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Asset transfers to Vanguard

edited October 2021 in Fund Discussions
I have duplicate holdings at a different brokerage and wanted to consolidate them with those at Vanguard. I tried to initiate partial account transfer online at Vanguard. The first thing it asked was the other brokerage account username and password with a note that this information will be used by a third party to initiate the transfer but that Vanguard will not keep that information. I can trust Vanguard but not a third party I never did business with.

Has anybody transferred assets to Vanguard brokerage recently and what was your experience?

P.S.: I tried to reach their onboarding department by phone for the past two days and after an hour plus on the phone I received a voice mail one day and the other day it got disconnected.

I transferred assets from Vanguard to another brokerage a few clicks in a 1 minute. I thought Vanguard might have a similar, simpler process to receive assets.


  • Lots of dissatisfaction with Vanguard's "service" here in MFO of late. That's why I'm glad I don't own any of their products. Great products, many of them. But if you have a question? Or want to make a change, like yourself? They are "in the weeds." Like a waitress who can't keep up. ...
  • edited October 2021
    I transferred my Roth IRA from Fidelity to Vanguard in 2019.
    The first three comments listed in the link below provide details.
  • I've told bits and pieces on this forum before of how the Vanguard brokerage made a dog's breakfast of a transfer. I transferred some assets to Vanguard from elsewhere. I They messed it up so badly I had to get FINRA involved. This was after over a year of the Vanguard brokerage waffling and yes-yes-ing and mostly ignoring me. After FINRA shone a bright light on the brokerage error (which was obvious from the documents I saved and produced) Vanguard restored all the lost money and made other repairs. The investment has done very well, once the money was put in the correct mutual fund. The brokerage people were young, incompetent, polite, and indolent. And this was before the brokerage got moved to Texas and things went from bad to worse at Vanguard. My wife and I have "legacy" accounts at Vanguard dating from the the Jack Bogle days when there was no brokerage, customer service was excellent with no waiting on the phone and everyone at the Vanguard end of the phone was well-informed about the various Vanguard mutual funds .
  • edited October 2021
    Your experiences are scary and thanks for sharing. It is so strange for Vanguard to operate like the opposite of a business. I get that they are a non-profit organization; nevertheless their stated mission is: To take a stand for all investors, to treat them fairly, and to give them the best chance for investment success. Their process is exactly the opposite of every other competitor and hotel California: so difficult to check in (transfer assets in) and so easy to check out (transfer assets out) of Vanguard.
  • To move funds from a NY State Deferred Compensation 457 account to an IRA at Vanguard, I had to have the 457 account mail me a check first. Then to expedite the process, I scanned the check and submitted it online to Vanguard. It was then entered into a money market account where I was able to allocate it. A bit clunky from both entities, but it eventually worked out. Still, you would think that the entire process could’ve been done online.
  • edited October 2021
    Here are notes related to my 2019 account transfer to Vanguard.
    Changes may have been implemented since then...

    Will I pay any fees for my transfer?
    Vanguard doesn't charge any transfer fees. However, you'll need to contact your current financial firm to see if it charges transfer fees for closing an account.
    If you want to move money from a CD (certificate of deposit) that's held in a bank account and the CD hasn't yet reached its maturity date, check with your firm to see if you'll be charged any withdrawal fees or penalties. Bank CDs will be liquidated at the time of the transfer to a Vanguard account.

    Is there any paperwork I need to fill out?
    Many large financial firms are enrolled in the Automated Customer Account Transfer Service known as ACAT (or a similar service). The majority of ACAT transfers can be completed entirely online, with assets sent to Vanguard electronically. Some cases, such as partial transfers and changes of ownership (e.g., a joint account to an individual account) may require paperwork. If forms are required, we can prefill some of the information for you.
    Some asset transfers require a Medallion signature guarantee from a bank or another financial institution. A bank officer, trust company, or member firm of the U.S. stock exchange can grant this service. (Notary publics can't provide it.) If the firm you're transferring from requires a signature guarantee, check with your bank or a financial institution near you to see if they'll provide this service.

    How long will the transfer take?
    The fastest transfers take approximately 7 business days. They occur when firms are enrolled in the Automated Customer Account Transfer Service known as ACAT (or a similar service), when assets are moved "in kind" (or "as is"), and when the owner's name is identical on the "to" and "from" accounts. When assets are moved "in kind," it means there's no selling or buying involved, and no gain or loss is recognized as a tax consequence.
    A firm that doesn't provide automated transfers may have you fill out paperwork and will send us a check once it receives your documents in good order. This may take 4 to 6 weeks.
    Assets held in a money market fund are cashed out before they're moved to the money market settlement fund in your Vanguard account, so they may arrive after your other assets.
    Many brokerage CDs (certificates of deposit), limited partnerships, hedge funds, and low-priced securities can't be transferred in kind. If you hold any of these investment in your account, we may contact you to discuss your options.
  • ...Or Mars could bump into Saturn, in which case, X will happen. If Mars instead bumps into VENUS, that's a whole different ball of wax. Be prepared. Be prepared to slowly wade through a bunch of ass-covering bullshit fine-print.
  • A few years ago, I tried to transfer a fund from Fidelity IRA to Vanguard IRA and Vanguard required that I obtain a medallion signature on the Vanguard paper work. I was not going to jump through the hoops and did not transfer - the Vanguard customer service told me if I transfer cash, then medallion signature would not be required - did not make any sense to me but I was not going to be out of the market to accommodate Vanguard. This time I am trying to transfer from taxable to taxable. Selling else where and transferring cash to rebuy at Vanguard is not a viable option. May be I will wait for Vanguard to become a for profit company or will consolidate assets from Vanguard to a different brokerage which Vanguard allows very easily.
  • We did an IRA transfer from Fidelity to Vanguard a year ago that went via ACAT, just as Observant1 described. When I spoke with Vanguard I was told that the medallion guarantee requirement originates with the sending brokerage. If they don't require the guarantee everything can be done electronically. Vanguard specifically commented that they have a good working relationship with Fidelity.

    Regarding the hoops Level5 jumped through, the rules are different for employer-sponsored plans. With those plans, the withdrawal must be initiated on the 401k/403(b)/457 side. The assets usually have to be converted to cash. The only exception I have seen, and this is with multiple financial institutions, is that if you're transferring assets between an employer plan and an IRA run by the same institution, e.g. TRP, Fidelity, etc., then the transfer can be in-kind.

    Many if not most of these plans today still send the cash only via paper check. The only way I've found around this problem is to use the exception above: transfer assets electronically from plan to a temporary IRA managed by the same institution if possible. Then have your target IRA do a customary electronic pull from the temporary IRA.

  • edited October 2021
    @BaluBalu - I’m reluctant to offer advice on a sensitive matter like this. But here goes …

    First, in transferring some funds from my credit union to Fidelity for the first time (about a month back) a message on the screen asked for my credit union user name and password. It appeared at the time to me that this was an added layer of security required by the credit union before they would process the request from Fidelity. I supplied the requested information and the transaction was completed w/o any hassle. FWIW - I’d linked my bank several weeks earlier w/o having to do this.

    Second - While I don’t recall any reference to a “third party”, I’m wondering in your case if that might be an added safeguard - so that VG would not have 100% control over the transaction. In other words, I suspect it is a trusted 3rd party serving as added / independent security measure. I could be wrong.


    *Another thought - Had I been worried about having provided the user name & password I’d have immediately logged in to my credit union account and changed them. Never got around to it. Not a bad idea.
  • edited October 2021
    No worries @hank. No, I do not want to give credentials to a third party (Yodlee). I mocked up a dummy transfer from Fidelity to which I am currently transferring different assets from Vanguard. Vanguard is asking me to share Fidelity username and password with Yodlee. There was no such requirement at Fidelity for pulling assets from Vanguard and it took less than a minute. So, it is Vanguard’s process. I did not want this thread to get into ranking brokerages or why Vanguard is good or bad. I got the information I needed from you guys.

    Interestingly, today, Vanguard website allows an alternate longer process, which I suspect was always part of their process but some how the website must have had a glitch last time I tried and did not display this alternate process. I will go through it and see how that goes. Thanks.
  • edited October 2021
    msf said:

    We did an IRA transfer from Fidelity to Vanguard a year ago that went via ACAT, just as Observant1 described. When I spoke with Vanguard I was told that the medallion guarantee requirement originates with the sending brokerage. If they don't require the guarantee everything can be done electronically. Vanguard specifically commented that they have a good working relationship with Fidelity.

    When I transferred assets to Vanguard, the Medallion Signature Guarantee requirement originated at Fidelity.
    Although this caused a delay, the process helps to prevent fraud/theft which I can appreciate.
    Here's a good primer on Medallion Signature Guarantees.

  • edited October 2021
    The alternate process essentially pre-fills an electronic application that I am then required to print and snail mail to Vanguard.

    "Your transfer requires paperwork
    You'll need to complete paperwork to transfer only some of the investments (rather than the entire account). Mail your completed form along with an account statement that shows all of your investments (dated within the past 90 days) to the Vanguard address provided on the form.

    If you're unable to print the form now, a copy has been sent to your secure Message Center on"

    The other brokerages I am familiar with, all participating in ACAT, do not require this print and snail mail process. There you can electronically attach a brokerage statement and submit an electronic transfer request. I am not inclined to do manual applications and manual handling.

    P.S.: At the end of the application, there is a medallion signature part which says it is only required if the transferring firm requires it. This tells me that Vanguard potentially plans to send my paper application by mail to the transferring firm rather than using the ACAT process to request the assets. Potentially more handling by humans than I prefer. Also, the medallion signature requirement now is only if the transferring firm requires it, which is an improvement over my prior experience with Vanguard.

    That ends my venture to transfer assets to Vanguard.

    No longer plan to check this thread.
  • On wonders if Vanguard is listening.

    As BaluBalu had not (until an hour ago) identified the third party, and because I did not recall being prompted by Vanguard to provide Yodlee any information, I started a test transfer. Sure enough, in the process a Vanguard page identified Yodlee and asked for login info for the "from" account.

    I just tried reproducing that and Vanguard's site took me through a different sequence.

    From MyAccounts (drop down) By & Sell, I followed the "Transfer an account" link. Next page, "Start your transfer or rollover". The next page has a radio button for type of account. I selected Roth IRA.

    The next page asks whether the assets are in one's possession or at another firm (radio button). Moving on, the next page reads:
    Things you'll need
    • The name of the other institution.
    • Your account number.
    • The type of account you're transferring (e.g., IRA, individual, joint).
    • The types of investments in the account (e.g., stocks, bonds, mutual funds).
    Transfer process
    1. Complete our transfer form (10 minutes)
      Give us some information about the outside account you want to transfer, and we'll guide you through the process.

    2. We'll initiate the transfer
      Your investments will transfer in kind from your outside account to your new Vanguard account. Depending on your institution, we'll receive your assets electronically or by mail. [Emphasis added.]

    3. Watch for a confirmation
      We'll email you status updates throughout the process as well as a confirmation when the transfer is complete.
    Nothing about logins. Indeed nothing else is required.

    After providing the requested info, I get to a page that recaps the information submitted (sending brokerage, account number, assets to be transferred). The step is labeled: Review and e-sign.
  • @msf, please see my post which was 2 hours before your last post and I mentioned in there twice that the third party is Yodlee.

    In any case, as you suggested, I followed "From My Accounts (drop down) to Buy & Sell" but I do not see a "Transfer an account" link in there. In fact, I did a search of the webpage to make sure I did not overlook. There was only one link for Transfers and that is a link for "Transfer money." Then I did a search at the main page for Transfer an account which led me to the same old process.

    I think I was fairly clear that I want to transfer partial individual account which is a taxable account. I am not looking for how to transfer a full IRA account.

    If you do not mind, could you please post the link for "Transfer an account" or the full web address you seem to have discovered that you say enables electronic transfer of assets? (I do not think the link will identify your account information for us and it will require me to login using my credentials but it will take me to the correct page.)

  • I replicated your test transfer several hours before you mentioned Yodlee. Only later, an hour or two after you subsequently named it as the third party did I try again. I tried again because as you noted Vanguard started providing alternative paths.

    In any case, had you been able to find/follow the "Transfer an account" link, it would have taken you to:

    The problem may be with the browser used. With the first couple of browsers I tried, the Buy and Sell page is as I described, including a "Transfer an account". With a Chrome browser, I get what's probably an older version of that page. As you said, without a "Transfer an account" link.

    Using the move money link above, the Chrome browser still leads one to the Yodlee prompt, while other browsers get to the pages I previously described. Best suggestion is to try different browsers until one of them works for you.

    (BTW, even from the old Buy and Sell page, the Open an Account link will take you to the same place, i.e. the move money page. For all the good that does.)
  • edited October 2021
    Thanks, @msf. I tried (copy-paste) the link from your post in both firefox and Microsoft edge. In firefox, it led me to the previous process of Yodlee or print and snail mail. In Edge, it took me through a process similar to what you had posted, eventually getting to the Review and e-Sign tab. In the Review and e-Sign tab it does not have any space for e-signing and dating the application but has a Submit button. I clicked the submit button, another popup opened asking me to accept electronic communication for new account opening. Because I did not ask for a new account, I did not accept and so it said the transfer request can not be completed. I logged out, closed the browser. Reopened Edge and started the process again and this time I accepted the electronic communication for new account opening, even though that is not what I was doing. That took me to the next page which is Print and Mail the application asking me to print the pre-filled form and snail mail.

    So, bottom line is, a third process with all the promise and the same Vanguard result.

    Enough with asset transfers to Vanguard. I am sorry we wasted so much of everybody time on the weekend trying to make Vanguard work for us.

    The current CEO of Vanguard was hired in 2002 when he was a 30 yr old as Chief Information Officer to bring Vanguard into the electronic age. He spent in that role for four years and was rewarded for his work eventually leading to his current role which he has held for the past three years.
  • I didn't go as far as you did because I wasn't going to submit a real transfer. Sorry to hear that it got you nowhere.
  • edited November 2021
    On a positive note, my transfer from Vanguard request submitted at Fidelity last Thursday is completed before market open today. Unusually fast, in less than two business days. Vanguard is very good about not causing delays if you want to move assets out of Vanguard.
  • Thanks for the update. FWIW - I didn’t consider your OP to be a “waste” of time. There’s always things to be learned (speaking for myself). I’m amazed at how easily some of these (transfers) go through while others get snarled up.
  • @hank : that's called shit happens !
    Have a good week, Derf
  • @Derf- I'll bet that even the Neanderthals had a similar saying.:)
  • edited November 2021
    Just an update -

    Two weeks after I asked Vanguard through their message center to cancel my partial asset transfers because I am not inclined to participate in their manual process (print, sign, and mail), they wrote back saying I can sign and upload into the message center the pre-filled transfer forms they mailed me. That was funny. I did not ask them to mail me. Looks like Vanguard employees are eager to help (in their own way) but Vanguard’s inefficient, expensive processes are getting in the way!

    Vanguard: Service is meeting customers' reasonable expectations but not making customers adapt to your ways.
  • I've learned the hard way to never initiate any more asset transfers to Vanguard ! Their manual process is unacceptable bureaucratic BS with today's technology ! If you have to, buy your Vanguard funds ntf at E-Trade !
  • I have had good luck (and speed) to transfer asset to/out of Vanguard. Typically, it takes about 10 days from start to finish. The most time consuming part is having to mail in the form to Vanguard. T. Rowe Price requires signature guarantee from a bank and credit union which takes another day to complete.
  • I have transferred T Rowe funds to it from other brokerages and was not asked to provide signature guarantee but it was a manual process - they filled out the forms and mailed me by fedex and included a return label. So, that took three extra days than an electronic transfer. I wanted to move those T Rowe funds I bought elsewhere to it so more of the fund ER stays with it but I was surprised it was not more eager (for a public company) to reduce costs / increase profits. Because of their lack of enthusiasm, I left outside T Rowe later purchases of their funds.
  • edited November 2021
    I have encountered requests to enter login info for financial institution when trying to link 2 financial institutions (neither Vanguard).

    It is a newer technology.

    Remember the old way that some institutions still follow? 2 tiny deposits were made and you were asked to find those and enter to validate? That took 3-5 days. Then a hard-link was established between the institutions.

    This newer way is real-time. You enter login info, which remains encrypted (and not stored by anyone), but is used to generate coding for hard-link between the institutions. And that hard-link would continue to work (until cancelled) even if you changed your login info. If you don't trust either financial institution for this linking process, why would you give your money to them?

    Of course, the old-old way is the paper way with Signature Guarantee (same as Medallion Signature Guarantee) from bank or brokerage - Notary is NOT accepted. Then you mail all this and keep fingers crossed that the mail is not lost or stolen.
  • Agree. If you do not trust either financial institution with the password of the other, why give them ur money. This made linking two banks very easy and with Zelle, some transfers between two banks is instantaneous. The difficulty with Vanguard process is that it wants you to share login credentials with a third party.
  • edited November 2021
    People should of course be careful. But realistically, some 3rd party may be involved in such back-office/processing fin-tech stuff. Not every institutions will have in-house/internal capabilities on this fin-tech. So, it comes down to the trust one has in the 2 institutions involved.

    I use Zelle and don't think it is a solution. Zelle transactions are limited by banks to $200-2,000 (small potatoes). Transactions/mistakes are NOT reversible/fixable - and users accepted that condition on sign up. Try sending $100K or $1 million by Zelle (-:).
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