transfer... but it might be worth it just to avoid the confrontation. Thanks for leading me on to that.

Re: Transferring Account from ML to Vanguard

Posted: Thu Oct 05, 2017 6:29 pm
by dbr
vihila wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 6:24 pm
@dbr, I am new to this and didn't even realize that was an option! It looks like I need to enroll in Online Order Entry by printing and mailing an application to my ML broker/advisor. I'm not sure if it's worth all that effort just to make the one sale before I have Vanguard initiate the transfer... but it might be worth it just to avoid the confrontation. Thanks for leading me on to that.
They surely want to keep the advisor in place as much as possible so they can continue to direct you to what they want you to buy rather than what you want to buy, and also to pressure you not to leave although sometimes people do have a gentlemanly experience.

Re: Transferring Account from ML to Vanguard

Posted: Thu Oct 05, 2017 6:35 pm
by livesoft
People move inherited assets all the time, so it should come as no surprise to anyone at ML that you are moving the assets. I would just move the assets, then call and sell the last remaining assets and move the cash.

But I see no reason to dollar-cost average into the new positions if the money was already invested to start with. Just invest as much as you can all at once. Sure, the stock market might go up more, but it also might go down. Either way, you really should not care.

Re: Transferring Account from ML to Vanguard

Posted: Thu Oct 05, 2017 7:02 pm
by vihila
@livesoft, thanks, that makes sense. The dollar cost averaging was more about reducing my exposure in the next few months because of some personal qualms.

Re: Transferring Account from ML to Vanguard

Posted: Thu Oct 05, 2017 7:12 pm
by delamer
vihila wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 6:24 pm
@dbr, I am new to this and didn't even realize that was an option! It looks like I need to enroll in Online Order Entry by printing and mailing an application to my ML broker/advisor. I'm not sure if it's worth all that effort just to make the one sale before I have Vanguard initiate the transfer... but it might be worth it just to avoid the confrontation. Thanks for leading me on to that.

You can just tell him to sell the asset now because it doesn't fit with your investment plans. Move the proceeds into one of your other funds.

In the meantime, contact Vanguard to have them initiate the transfer of assets. There will be some paperwork, so it will take a little time.

Remember that you don't owe the Ml guy an explanation for the transfer, or even a return phone call.

Re: Transferring Account from ML to Vanguard

Posted: Thu Oct 05, 2017 7:32 pm
by NotWhoYouThink
You don't even have to contact ML. Just call Vanguard, and they'll tell you the paperwork to fill out. By the way, you may need to get a Medallion signature, so look up some threads on that.

Anyway , once Vanguard agrees to make the transfer, they'll contact ML, and direct them to liquidate anything that won't transfer. You can stay out of it.

Re: Transferring Account from ML to Vanguard

Posted: Thu Oct 05, 2017 7:50 pm
by munemaker
NotWhoYouThink wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 7:32 pm
You don't even have to contact ML. Just call Vanguard, and they'll tell you the paperwork to fill out. By the way, you may need to get a Medallion signature, so look up some threads on that.

Anyway , once Vanguard agrees to make the transfer, they'll contact ML, and direct them to liquidate anything that won't transfer. You can stay out of it.
I recently transferred my 401k from Merrill Lynch to Fidelity. Not exactly the same, I know. Fidelity did a 3 way call with Merrill and me. Merrill charged a $50 kiss-off fee and Fidelity offered to pick it up. Fidelity guy instructed ML to send the transfer via overnight mail and picked up the cost of that too. No medallion stamp was needed. Fidelity made it simple, smooth and inexpensive. I am sure Vanguard would do the same, although Vanguard seems to be in love with medallion stamps.

Re: Transferring Account from ML to Vanguard

Posted: Fri Oct 06, 2017 11:55 am
by vihila
Thanks for the advice everyone. I contacted ML today and had them sell the non-transferable assets. It was easier than I thought it would be. I didn't mention switching to Vanguard (I just said I had some other plans for the money). I'll start looking into a medallion stamp just in case I need to get one.

Re: Transferring Account from ML to Vanguard

Posted: Fri Oct 06, 2017 12:15 pm
by laluz222
What would be the benefit of having account with Vanguard ETFs vs owning Vanguard ETFs inside an ML self-directed account. BofA gives pretty good perks for keeping BofA and ML accounts at certain levels.

Re: Transferring Account from ML to Vanguard

Posted: Fri Oct 06, 2017 4:42 pm
by dbr
laluz222 wrote:
Fri Oct 06, 2017 12:15 pm
What would be the benefit of having account with Vanguard ETFs vs owning Vanguard ETFs inside an ML self-directed account. BofA gives pretty good perks for keeping BofA and ML accounts at certain levels.
It is entirely possible that one is as well off or better holding Vanguard ETFs not a Vanguard. The issue is having an account that does not involve one with an advisor who is raking off fees and defeating the better intentions of the investor. There may be bonuses and other benefits in such accounts. On the other side there may be other fees and transaction costs. One may also avoid the service problems we hear a lot about here. One may incur other service problems we don't hear about here.

Disclaimer: I am invested mainly in Vanguard funds and do not have an account at Vanguard.

Re: Transferring Account from ML to Vanguard

Posted: Fri Oct 06, 2017 5:59 pm
by beehappy
vihila wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 4:23 pm
Hi all, long time lurker and first time poster here.

I have a taxable investment account that I inherited from my grandfather at Merrill Lynch that I would like to move to Vanguard and reallocate to a more balanced portfolio. I have gone as far as contacting Vanguard and finding out that all of the funds except one (VEVCX) can be transferred "in-kind", and the remaining funds can be sold at Vanguard without fees. I was going to ask Merrill to liquidate my VEVCX positions, then initiate the transfer through Vanguard. Once at Vanguard, I was going to liquidate a fair amount, and then start dollar-cost averaging into a more balanced portfolio of primarily Vanguard funds recommended by my financial advisor.

When I talk to my Merrill Lynch broker to liquidate my VEVCX positions, should I disclose that I am switching to Vanguard? I am wondering if my broker would make things difficult for me. Any other advice on executing the transfer?

You should definitely consider moving the account to Merrill Edge. It may be worth your while. I recently moved assets from Scottrade to both Vanguard and Merrill Edge. I got ridiculously awesome perks with Merrill Edge, and their customer service blows Vanguard out of the water. I haven't paid a dime in fees, and with all the free trades I get, I doubt I ever will. I'm now considering moving my remaining assets out if Vanguard-- while I love their products, the service has left a lot to be desired. So I'll buy Vanguard ETFs, fee-free at Merrill Edge.