Do I really own anything if everything can require a Medallion signature which I can never get?

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userwithconcern
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Do I really own anything if everything can require a Medallion signature which I can never get?

Post by userwithconcern »

Vanguard's website says that you may need a medallion signature even to sell securities :(

https://investor.vanguard.com/account-t ... -questions
You may need a Medallion signature guarantee when:
  • You're transferring or selling securities.
  • You're transferring a joint account to an individual account.
  • Your name on your Vanguard Brokerage Account is not exactly the same as the name that's registered with the company currently holding your
accounts.
So this presumably means that I may need one even to sell some mutual fund shares and move it into my bank account by ACH transfer.

If I am not able to get a medallion signature for whatever reason, I will never be able to touch my assets? So is it the case that in some ways I do not own my assets i.e. my ability to use it to say buy a house or something in ten years is a function of someone agreeing to provide a medallion signature guarantee for hundreds of thousands which from previous posts on this board was always hard and is becoming harder everyday?

This seems very unfortunate and saddening :(
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Re: Do I really own anything if everything can require a Medallion signature which I can never get?

Post by AlohaJoe »

Have you actually been asked to provide a Medallion signature?

I can't figure out why you're sad and so overwrought.
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userwithconcern
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Re: Do I really own anything if everything can require a Medallion signature which I can never get?

Post by userwithconcern »

AlohaJoe wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 10:12 am Have you actually been asked to provide a Medallion signature?

I can't figure out why you're sad and so overwrought.
Not asked for one yet, but I am new to investing, I have just been reading through the board, caught my eye on the medallion signature topic, dug more and seems everyone is unhappy about them, except a few people that seem to get it very easily. It seems like I may never be able to get access to the money if I am not able to convince someone to take on the massive liability of guaranteeing the signature.

And to be frank, I am not good at interpersonal interactions (please don't judge), so am convinced that I will never get one because they will think I am not worth the risk :(
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JoMoney
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Re: Do I really own anything if everything can require a Medallion signature?

Post by JoMoney »

The only time I've needed a Medallion signature guarantee was when I mailed in some physical stock certificates to a brokerage to have them transferred out of my name as the direct owner into the "street name" they are held in at a brokerage.

Framed a different way, you have a stronger claim/title/ownership of the securities if they do require a Medallion guarantee for you to transfer it then it does in situations that don't. You typically do not need a medallion signature guarantee for securities that are already held in "street name" at a brokerage, it's a more precarious situation, prone to accounting and fraud when held at a brokerage, which is why brokerage accounts typically offer SIPC insurance.
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AlabamaPaul
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Re: Do I really own anything if everything can require a Medallion signature which I can never get?

Post by AlabamaPaul »

userwithconcern wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 10:06 am Vanguard's website says that you may need a medallion signature even to sell securities :(

https://investor.vanguard.com/account-t ... -questions
You may need a Medallion signature guarantee when:
  • You're transferring or selling securities.
  • You're transferring a joint account to an individual account.
  • Your name on your Vanguard Brokerage Account is not exactly the same as the name that's registered with the company currently holding your
accounts.
So this presumably means that I may need one even to sell some mutual fund shares and move it into my bank account by ACH transfer.

If I am not able to get a medallion signature for whatever reason, I will never be able to touch my assets? So is it the case that in some ways I do not own my assets i.e. my ability to use it to say buy a house or something in ten years is a function of someone agreeing to provide a medallion signature guarantee for hundreds of thousands which from previous posts on this board was always hard and is becoming harder everyday?

This seems very unfortunate and saddening :(
Getting a Medallion Signature Guarantee is not difficult at all and is generally only needed during the process of changing investment firms. I just walk into my credit union, tell them I need to get a MSG, and about 5-10 minutes later, I'm on my way...
tsohg
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Re: Do I really own anything if everything can require a Medallion signature which I can never get?

Post by tsohg »

I've never needed a Medallion signature for any of my dealings with Vanguard, and that has including selling and transferring securities.

The only time I ever needed one was when I helped my mother transfer taxable and IRA accounts from her old brokerage to Vanguard (the old brokerage required it). Luckily, her local bank had the capability. The responsible bank employee asked me appropriate questions about what we were doing and why... the idea is to protect against fraud.

I don't think this is something you should worry about.
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Re: Do I really own anything if everything can require a Medallion signature which I can never get?

Post by bertilak »

Needing a Medallion signature is a pain in the butt but it hardly ever comes up. I've only had to do it once.

Note that if you activate voice verification then there are things you can do over the phone that would require a Medallion signature if done by mail. I forget what it was but I ran into this just recently.

One place a Medallion signature comes into play is when transferring from one account to another if the two accounts are not registered in the same name. (like "Joe Blow" transfer to "Joseph A. Blow") Once I was able to avoid this problem by getting the source name on a non-Vanguard account changed to match the destination name on the Vanguard account.
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GMT-8
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Re: Do I really own anything if everything can require a Medallion signature which I can never get?

Post by GMT-8 »

It’s not a big deal - I’ve only had to do a couple times - such as after 911 when due to security concerns they made us all use our first and last names on accounts. For 40 years before that I only used my middle name, never my first name. Or for another example, when I wanted to link my sole proprietor business account to Vanguard (and to our trust account).

The Medallion signature is most often needed from what I can tell when you are connecting two accounts whose names of ownership don’t exactly match. You have to prove you are both name A and name B, or else you have to change the account registration of B to match A.

You are worrying over nothing unless you’ve changed the name you go by without telling the government. If you are living under one or more aliases, you have more than just this problem.

Otherwise, don’t worry.

GMT
JimInIllinois
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Re: Do I really own anything if everything can require a Medallion signature which I can never get?

Post by JimInIllinois »

I've only ever needed a Medallion guarantee when acting as an executor, to transfer the decedent's accounts to the name of the estate, and even then I don't think Vanguard required it because the transfer was to the estate, not me. Transferring shares directly from the decedent to myself would have required one.
My only advice is to open an account with a local full-service bank that provides this service to its customers (it's never free like notary public often is) and be sure to keep the account active and open so that you will have a history with them if you ever need it.
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ruralavalon
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Re: Do I really own anything if everything can require a Medallion signature which I can never get?

Post by ruralavalon »

We have never had to get a Medallion signature guarantee to sell a Vanguard mutual fund, or to sell Treasury STRIPS held in a Vanguard brokerage account.

We can get a Medallion signature guarantee for free at our bank's nearby branch office. It's not a big deal. We needed it to do an in-service distribution from my 401k.
Last edited by ruralavalon on Sat Sep 05, 2020 10:43 am, edited 2 times in total.
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JoMoney
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Re: Do I really own anything if everything can require a Medallion signature which I can never get?

Post by JoMoney »

AlabamaPaul wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 10:26 am...
Getting a Medallion Signature Guarantee is not difficult at all and is generally only needed during the process of changing investment firms. I just walk into my credit union, tell them I need to get a MSG, and about 5-10 minutes later, I'm on my way...
I also was able to get a Medallion signature guarantee from the credit union I bank at.
I've never needed it to change investment firms or to move money between my accounts that are in my name, I've only seen it needed when the account/security's ownership/title is being changed or re-titled to a different person/entity.
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Re: Do I really own anything if everything can require a Medallion signature which I can never get?

Post by gwe67 »

I have needed it twice. First time (15 years ago) was easy. Second time (2 years ago) was a major hassle. I now need two more and am not looking forward to it. Seems like banks are no longer interested in providing this service, which is completely understandable.
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22twain
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Re: Do I really own anything if everything can require a Medallion signature which I can never get?

Post by 22twain »

bertilak wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 10:30 amOne place a Medallion signature comes into play is when transferring from one account to another if the two accounts are not registered in the same name. (like "Joe Blow" transfer to "Joseph A. Blow")
I had the same situation when linking a second checking account to my T. Rowe Price account: "Joseph A. Blow" versus "Joseph Blow". I simply walked to the local branch of that bank with a copy of my latest statement and the TRP form, showed them and my driver's license to the manager on duty, and had it done in ten minutes. This is the only time so far (in about ten years) that I've needed a MSG.

With the first checking account I linked, the names matched exactly, so I was able to do it online when I originally set up the TRP account.
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Re: Do I really own anything if everything can require a Medallion signature which I can never get?

Post by Explorer »

I have been investing for decades and never had to use medallion signature.
tibbitts
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Re: Do I really own anything if everything can require a Medallion signature which I can never get?

Post by tibbitts »

I don't think it's reasonable to dismiss the OP's concerns by saying that getting a guarantee is "easy for me." It's been easy for me when I needed it, but nobody should assume that past experiences apply today, especially in a Covid world. I can see it being more of an issue now with so many people no longer having any b&m financial institution relationship at all.

However it's also true that only a very small minority of transactions require a guarantee so for many people it will never be an operational problem.
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Re: Do I really own anything if everything can require a Medallion signature which I can never get?

Post by Afty »

GMT-8 wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 10:31 am The Medallion signature is most often needed from what I can tell when you are connecting two accounts whose names of ownership don’t exactly match. You have to prove you are both name A and name B, or else you have to change the account registration of B to match A.
This matches my experience. I will say that’s gotten much harder to get a Medallion Signature Guarantee. 5+ years ago other investment firms like Fidelity and Merrill Lynch would provide them as long as you had an account open. Now they refuse unless they themselves requested the MSG.
Last edited by Afty on Sat Sep 05, 2020 3:24 pm, edited 2 times in total.
dbr
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Re: Do I really own anything if everything can require a Medallion signature which I can never get?

Post by dbr »

How would it be possible to open an account at Vanguard, buy securities, and then be told you can't sell those securities until you provide a certain document you have not yet supplied? What the expression "or selling securities" might mean I don't know.

I think the idea that they are trying to make sure someone's identity is what it is supposed to be makes sense, but for the person who bought in an account to sell in the same account can't be a matter of debate.
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Re: Do I really own anything if everything can require a Medallion signature which I can never get?

Post by tesuzuki2002 »

userwithconcern wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 10:06 am Vanguard's website says that you may need a medallion signature even to sell securities :(

If I am not able to get a medallion signature for whatever reason, I will never be able to touch my assets? So is it the case that in some ways I do not own my assets i.e. my ability to use it to say buy a house or something in ten years is a function of someone agreeing to provide a medallion signature guarantee for hundreds of thousands which from previous posts on this board was always hard and is becoming harder everyday?

This seems very unfortunate and saddening :(
I've been investing, buying and selling for many years... I've never needed one... and Banks will do them very easily if you do need one...
tibbitts
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Re: Do I really own anything if everything can require a Medallion signature which I can never get?

Post by tibbitts »

tesuzuki2002 wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 11:25 am ...Banks will do them very easily if you do need one...
Have you actually had experience with a bank that you have no relationship with doing a Medallion guarantee?
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Re: Do I really own anything if everything can require a Medallion signature which I can never get?

Post by finite_difference »

userwithconcern wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 10:14 am
AlohaJoe wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 10:12 am Have you actually been asked to provide a Medallion signature?

I can't figure out why you're sad and so overwrought.
Not asked for one yet, but I am new to investing, I have just been reading through the board, caught my eye on the medallion signature topic, dug more and seems everyone is unhappy about them, except a few people that seem to get it very easily. It seems like I may never be able to get access to the money if I am not able to convince someone to take on the massive liability of guaranteeing the signature.

And to be frank, I am not good at interpersonal interactions (please don't judge), so am convinced that I will never get one because they will think I am not worth the risk :(
If you open an account at a local bank that has this service, I think they would be happy to do it for you? You should not need “interpersonal skills.”
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crystalbank
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Re: Do I really own anything if everything can require a Medallion signature which I can never get?

Post by crystalbank »

finite_difference wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 11:39 am
userwithconcern wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 10:14 am
AlohaJoe wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 10:12 am Have you actually been asked to provide a Medallion signature?

I can't figure out why you're sad and so overwrought.
Not asked for one yet, but I am new to investing, I have just been reading through the board, caught my eye on the medallion signature topic, dug more and seems everyone is unhappy about them, except a few people that seem to get it very easily. It seems like I may never be able to get access to the money if I am not able to convince someone to take on the massive liability of guaranteeing the signature.

And to be frank, I am not good at interpersonal interactions (please don't judge), so am convinced that I will never get one because they will think I am not worth the risk :(
If you open an account at a local bank that has this service, I think they would be happy to do it for you? You should not need “interpersonal skills.”
Not really. Medallion Signature stamps are NOT like a notary. They're tied to the dollar amount being transferred and have different grades. For small dollar amounts, it probably is not a big deal but good luck going to a bank and getting a MSG for anything over a $100k (unless you're transferring in/out of the same bank). I tried to transfer my Capital One Investing account to Vanguard (before they were sold to E-Trade) and CapOne required a MSG. Called BofA and asked about it and they told me that it's up to the local branch office to do an MSG request. Guess what, every local branch in my area had a policy to not do it over $100k. Luckily, that market tanked in the week after and I didn't have any gains so I just liquidated the account.

Anyone who ever had to get a MSG knows, it's a giant PITA and almost impossible for large amounts at a third party bank/financial institution.
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MaryO
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Re: Do I really own anything if everything can require a Medallion signature which I can never get?

Post by MaryO »

I've needed MSG twice and it was a royal pain.
Even with Bank of America, who holds our mortgage and with whom we've banked for 40 years. We were transferring Merrill Edge funds to Vanguard so they refused. What a terrible policy.....making us less likely to continue any relationship with them in the future.
We found that no other bank would accommodate us without having an account open for at least six months.
There are outfits who will provide the MSG but they charge a crazy fee.

We were unable to transfer stock to our joint brokerage account without a MSG so husband had to open an individual brokerage account first and then move it to our joint once it was at Vanguard. It took about four contacts with Vanguard before we came up with that solution. So frustrating.

I get that the purpose is to catch fraudsters, but my theory is that it's also used to frustrate clients and make them give up & leave the funds where they are.
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Re: Do I really own anything if everything can require a Medallion signature which I can never get?

Post by crefwatch »

I have a vague memory that, before the internet, it was sometimes necessary to get a MSG if you were selling, say, over $50,000 of a mutual fund balance. That certainly would be case of leveraging "security" to discourage client departures. It is true that a bank is reluctant to spend labor money on a piece of paper unrelated to a transaction with them. (Bank of America, in my case.) I think I may have once closed out a fund company position in two separate transactions, to avoid the MSG demand.

I'm 69, and I have had to get them at least five times in my life. Not frequently, but always annoying.
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Re: Do I really own anything if everything can require a Medallion signature which I can never get?

Post by theresearcher »

Actionable steps that can be taken to protect against this risk include:
- Use full legal name- in line with what's on your Social Security card- for all financial accounts.
- Set accounts up for electronic access including voice based verification if available. Don't let accounts go dormant.
- Keep all ID current. If you don't have a drivers license then state ID card and/or U.S. passport.
- Keep an (active) account with a local branch-based bank
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MaryO
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Re: Do I really own anything if everything can require a Medallion signature which I can never get?

Post by MaryO »

theresearcher wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 12:47 pm Actionable steps that can be taken to protect against this risk include:
- Use full legal name- in line with what's on your Social Security card- for all financial accounts.
- Set accounts up for electronic access including voice based verification if available. Don't let accounts go dormant.
- Keep all ID current. If you don't have a drivers license then state ID card and/or U.S. passport.
- Keep an (active) account with a local branch-based bank
None of those four steps helped us.
If Medallion signatures were easy for anyone to obtain, good for you.
Just saying that's not always the case. Even at our own local BOA branch where we banked for decades and hold accounts and a mortgage. We're a couple who have nothing in our financial history that would give even a hint of shenanigans being attempted. Typical suburbanites living at the same address for 20+ years.
It's a layer of stupid bureaucracy.
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Re: Do I really own anything if everything can require a Medallion signature which I can never get?

Post by NCSU1980 »

Numerous good responses provided upthread have hopefully addressed the OP.

I am currently in the process of obtaining MSG required to transfer 2 shares of Prudential Financial stock from the name of the decedent into the name of the estate, for which I am the Executor. After using the Computershare (stock transfer agent for this holding) Transfer Wizard online tool to generate the computerized account-specific paperwork package, I made an appointment with local bank branch to get the required MSG. Bank advised they need 3 documents to provide the MSG: 1- Death Cerificate; 2- Short certificate; 3- Statement of the account no older than 90 days. No problems for me to get my hands on the first 2 do documents, but the account statement is proving to be unavailable without delaying the process until I can receive a snail mail code to enable me to obtain online access to the Computershare Investor Center portal which is separate from the Transfer Wizard site. Thought the bank might accept the package since the Transfer package shows all of the account particulars, especially since the transaction only consists of 2 shares worth a grand total of less than $150.

Bank refused to budge so I have to wait and make another trip after I receive the mailing to use to enable online access so I can print a statement.

Unless I am mistaken it seems to me that the bank's liability in this transaction would be capped at the account value for the 2 shares.

I would be interested in hearing from the forum if others agree that the computerized package which clearly shows the account number, total of two shares held, name of the holding, name of the decedent, name of the estate as new registration is equivalent to satisfy as a subsitute for a statement.

Feeling like I am jumping through hoops to satisfy the bank's generic requirements for this specific transaction.

Would love to hear opinions from those with banking expertise. Thank you!
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userwithconcern
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Re: Do I really own anything if everything can require a Medallion signature which I can never get?

Post by userwithconcern »

Appreciate all the responses so far.

Assuming all my accounts are exclusively in my name and names match up, would doing an ACATS transfer ever need a medallion signature? I saw _one_ post in another thread saying that ACATS doesn't need it. But not sure if that is one off or always the case.

If this is true, if a need arises for me to take money out for say a house or something else, can I just ACATS out to another broker that will allow it, if for whatever reason say Vanguard says I can't without a medallion?
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Re: Do I really own anything if everything can require a Medallion signature which I can never get?

Post by JonnyDVM »

How are you guys walking into banks ? All of mine are drive through only. It’s been a while since I needed a Medallion but I agree it’s a pain. I think it’s highly unlikely you ever need one to sell securities.
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Re: Do I really own anything if everything can require a Medallion signature which I can never get?

Post by Afty »

userwithconcern wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 3:16 pm Appreciate all the responses so far.

Assuming all my accounts are exclusively in my name and names match up, would doing an ACATS transfer ever need a medallion signature? I saw _one_ post in another thread saying that ACATS doesn't need it. But not sure if that is one off or always the case.

If this is true, if a need arises for me to take money out for say a house or something else, can I just ACATS out to another broker that will allow it, if for whatever reason say Vanguard says I can't without a medallion?
I recently did ACATS transfers from Vanguard to Merrill Edge and then back, and was not asked for an MSG. As someone stated above, they seem to only be needed if the registration on the accounts differs in some way.
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userwithconcern
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Re: Do I really own anything if everything can require a Medallion signature which I can never get?

Post by userwithconcern »

Afty wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 3:27 pm
userwithconcern wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 3:16 pm Appreciate all the responses so far.

Assuming all my accounts are exclusively in my name and names match up, would doing an ACATS transfer ever need a medallion signature? I saw _one_ post in another thread saying that ACATS doesn't need it. But not sure if that is one off or always the case.

If this is true, if a need arises for me to take money out for say a house or something else, can I just ACATS out to another broker that will allow it, if for whatever reason say Vanguard says I can't without a medallion?
I recently did ACATS transfers from Vanguard to Merrill Edge and then back, and was not asked for an MSG. As someone stated above, they seem to only be needed if the registration on the accounts differs in some way.
Thanks. Sorry for being nosy but did this account have a substantial amount of money (say north of 100K)? It seems like they're only triggered if the amounts are large enough?
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Re: Do I really own anything if everything can require a Medallion signature which I can never get?

Post by AlabamaPaul »

JonnyDVM wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 3:23 pm How are you guys walking into banks ? All of mine are drive through only. It’s been a while since I needed a Medallion but I agree it’s a pain. I think it’s highly unlikely you ever need one to sell securities.
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Re: Do I really own anything if everything can require a Medallion signature which I can never get?

Post by Afty »

userwithconcern wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 3:29 pm
Afty wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 3:27 pm
userwithconcern wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 3:16 pm Appreciate all the responses so far.

Assuming all my accounts are exclusively in my name and names match up, would doing an ACATS transfer ever need a medallion signature? I saw _one_ post in another thread saying that ACATS doesn't need it. But not sure if that is one off or always the case.

If this is true, if a need arises for me to take money out for say a house or something else, can I just ACATS out to another broker that will allow it, if for whatever reason say Vanguard says I can't without a medallion?
I recently did ACATS transfers from Vanguard to Merrill Edge and then back, and was not asked for an MSG. As someone stated above, they seem to only be needed if the registration on the accounts differs in some way.
Thanks. Sorry for being nosy but did this account have a substantial amount of money (say north of 100K)? It seems like they're only triggered if the amounts are large enough?
Yes, north of $100k.
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Re: Do I really own anything if everything can require a Medallion signature which I can never get?

Post by Nummerkins »

I narrowly avoided getting one. I had a joint brokerage account at Vanguard that I was transferring to Merrill Edge. ME wanted a MSG. I said no thanks, emptied the joint account into a single owner account and transferred it. Stupid waste of time. I have not yet in my life had to get a MSG.
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Re: Do I really own anything if everything can require a Medallion signature which I can never get?

Post by rich126 »

I've never needed one for Vanguard and I'm not sure exactly what a Medallion signature is. Last year when I was relocating and it was a corporate relocation I had to see a bunch of signatures guaranteed (or whatever it is called) and a Wells Fargo bank did help me but it was painful. I had to get a friend to help since I had to have a witness.

Afterwards I found out that it actually required 2 witnesses but I told the relocation company, take it or leave it and they took it.
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Re: Do I really own anything if everything can require a Medallion signature which I can never get?

Post by goingup »

userwithconcern wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 10:06 am So this presumably means that I may need one even to sell some mutual fund shares and move it into my bank account by ACH transfer.
No. Wrong.
You'll likely go your whole investing life and not need one. On the rare chance you do, worry about it then. :beer
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Re: Do I really own anything if everything can require a Medallion signature which I can never get?

Post by michaelingp »

I've only needed one once. But that was probably decades ago, and I had a personal relationship with the folks at the local bank. In other words, they greeted me by name when I walked in, so no issues getting the Medallion. Now I'm all on-line banking, so I have no idea where I would get one. Will Fidelity branch offices provide this service? That's the only company I invest with that has actual local offices. Maybe I should have kept my checking account open at the local bank?
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Re: Do I really own anything if everything can require a Medallion signature which I can never get?

Post by Katietsu »

I would lean towards using a brokerage that had a physical branch near your location. I think most of the major choices have some physical locations except Vanguard.
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Re: Do I really own anything if everything can require a Medallion signature which I can never get?

Post by mrtwstr »

I had to get a medallion signature once to move my rollover IRA to my current 401k. I was told it was because of the $$ amount. Never heard of it before then, and it only added a couple days.
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Re: Do I really own anything if everything can require a Medallion signature which I can never get?

Post by finite_difference »

MaryO wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 12:29 pm I've needed MSG twice and it was a royal pain.
Even with Bank of America, who holds our mortgage and with whom we've banked for 40 years. We were transferring Merrill Edge funds to Vanguard so they refused. What a terrible policy.....making us less likely to continue any relationship with them in the future.
We found that no other bank would accommodate us without having an account open for at least six months.
There are outfits who will provide the MSG but they charge a crazy fee.

We were unable to transfer stock to our joint brokerage account without a MSG so husband had to open an individual brokerage account first and then move it to our joint once it was at Vanguard. It took about four contacts with Vanguard before we came up with that solution. So frustrating.

I get that the purpose is to catch fraudsters, but my theory is that it's also used to frustrate clients and make them give up & leave the funds where they are.
Thanks, learned something today!

Out of curiosity, what is the “crazy fee” in dollars?
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Re: Do I really own anything if everything can require a Medallion signature which I can never get?

Post by rossington »

NCSU1980 wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 1:39 pm Numerous good responses provided upthread have hopefully addressed the OP.

I am currently in the process of obtaining MSG required to transfer 2 shares of Prudential Financial stock from the name of the decedent into the name of the estate, for which I am the Executor. After using the Computershare (stock transfer agent for this holding) Transfer Wizard online tool to generate the computerized account-specific paperwork package, I made an appointment with local bank branch to get the required MSG. Bank advised they need 3 documents to provide the MSG: 1- Death Cerificate; 2- Short certificate; 3- Statement of the account no older than 90 days. No problems for me to get my hands on the first 2 do documents, but the account statement is proving to be unavailable without delaying the process until I can receive a snail mail code to enable me to obtain online access to the Computershare Investor Center portal which is separate from the Transfer Wizard site. Thought the bank might accept the package since the Transfer package shows all of the account particulars, especially since the transaction only consists of 2 shares worth a grand total of less than $150.

Bank refused to budge so I have to wait and make another trip after I receive the mailing to use to enable online access so I can print a statement.

Unless I am mistaken it seems to me that the bank's liability in this transaction would be capped at the account value for the 2 shares.

I would be interested in hearing from the forum if others agree that the computerized package which clearly shows the account number, total of two shares held, name of the holding, name of the decedent, name of the estate as new registration is equivalent to satisfy as a subsitute for a statement.

Feeling like I am jumping through hoops to satisfy the bank's generic requirements for this specific transaction.

Would love to hear opinions from those with banking expertise. Thank you!
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You will be able to get your MSG in due time and all will be well.
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Re: Do I really own anything if everything can require a Medallion signature which I can never get?

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

Although my credit union provides MSGs free of charge, I've never had to get one for anything. Come to think of it, when I transferred an IRA from Vanguard to TDAmeritrade, I didn't even need to have anything notarized. I did have to fill out a form because one account had my middle initial and the other didn't. That was a simple, one page form with only a signature.
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Re: Do I really own anything if everything can require a Medallion signature which I can never get?

Post by UpperNwGuy »

I have never had get a medallion signature guarantee in my 60+ years of life. At Vanguard, I transfer money in from my banks, buy mutual funds, sell mutual funds, and transfer money out to my bank.
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Re: Do I really own anything if everything can require a Medallion signature which I can never get?

Post by Woops »

I recently had to get a Medallion Signature Guarantee to move money from Primecap Funds to Vanguard (Primecap requirement not Vanguard). Locally it was not possible as my local bank does not offer it and larger banks will not do it for non customers (most don't seem to offer it at all). I checked out a few places like the local Schwab and Fidelity offices but they will only do it if you are moving money to them.

I ended up using eSignature Guarantee online which was really easy and cost 149.00 for the Medallion Stamp. Not cheap, but eliminates the hassle.
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Re: Do I really own anything if everything can require a Medallion signature which I can never get?

Post by MaryO »

finite_difference wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 8:59 pm
Out of curiosity, what is the “crazy fee” in dollars?
It was almost $300. The value of the stock we were moving was less than $15K.
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Re: Do I really own anything if everything can require a Medallion signature which I can never get?

Post by finite_difference »

MaryO wrote: Sun Sep 06, 2020 10:16 am
finite_difference wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 8:59 pm
Out of curiosity, what is the “crazy fee” in dollars?
It was almost $300. The value of the stock we were moving was less than $15K.
Yeah that is crazy for $15k (2%). Although if you can get it for free for up to $100k (Bank of America), and then if it costs $300 for transactions larger than that, then it’s only 0.3% and decreasing. Not inexpensive, but doable.

It’s odd that banks don’t offer it for a reasonable fee like they do for cashier’s checks, checkbooks, etc.
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Re: Do I really own anything if everything can require a Medallion signature which I can never get?

Post by nisiprius »

I've had to get them three times. It was always a moderate pain. My local bank, where I've been a customer since the days when my signature card was a physical card in something that looked like a floorstanding freezer-chest-sized motorized Rolodex, has done them for free, but it is only a small number of bank officers who do them, only during weekdays, and I needed to check in advance to be sure they would be in that day.

I didn't always need it to move assets from brokerage to brokerage, but Treasury Direct requires them, and I forget where else they popped up. It's always been an unpleasant last-minute surprise. It's never "made sense" that it would be needed.

I regard them as a necessary evil--a racket, if you like but unavoidable. I always tell people to make "medallion signature guarantee" a requirement when choosing a bank. If they won't put it in writing that they can give you a medallion signature guarantee at the specific branch location you will be using, don't open the account.
Woops wrote: Sun Sep 06, 2020 8:20 am...I ended up using eSignature Guarantee online which was really easy and cost 149.00 for the Medallion Stamp. Not cheap, but eliminates the hassle...
Good to know. $149? Holy cow. How does that work exactly? Do they no longer care about a physical raised imprint any more?
userwithconcern wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 10:06 am...
You'll likely go your whole investing life and not need one. On the rare chance you do, worry about it then...
I have not been able to go my whole investing life without one. And I can't agree with "worry about it then" because most banks only do it for "established customers" and that can mean a six month wait. By the time you need one, if your bank doesn't do them it's too late to become an established customer at a better bank.
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Re: Do I really own anything if everything can require a Medallion signature which I can never get?

Post by Silence Dogood »

22twain wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 10:51 am
bertilak wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 10:30 amOne place a Medallion signature comes into play is when transferring from one account to another if the two accounts are not registered in the same name. (like "Joe Blow" transfer to "Joseph A. Blow")
I had the same situation when linking a second checking account to my T. Rowe Price account: "Joseph A. Blow" versus "Joseph Blow". I simply walked to the local branch of that bank with a copy of my latest statement and the TRP form, showed them and my driver's license to the manager on duty, and had it done in ten minutes. This is the only time so far (in about ten years) that I've needed a MSG.
Does anyone know if Vanguard requires a Medallion signature guarantee due to this difference ("Joseph Blow" versus "Joseph A. Blow")?

Here Vanguard states:
Vanguard wrote:What is a Medallion signature guarantee and do I need one for my transfer?

A Medallion signature guarantee is a type of legally binding endorsement that ensures that your signature is genuine, and that the financial company issuing the guarantee accepts liability for any forgery.

You may need a Medallion signature guarantee when:
...
Your name on your Vanguard Brokerage Account is not exactly the same as the name that's registered with the company currently holding your accounts.
...
Here Vanguard states:
Vanguard wrote:It's important to accurately identify account owners because your transfer request may be rejected if your name at both firms doesn't match. If that's the case, additional paperwork may be needed.

The one-and-the-same certification form is used to authenticate any name difference between your Vanguard account and the account you're transferring assets from. There are a few cases when we do not need the form:
...
Your middle initial is on one account, and the full middle name is on the other. (e.g., John P. Doe vs. John Paul Doe)

Your middle initial or middle name is on one account but not the other account (e.g., Jane A. Doe vs. Jane Doe or Jane Ann Doe vs. Jane Doe).
...
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Re: Do I really own anything if everything can require a Medallion signature which I can never get?

Post by shelanman »

tibbitts wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 11:11 am I don't think it's reasonable to dismiss the OP's concerns by saying that getting a guarantee is "easy for me." It's been easy for me when I needed it, but nobody should assume that past experiences apply today, especially in a Covid world. I can see it being more of an issue now with so many people no longer having any b&m financial institution relationship at all.

However it's also true that only a very small minority of transactions require a guarantee so for many people it will never be an operational problem.
Indeed. There are many realistic scenarios in which someone might find it difficult to secure a guarantee. Maybe not super likely, but definitely possible.

[OT comment removed by moderator oldcomputerguy]
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Re: Do I really own anything if everything can require a Medallion signature which I can never get?

Post by RSIdaho »

I had a frustrating experience with Vanguard, a few years ago I was trying to move some IRA funds from another mutual fund company to them, and Vanguard said the other company required a Medallion signature. Unfortunately I had just moved to a small town and my bank said they could not do it, they acted like they didn't know what it was. I could not find another bank that would do it for a non customer. I asked the other mutual fund company what their policy was, they said it was Vanguard holding it up. After much back and forth Vanguard finally allowed it to go through. I do appreciate the fact that Vanguard was trying to be careful, but putting me through the run around was disappointing to say the least.
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Re: Do I really own anything if everything can require a Medallion signature which I can never get?

Post by SxSW »

userwithconcern wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 3:16 pm Appreciate all the responses so far.

Assuming all my accounts are exclusively in my name and names match up, would doing an ACATS transfer ever need a medallion signature? I saw _one_ post in another thread saying that ACATS doesn't need it. But not sure if that is one off or always the case.

If this is true, if a need arises for me to take money out for say a house or something else, can I just ACATS out to another broker that will allow it, if for whatever reason say Vanguard says I can't without a medallion?
MSG is typically required when someone is losing ownership, like when a joint account is being transferred into an individual account. Some firms require them for outgoing transfers to verify that the account owner actually signed the request, but this requirement can also have the effect of discouraging people from initiating the request if it's a PITA.

If you're having difficulty obtaining one, the firm who is receiving the transfer will sometimes provide a courtesy MSG if you meet certain requirements. Voice verification may also be used as a workaround, especially for transfers within a single firm.

MSG requirements are typically independent of the transfer method, whether it's ACAT, DTC, wire, check, etc.
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