Transfer IRAs from Wisebanyan to Vanguard

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Transfer IRAs from Wisebanyan to Vanguard

Post by statikuz » Mon Feb 12, 2018 8:00 pm

Hi! I am consolidating my Wisebanyan and Betterment accounts to Vanguard. Right now they hold a variety of ETFs, some Vanguard, some not. I want to consolidate them all to Vanguard funds. Wisebanyan's clearing firm (Apex) charges account transfer fees (but not closing fees), and presumably Vanguard will also charge fees to sell the non-Vanguard funds if I transfer them in-kind.

Betterment says "For IRAs, we’ll use the direct transfer process and send a check, to avoid any tax consequence for you." I've also read elsewhere on this forum that outgoing IRA transfers are liquidated and the proceeds transferred, so that one looks like it won't be a problem.

I asked Wisebanyan support and they just said "For the IRA accounts, you can ask the other firm to request the liquidation upon submitting the transfer request."

Now Vanguard's "transfer an account" online process only gives you an in-kind transfer form, which is not what I want. I called them and they sent me a different form, which has the option to "Sell all funds and transfer as cash" but that's under the "From a mutual fund company" section. Under the "From a brokerage firm" section, it only has the option to transfer in-kind. Does it matter if I pick "From a mutual fund company" even though Wisebanyan is a brokerage firm?

OK so for anyone else that tries to do this.

This is the form they sent me to use, and instructed me to pick the option that says "Sell all funds in my accounts and transfer as cash."

Here's the actual form:

I did that, I went and got the medallion signatures and everything and sent the paperwork in.

Then I got a message from Vanguard saying the form was missing information. I called them and they told me that they could not instruct the originating firm to liquidate the funds and I would have to do that (acknowledging the form was "not clear")

So then I had to go back to WB and tell them to convert everything to cash, which took a couple days, then called back Vanguard to tell them to proceed.

So essentially, if this is what you're trying to do, don't use the form, don't get the signature guarantees, etc. Just call/email WB (you can't do this yourself online), tell them to liquidate to cash, then use Vanguard's online process. In retrospect that seems like the obvious simple route but Vanguard gave me different instructions so I followed them and they turned out to be incorrect.
Last edited by statikuz on Thu Mar 01, 2018 11:53 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Transfer IRAs from Wisebanyan to Vanguard

Post by Watty » Tue Feb 13, 2018 7:22 am

Instead of worrying about how to automate the sale of everything why not just sell it all yourself then have Vanguard start the transfer? The investments would only be out of the market for a week or so and that would help avoid selling everything on a crazy day. If you are selling stocks or ETF's then you can also use limit orders to help control the price that you get.

If you call Vanguard they should transfer you to an account transfer specialist that will walk you through the process and make sure that you get the right forms to sign.

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