The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

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lemonPepper
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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by lemonPepper » Fri Aug 12, 2016 1:27 pm

pardon my truly dumb question but I'm wondering what happens to reinvested dividends? Let's say you transfer vanguard ETFS but they cannot be purchased commission free at a certain brokerage. When you get a certain amount in dividends and reinvest them, do you have to pay the trading commission every time?

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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by madbrain » Fri Aug 12, 2016 1:34 pm

Earl Lemongrab wrote:
madbrain wrote:Fidelity posts their bonus as a contribution.

I also believe that this is incorrect. What is your source?

Earl


My source is what Fidelity's web site stated the last time I looked at the IRA bonus offer description. It looks like that may have changed.

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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by livesoft » Fri Aug 12, 2016 1:36 pm

lemonPepper wrote:pardon my truly dumb question but I'm wondering what happens to reinvested dividends? Let's say you transfer vanguard ETFS but they cannot be purchased commission free at a certain brokerage. When you get a certain amount in dividends and reinvest them, do you have to pay the trading commission every time?

If you automatically reinvest the dividends by signing up for an automatic dividend reinvestment program at your broker, then usually there is no commission. Check with your particular broker about that.

If you take the dividends in cash and manually reinvest the money, then the typical commission fee schedule applies. So if the typical commission fee is not zero, then you pay the commission if you use money to buy shares.
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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Fri Aug 12, 2016 2:01 pm

madbrain wrote:My source is what Fidelity's web site stated the last time I looked at the IRA bonus offer description. It looks like that may have changed.

I've been using Fidelity off and on with bonuses for some years now. I don't recall that being the case.

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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by mikep » Wed Aug 24, 2016 12:42 pm

I assume you need medallion signature guarantees to move that much $$ around? I find my credit union doesn't want to do them and they are a real pain to get.

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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by cookymonster » Wed Aug 24, 2016 1:24 pm

Great thread. Surprised I missed it until now.

Two questions:

Has anyone successfully gotten an opening bonus (intended for NEW customers) twice at the same brokerage? If so, which ones? I'm about to hit the one year mark at TD Ameritrade and would like to move it back to Merrill Edge for the free trades, but I assume they aren't going to bribe me when I've already opened and closed an account there in 2015.

Which brokers will bribe you to ADD money to your accounts? The only ones I know of are Capital One and ScottTrade. My system for the last 9 months has been to transfer 50k from TD Ameritrade to Capital One when a new bonus comes out every 3 months and pocket $200.

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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Wed Aug 24, 2016 3:20 pm

mikep wrote:I assume you need medallion signature guarantees to move that much $$ around? I find my credit union doesn't want to do them and they are a real pain to get.

I have never had to get one. People talk about them all the time, but I have never encountered that.

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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by Rudy63 » Wed Aug 24, 2016 3:26 pm

Just wanted to post my experience, in case anyone else was in the same boat. I just signed up for the TD Ameritrade $1000 bonus. However, my 401K at Fidelity is split between a regular and a ROTH 401k, neither of which by itself is over the $250K amount. I called to see if they would honor the sum for the 2 accounts greater than $250K (rather than in a single account) but the best they could do was $600.

YMMV.

Thanks,
Rudy

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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Wed Aug 24, 2016 3:27 pm

cookymonster wrote:Has anyone successfully gotten an opening bonus (intended for NEW customers) twice at the same brokerage? If so, which ones? I'm about to hit the one year mark at TD Ameritrade and would like to move it back to Merrill Edge for the free trades, but I assume they aren't going to bribe me when I've already opened and closed an account there in 2015.

Yes, several of them. Some spell out a policy, like only one offer per rolling 12 month period. Others you just try and see. Scottrade has a one year exclusion period after you move money out. Probably that would not apply if it's a different kind of account, like move out a taxable and move in a Roth.

cookymonster wrote:Which brokers will bribe you to ADD money to your accounts? The only ones I know of are Capital One and ScottTrade. My system for the last 9 months has been to transfer 50k from TD Ameritrade to Capital One when a new bonus comes out every 3 months and pocket $200.

I have received targeted offers from Etrade and TD Ameritrade for that.

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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Wed Aug 24, 2016 3:28 pm

Rudy63 wrote:Just wanted to post my experience, in case anyone else was in the same boat. I just signed up for the TD Ameritrade $1000 bonus. However, my 401K at Fidelity is split between a regular and a ROTH 401k, neither of which by itself is over the $250K amount. I called to see if they would honor the sum for the 2 accounts greater than $250K (rather than in a single account) but the best they could do was $600.

Good information. I usually treat my Roth and taxable as separate entities for bonus purposes anyway.

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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by cookymonster » Wed Aug 24, 2016 3:57 pm

Earl Lemongrab wrote:
cookymonster wrote:Has anyone successfully gotten an opening bonus (intended for NEW customers) twice at the same brokerage? If so, which ones? I'm about to hit the one year mark at TD Ameritrade and would like to move it back to Merrill Edge for the free trades, but I assume they aren't going to bribe me when I've already opened and closed an account there in 2015.

Yes, several of them. Some spell out a policy, like only one offer per rolling 12 month period. Others you just try and see. Scottrade has a one year exclusion period after you move money out. Probably that would not apply if it's a different kind of account, like move out a taxable and move in a Roth.

cookymonster wrote:Which brokers will bribe you to ADD money to your accounts? The only ones I know of are Capital One and ScottTrade. My system for the last 9 months has been to transfer 50k from TD Ameritrade to Capital One when a new bonus comes out every 3 months and pocket $200.

I have received targeted offers from Etrade and TD Ameritrade for that.

Earl

For me, this information is vital to know, as going forward, I want to limit bonus chasing to brokers that will let me "churn" them - meaning I can either get more bonuses for adding $ to the initial deposit, or I can eventually move the $ out and take advantage of the offer again. Otherwise, I'd rather put off cashing an offer in until I have enough to qualify for the highest tier (e.g. $1,000,000 at Etrade).

From reading the fine print of some of the offers, it looks like Fidelity and Schwab also let you open accounts every 12 months. So I guess I'll try them if Merrill Edge doesn't pan out.

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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by mikep » Wed Aug 24, 2016 4:55 pm

Earl Lemongrab wrote:
mikep wrote:I assume you need medallion signature guarantees to move that much $$ around? I find my credit union doesn't want to do them and they are a real pain to get.

I have never had to get one. People talk about them all the time, but I have never encountered that.

Earl


I had to get one once for moving a small-ish account to Vanguard. My credit union didn't do them and I had to open an account somewhere else just to get one, even there their limit was $100K account value they could sign for. I said never again would I move an account..

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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Wed Aug 24, 2016 5:20 pm

mikep wrote:I had to get one once for moving a small-ish account to Vanguard. My credit union didn't do them and I had to open an account somewhere else just to get one, even there their limit was $100K account value they could sign for. I said never again would I move an account..

I mentioned in another thread that almost every time that comes up on the forums, it seems like Vanguard is involved. I have never moved assets to Vanguard, and the one time I moved from them there was no issue, so I have no personal information. As I said, I have never needed one. If a receiving custodian demanded one, I would just tell them to cancel the transfer and I would go elsewhere.

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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by *3!4!/5! » Fri Sep 02, 2016 4:57 pm

I haven't done this but am considering it, and BoA Preferred Rewards too. (My IRA and taxable are small compared to 401k, so I can't do much of this - probably just transfer to Merrill Edge for bonus, and stay there for Preferred Rewards, so I'll be forced to actually use the accounts and make transactions. I hope brokerage bonus ping pong is still around when I can finally move 401k to IRA.)

I have questions about these brokerages. I have IRA and taxable at Vanguard and 401k through work (not Vanguard) and everything is in mutual funds. I prefer mutual funds to ETFs, but I'm tempted by the incentives brokerages are offering, so I may have to get used to ETFs.

Questions: Do any of these brokerages allow you to bring in Vanguard Admiral shares in kind, reinvest dividends, buy them, sell them, exchange them for Vanguard Admiral shares in other funds? I'm wondering about recent experiences since things change.

I noticed a couple of brokerages (e.g. Schwab) have hefty fees to buy mutual funds, but no fee to sell. What if you transfer in the mutual funds in kind, and then only sell? Can you totally avoid fees (i.e. no fee to bring the fund in)?

Any experiences with how the brokerage bonuses are reported. Is it 1099-INT or 1099-MISC or what (at which brokerages)?

For the bonuses for bringing in IRA assets to a brokerage, which brokerages put the bonus in taxable, which put it in the IRA but classified it as a contribution subject to annual limits, and which put it in the IRA and treated it as investment gain or fee discount so it is not taxable (unless/until you distribute from traditional)?

Any comments about how brokerages do dividend reinvestment (for ETFs or mutual funds)? Generally what are they like if you have to transact? Any gotchas with various brokerages?

I'm trying to figure if it's worth moving funds out of Vanguard for these brokerage incentive. It's really just a few hundred bucks bonus, and then a few hundred bucks a year for Preferred Rewards. It almost seems like free money, but it doesn't take much downside to negate that.

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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Fri Sep 02, 2016 8:04 pm

*3!4!/5! wrote:Questions: Do any of these brokerages allow you to bring in Vanguard Admiral shares in kind, reinvest dividends, buy them, sell them, exchange them for Vanguard Admiral shares in other funds? I'm wondering about recent experiences since things change.

I'm not an expert in this area, but I believe that some will allow at least holding. There might be ones that have made arrangements to offer full buy and sell. I just started using ETFs when I moved out of Vanguard because you get the same low ERs without the restrictions.

I noticed a couple of brokerages (e.g. Schwab) have hefty fees to buy mutual funds, but no fee to sell. What if you transfer in the mutual funds in kind, and then only sell? Can you totally avoid fees (i.e. no fee to bring the fund in)?

As far as I understand it, yes you can do that.

Any experiences with how the brokerage bonuses are reported. Is it 1099-INT or 1099-MISC or what (at which brokerages)?

I don't pay a lot of attention, but I think usually MISC. For tax purposes, it doesn't matter much.

For the bonuses for bringing in IRA assets to a brokerage, which brokerages put the bonus in taxable, which put it in the IRA but classified it as a contribution subject to annual limits, and which put it in the IRA and treated it as investment gain or fee discount so it is not taxable (unless/until you distribute from traditional)?

Most of the majors call it earnings. Your best bet is to always check the terms and conditions.

Any comments about how brokerages do dividend reinvestment (for ETFs or mutual funds)? Generally what are they like if you have to transact? Any gotchas with various brokerages?

I haven't run into any problems, but I don't usually reinvest. Sometimes in Roths when ETFs have transaction costs.

I'm trying to figure if it's worth moving funds out of Vanguard for these brokerage incentive. It's really just a few hundred bucks bonus, and then a few hundred bucks a year for Preferred Rewards. It almost seems like free money, but it doesn't take much downside to negate that.

I've been doing it for years. There's no doubt that larger accounts benefit from that. Larger bonuses, similar amount of work. You could think of this as practice for when you get that big rollover.

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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by *3!4!/5! » Sat Sep 03, 2016 11:54 am

Earl Lemongrab wrote:
*3!4!/5! wrote:Any comments about how brokerages do dividend reinvestment (for ETFs or mutual funds)? Generally what are they like if you have to transact? Any gotchas with various brokerages?

I haven't run into any problems, but I don't usually reinvest. Sometimes in Roths when ETFs have transaction costs.

Yes, I would reinvest dividends/CGDs in IRAs (not in taxable). I was concerned that dividend reinvestment in ETFs may be inferior to dividend reinvestment dividend reinvestment in mutual funds
http://www.etf.com/sections/index-inves ... r-its-etfs
http://www.etf.com/sections/blog/23595- ... nopaging=1
and maybe this effect can be quantified, and some brokers may be better than others in this regard.


Earl Lemongrab wrote:
*3!4!/5! wrote:Any experiences with how the brokerage bonuses are reported. Is it 1099-INT or 1099-MISC or what (at which brokerages)?

I don't pay a lot of attention, but I think usually MISC. For tax purposes, it doesn't matter much.

It makes a big difference to me as I have to stay under the $3400 investment cap (int, div, CG count, but misc income doesn't) to get EITC, and if I go over I lose $6k! :shock: I have to be very careful not to go over. For me 1099-MISC is good and 1099-INT is bad, but in practice if I don't know which it'll be I have to err on the side of caution.

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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Sat Sep 03, 2016 12:10 pm

I'm sure the custodian could answer questions about tax reporting.

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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by tfb » Sat Sep 03, 2016 4:29 pm

*3!4!/5! wrote:It makes a big difference to me as I have to stay under the $3400 investment cap (int, div, CG count, but misc income doesn't) to get EITC, and if I go over I lose $6k! :shock: I have to be very careful not to go over. For me 1099-MISC is good and 1099-INT is bad, but in practice if I don't know which it'll be I have to err on the side of caution.

Merrill Edge issued 1099-MISC.
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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by *3!4!/5! » Sat Sep 03, 2016 11:25 pm

Earl Lemongrab wrote:I'm sure the custodian could answer questions about tax reporting.
I should at least ask. I was worried they might just say "Sorry we don't give tax advice." :oops: even though I'd be asking them what they intend to do. They may not want to say. Or else an uncertain phone rep may give a random answer. I could try chat as it's in writing.


tfb wrote:
*3!4!/5! wrote:It makes a big difference to me as I have to stay under the $3400 investment cap (int, div, CG count, but misc income doesn't) to get EITC, and if I go over I lose $6k! :shock: I have to be very careful not to go over. For me 1099-MISC is good and 1099-INT is bad, but in practice if I don't know which it'll be I have to err on the side of caution.

Merrill Edge issued 1099-MISC.
Thanks for that info. By the way, what other kinds of things did they report on 1099-MISC? Do they report separately from BoA? I haven't opened a BoA checking account yet (I know I need it to qualify for BoA Preferred Rewards, and hope to get a bonus offer for the checking account too) but I was wondering if a BoA checking bonus would go on the 1099-MISC too or if, more likely, it would go on 1099-INT.

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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by tfb » Mon Sep 05, 2016 8:50 am

*3!4!/5! wrote:
tfb wrote:Merrill Edge issued 1099-MISC.
Thanks for that info. By the way, what other kinds of things did they report on 1099-MISC? Do they report separately from BoA? I haven't opened a BoA checking account yet (I know I need it to qualify for BoA Preferred Rewards, and hope to get a bonus offer for the checking account too) but I was wondering if a BoA checking bonus would go on the 1099-MISC too or if, more likely, it would go on 1099-INT.

Nothing else. I didn't have a bonus from B of A. I suppose it will be reported separately by B of A, not sure on which form.
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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Mon Sep 12, 2016 5:27 pm

I was knocking off a couple more transfers, including one for TD Ameritrade. This is $1000 for 250k transfer, similar to this one:

https://www.tdameritrade.com/offer/300freetrades/

But targeted for existing accounts.

A change is that TDA now allows doing an electronic signature on transfer requests, rather than the previous print->sign->mail, fax, or scan as previous. They do require a verification step, where they send a code to the registered email or phone number on the account. That's a step up in convenience.

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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Thu Sep 15, 2016 3:38 pm

Earl Lemongrab wrote:A change is that TDA now allows doing an electronic signature on transfer requests, rather than the previous print->sign->mail, fax, or scan as previous. They do require a verification step, where they send a code to the registered email or phone number on the account. That's a step up in convenience.

Impressively, the transfers hit the account midday today. Less than three days is very fast. I already have $500 of that bonus credited, and now need to top it off with some cash to get the full $1000.

Etrade reported yesterday that the transfer was complete (started within minutes of the TDA request), but that it would take 1-2 business days for the assets to post to the account. I thought they were going to win, but TDA sneaks in for the victory!

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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by blueberry » Fri Sep 23, 2016 1:12 pm

Earl Lemongrab wrote:
madbrain wrote:Fidelity posts their bonus as a contribution.

I also believe that this is incorrect. What is your source?

Earl


Definitely the bonus did not post as a contribution to my IRA at Fidelity. In fact, when I look into this recently at various places preparing to transfer for a bonus I have not found a place that considered it a contribution and also that didn't put it into the IRA as 'interest'. It seems too good to be true but that does happen once in awhile.

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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by *3!4!/5! » Fri Sep 23, 2016 2:34 pm

General question: when you transfer in kind ("ACATS"?) how long does it take for cost basis information to migrate over to the new custodian? If it's not immediately available when the holdings arrive should you wait a few days (or how long) for the "dust to settle" before inquiring about absent cost basis information?

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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by tfb » Fri Sep 23, 2016 5:25 pm

*3!4!/5! wrote:General question: when you transfer in kind ("ACATS"?) how long does it take for cost basis information to migrate over to the new custodian? If it's not immediately available when the holdings arrive should you wait a few days (or how long) for the "dust to settle" before inquiring about absent cost basis information?

About one week. Give it two weeks before inquiring.
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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by am » Fri Sep 23, 2016 5:45 pm

Earl Lemongrab wrote:I was knocking off a couple more transfers, including one for TD Ameritrade. This is $1000 for 250k transfer, similar to this one:

https://www.tdameritrade.com/offer/300freetrades/

But targeted for existing accounts.

A change is that TDA now allows doing an electronic signature on transfer requests, rather than the previous print->sign->mail, fax, or scan as previous. They do require a verification step, where they send a code to the registered email or phone number on the account. That's a step up in convenience.

Earl


For the 1k bonus for 250k transfer, can you transfer Vanguard etfs and intern. Muni fund without fees? Can you buy more of these every month without fees? Can you transfer back to Vanguard after some time (not sure why I would want to anymore). Thanks.

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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Fri Sep 23, 2016 6:12 pm

am wrote:For the 1k bonus for 250k transfer, can you transfer Vanguard etfs and intern. Muni fund without fees? Can you buy more of these every month without fees? Can you transfer back to Vanguard after some time (not sure why I would want to anymore). Thanks.

Definitely you can transfer in any Vanguard ETFs. I think the muni fund would be fine, but I don't know which specific one you mean. You would get some free trades that you could use initially to buy any ETFs. After that, consult the commission-free list to see which you can buy without fees after that. The muni fund would likely have transaction fees.

https://research.tdameritrade.com/grid/public/etfs/commissionfree/commissionfree.asp

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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by am » Fri Sep 23, 2016 6:30 pm

Earl Lemongrab wrote:
am wrote:For the 1k bonus for 250k transfer, can you transfer Vanguard etfs and intern. Muni fund without fees? Can you buy more of these every month without fees? Can you transfer back to Vanguard after some time (not sure why I would want to anymore). Thanks.

Definitely you can transfer in any Vanguard ETFs. I think the muni fund would be fine, but I don't know which specific one you mean. You would get some free trades that you could use initially to buy any ETFs. After that, consult the commission-free list to see which you can buy without fees after that. The muni fund would likely have transaction fees.

https://research.tdameritrade.com/grid/public/etfs/commissionfree/commissionfree.asp

Earl


I had a workplace HSA account and brokerage account years ago. I wonder if I am eligible for this bonus?

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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Fri Sep 23, 2016 6:38 pm

am wrote:I had a workplace HSA account and brokerage account years ago. I wonder if I am eligible for this bonus?

I don't know if an HSA is eligible, or if TDA even has them. Something you could ask. I don't know what the second part of the question means. Could you clarify?

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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by am » Fri Sep 23, 2016 6:53 pm

Earl Lemongrab wrote:
am wrote:I had a workplace HSA account and brokerage account years ago. I wonder if I am eligible for this bonus?

I don't know if an HSA is eligible, or if TDA even has them. Something you could ask. I don't know what the second part of the question means. Could you clarify?

Earl


I remember reading that the bonus is for new account holders. TDA offered an investing platform for my HSA account yrs ago. I think in 08 or 09 I did open an account. Maybe I should call them?

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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Fri Sep 23, 2016 7:41 pm

You would need to open a new brokerage account anyway. No need to call, just open the account from the link in web page. That is supposed to code the account for the bonus. If you did have an existing brokerage account then you could contact them about getting it coded for a bonus. They have codes for that, that's what I just did although they sent me that offer.

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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by *3!4!/5! » Tue Sep 27, 2016 2:18 pm

Which brokerage bonuses can be repeated, and which are "one per lifetime" or "new accounts only" or otherwise restricted in theory/practice?

I was thinking that in some cases it could be a mistake to open an account with a lower level balance, if that ruined the chance of getting a bonus for a higher level starting balance or new deposit in the future (i.e. if you can do larger balances in the future than now).

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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Tue Sep 27, 2016 5:14 pm

*3!4!/5! wrote:Which brokerage bonuses can be repeated, and which are "one per lifetime" or "new accounts only" or otherwise restricted in theory/practice?

I was thinking that in some cases it could be a mistake to open an account with a lower level balance, if that ruined the chance of getting a bonus for a higher level starting balance or new deposit in the future (i.e. if you can do larger balances in the future than now).

I have yet to have a custodian refuse a bonus because a previous one was received.

There are a few where I only got one, but that was because they stopped extending offers or switched to only having very minor ones. An example would be OptionsHouse, which only played with the big dogs for a year or so and has dropped down to only offering some free trades for 5K+.

I mentioned that Scottrade has a policy of not giving a bonus if you've moved money out of the account within the previous year.

If the offer is for new accounts, it's often easiest just to do that. Usually the link in the offer will take you to a account creation page and will generally ask if you have other accounts. If you say yes, then they get your login information and pre-populate a lot of the signup form.

Most custodians allow you to link multiple accounts to one login. Some do it automatically by SSN. TD Ameritrade requires separate login credentials for each account, but you can then go through a link process.

In short, always take the best bonus(es) you can get right away. It's like investing, get your money working. Don't wait around for a better opportunity.

Earl
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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by *3!4!/5! » Tue Sep 27, 2016 8:12 pm

Thanks. That makes sense.

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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by cookymonster » Tue Sep 27, 2016 9:42 pm

Earl Lemongrab wrote:
*3!4!/5! wrote:Which brokerage bonuses can be repeated, and which are "one per lifetime" or "new accounts only" or otherwise restricted in theory/practice?

I was thinking that in some cases it could be a mistake to open an account with a lower level balance, if that ruined the chance of getting a bonus for a higher level starting balance or new deposit in the future (i.e. if you can do larger balances in the future than now).

I have yet to have a custodian refuse a bonus because a previous one was received.

There are a few where I only got one, but that was because they stopped extending offers or switched to only having very minor ones. An example would be OptionsHouse, which only played with the big dogs for a year or so and has dropped down to only offering some free trades for 5K+.

I mentioned that Scottrade has a policy of not giving a bonus if you've moved money out of the account within the previous year.

If the offer is for new accounts, it's often easiest just to do that. Usually the link in the offer will take you to a account creation page and will generally ask if you have other accounts. If you say yes, then they get your login information and pre-populate a lot of the signup form.

Most custodians allow you to link multiple accounts to one login. Some do it automatically by SSN. TD Ameritrade requires separate login credentials for each account, but you can then go through a link process.

In short, always take the best bonus(es) you can get right away. It's like investing, get your money working. Don't wait around for a better opportunity.

Earl

It still helps to have data points of brokerages where this has worked, if you don't mind mentioning them. I think Schwab has told me before they won't give me a bonus because I have a PCRA there.

I've gotten multiple bonuses from Capital One. Scotttrade seems to allow them based on what their ads show. Fidelity seems to allow them once a year. Have you gotten them from Schwab? TD Ameritade? E Trade? Merrill Edge? Those are pretty much the main players.

I'm going to try to go back to the Merrill Edge well in a couple of months.

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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by *3!4!/5! » Tue Sep 27, 2016 11:20 pm

I was specifically concerned about Schwab.
http://www.schwab.com/public/schwab/nn/ ... award.html
It says you can't get a bonus if you already have a Schwab account. I'm totally new to this, but I get the impression that Schwab isn't giving out bonuses as much as some others, and may not always have one.

I saw this blog post from 2013
https://thefinancebuff.com/huge-bonus-o ... -edge.html
saying "Here’s a summary of the bonus offers from TD Ameritrade, E*Trade, Fidelity, and Merrill Edge. Schwab used to have a similar offer but it’s no longer active online. Note Vanguard and Wells Fargo are not in this sign-up bonus war."

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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Wed Sep 28, 2016 1:22 pm

The ones that I have received bonuses from the most are TD Ameritrade and Etrade. Something like four from each. I'd have to go back through the records. Merrill Edge and Cap One/Sharebuilder looks like three. I think two Roth and one taxable from each.

Schwab used to have a regular program. Looks like I received two bonuses, in early 2013 and later 2014. Now, they seem to restrict to totally new customers. I contacted them earlier in the year as to whether there was any promotion for the small Roth I had there. They turned it over to some rep who left a voicemail, but I never got back with him. So I don't know if there is a work-around or not.

Ones that I have just one bonus from are:

OptionsHouse in late 2012. As noted elsewhere, they stopped offering cash bonuses.
BancWest in 2015. They were late to the party. I have some new offers from them I need to look at.
Scottrade in 2014. I moved it out in mid 2015. I was looking at them earlier this year but ran into that one-year after rule so I went elsewhere.
TradeKing had a nice little promo of $200 for $3k cash and three transactions (cost $15) that I snapped up. That's gone now.


I haven't been refused a bonus for prior bonuses. The only refusal was Scottrade for other reasons.

Edit: I forgot Fidelity! Looks like two from them as well.

Earl
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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by *3!4!/5! » Wed Sep 28, 2016 8:08 pm

Thanks for the great info/thread Earl Lemongrab.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
tfb wrote:
*3!4!/5! wrote:General question: when you transfer in kind ("ACATS"?) how long does it take for cost basis information to migrate over to the new custodian? If it's not immediately available when the holdings arrive should you wait a few days (or how long) for the "dust to settle" before inquiring about absent cost basis information?

About one week. Give it two weeks before inquiring.
The cost basis info did show up about a week later, and looks correct.

One interesting thing, I transferred an integer number of shares (partial transfer), but they were drawn from tax lots in non-integer amounts. (I could only specify number of shares, not specific lots.) So the fractional parts got split off, and recombined, into their own (small integer) lot. E.g. lots of 123.4 and 87.6 shares become lots of 123 and 1 and 87 shares.

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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by *3!4!/5! » Wed Sep 28, 2016 11:28 pm

What happens if I try to transfer Admiral funds, and something goes wrong and/or they can't do it? What's the worst that can happen? (I know there are other options, but I really want to know this.)

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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Thu Sep 29, 2016 9:11 am

*3!4!/5! wrote:What happens if I try to transfer Admiral funds, and something goes wrong and/or they can't do it? What's the worst that can happen? (I know there are other options, but I really want to know this.)

When there is a hitch with the transfer, they will generally contact you to find out what you want to do. On something like that, they should know ahead of time whether they can accept the fund.

Earl
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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by Longtermgrowth » Thu Sep 29, 2016 1:04 pm

Those of you transferring existing holdings (mutual funds and/or exchange traded funds) for bonuses: Does the bonus usually depend on the market value of the funds or the cost basis? If they usually count the market value only, what happens to the promised bonus if there is a large stock market drop while transferring?

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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Thu Sep 29, 2016 1:29 pm

Longtermgrowth wrote:Those of you transferring existing holdings (mutual funds and/or exchange traded funds) for bonuses: Does the bonus usually depend on the market value of the funds or the cost basis? If they usually count the market value only, what happens to the promised bonus if there is a large stock market drop while transferring?

Market value. A minor difference can be when the amount is "officially" credited. Some it's the value when the funds are posted, others at the closing for that day. Drop in value during transit is a concern. That's especially true for IRAs where there's no easy way usually to "top off" the transfer with some cash to make the funding level. I do often reserve some of my Roth contribution for that reason.

I did have one rep tell me that if a problem like that occurred he could get the bonus approved if it were shown that the value when the transfer was initiated was sufficient. I don't remember which one that was, nor if the guy was accurate.

A recent transfer of 100k had a small down-spike and the official number was $100,036. Cutting it close! But it was taxable so if a bit of cash had been needed, no big deal. More convenient to have it complete with the ETF transfer.

Earl
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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by *3!4!/5! » Thu Sep 29, 2016 1:38 pm

Earl Lemongrab wrote:
Longtermgrowth wrote:Those of you transferring existing holdings (mutual funds and/or exchange traded funds) for bonuses: Does the bonus usually depend on the market value of the funds or the cost basis? If they usually count the market value only, what happens to the promised bonus if there is a large stock market drop while transferring?

Market value. A minor difference can be when the amount is "officially" credited. Some it's the value when the funds are posted, others at the closing for that day. Drop in value during transit is a concern. That's especially true for IRAs where there's no easy way usually to "top off" the transfer with some cash to make the funding level. I do often reserve some of my Roth contribution for that reason.

I did have one rep tell me that if a problem like that occurred he could get the bonus approved if it were shown that the value when the transfer was initiated was sufficient. I don't remember which one that was, nor if the guy was accurate.

A recent transfer of 100k had a small down-spike and the official number was $100,036. Cutting it close! But it was taxable so if a bit of cash had been needed, no big deal. More convenient to have it complete with the ETF transfer.

Earl


But then it's minus withdrawals, right? So if during the holding period for bonus qualification (e.g. 90 days, 6 mo, 1 yr) they would subtract withdrawals such as dividend distributions sent as cash to your bank account?

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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Thu Sep 29, 2016 2:55 pm

*3!4!/5! wrote:But then it's minus withdrawals, right? So if during the holding period for bonus qualification (e.g. 90 days, 6 mo, 1 yr) they would subtract withdrawals such as dividend distributions sent as cash to your bank account?

I think that if you left the original shares, then removing dividends probably would not count against you. One could certainly check with the custodian to make sure.

Earl
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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Mon Oct 03, 2016 5:39 pm

In the interests of full disclosure, I think it's fair to mention when things aren't as smooth as one might like.

I received a targeted offer from Etrade (after a previous one in the spring). I used the link to enroll the account, and received a confirmation email on 8/5, with a 45-day funding period. Then I kind of piddled around, but finally got going on a transfer. That completed 9/15. Then the fun began:

1. I sent a secure message to verify that the amount was in excess of 100k. I received a response, referencing the previous bonus and that I had already received it so no worries. That was of course, NOT what I asked.

2. Sent a follow-up, again asking the question. This time CS said, "yes we received your transfer and there was a promo going on, so we will get that started." Again, not what I asked.

3. Sent another message. This time the person understood the question and replied that it was indeed over 100k.

4. Received a message that I was enrolled in a new promotion and had 45 days to fund it. Already, enrolled, don't want to wait another 45 days. Sent a message about that.

5. Received a response referring back to what happened in May again. Replied with all details.

6. Received a response telling me to contact my service rep. Did so.

7. He gets back to me to say that the original promotion had expired so that they had to enroll me in a new one. I replied that 8/5 to 9/15 was 41 days, so not expired.

8. He replied that it seems to be the case, so he's turned it over to Compliance. And don't bother him anymore (said it nicer than that but it was the gist).

9. After a few days of nothing further, sent a strongly-worded message to CS.

10. Received a message that it's been forwarded to a CS supervisor and that he (the sender) would get back with me the next day (last Friday) to update. Didn't happen.

11. Sent message this morning. No response yet, but this afternoon the bonus appeared.


So more work than is typical, and it should be noted that I have had other bonuses at Etrade without difficulty. It seems like the fact that it was close to the expiration confused CS (especially as they weren't really reading the messages for comprehension) and by the time someone looked, it really was expired. Not that it should have mattered.

Now you know.

Earl
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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Sat Oct 08, 2016 10:16 am

snowman wrote:
Earl Lemongrab wrote:All in all, Merrill Edge is the best deal when that offer is available because of the extras you mention, plus slightly lower required amounts with shorter holding periods. Things can and likely will change.

How often does the $1K offer come online? Is it fairly regular, or only once a year?

As reported here:

https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=150033&start=100#p3078972

The Merrill Edge $1000 deal is back on, but for a very limited time. If you've been thinking of taking advantage, now's the time.

Earl
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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by *3!4!/5! » Sat Oct 08, 2016 10:28 am

From looking at various discussions it seems that the Merrill Edge $1000 deal has been appearing twice a year, and stays open for a couple of months.

I'm going to transfer from my IRA next year (when it's gets over a threshold), and I'm counting on this better deal being back say Feb-Apr 2017 (after expiring 21 Oct 2016).

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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by lemonPepper » Mon Oct 10, 2016 1:06 pm

For a 100k portfolio, seems like the fidelity 50k American air miles is the best deal right now? I"m thinking about doing that deal and then moving to merrill edge when it is live again

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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Mon Oct 10, 2016 1:34 pm

lemonPepper wrote:For a 100k portfolio, seems like the fidelity 50k American air miles is the best deal right now? I"m thinking about doing that deal and then moving to merrill edge when it is live again

I couldn't say, because I don't get into the miles offers. I have no way to evaluate that. TD Ameritrade, Merrill Edge, and Etrade would give $500 cash right now.

Earl
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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by dual » Mon Oct 10, 2016 1:43 pm

mikep wrote:I assume you need medallion signature guarantees to move that much $$ around? I find my credit union doesn't want to do them and they are a real pain to get.


My experience is that these are required only if the receiving and sending accounts are registered differently. For example, one is a joint account and the other is an individual account.

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