I’ve avoided sharing my frustrations over the past few weeks. But perhaps the experienced investors at mfo will indulge my venting or possibly offer some advice. In May I began the process of transferring all my accounts from TRP to Fidelity. This out of frustration with TRP’s front office / client relations. Held at TRP were Traditional and Roth IRAs, in roughly equal amounts, plus a non-retirement account. Completed the applications online, but needed to sign, date and mail some papers to Fido.
For the largest holdings I specified “transfer in-kind”. For 3 short-term bond funds having relatively low balances, I elected the “liquidation” option. The transfer-in-kind went through as intended and much faster than the cash transfers, Later, 3 separate checks from the liquidated accounts arrived at Fido, appearing there as “cash available to trade”. I invested the cash in 3 mutual funds, 1 ETF and 1 stock.
Three days later my account turned “delinquent”. Fido without consultation began force-selling those assets. After I called, Fido’s team informed me that all 3 checks from TRP has “bounced” - meaning they’d been returned to Fido unpaid by TRP’s bank. I and Fido’s reps nearly immediately contacted TRP. Their answer was that there’d been a “systems error” resulting in an unspecified number of similar cases and they were “investigating”. A week passed. Untold hours on the phone with both. At TRP the average wait is about 30 minutes (followed by additional delays while they “check”). Yesterday, TRP informed me the checks had been resent and should arrive at Fido next week.
At Fido things went from bad to worse. I suffered a modest market loss when the 4 investments were sold out under me after only a few days. Than, they hit me with 3 commissions or early redemption fees totaling $233 (later reversed). The real issue now is that all
of my Fido accounts are saddled with a multitude of “restrictions”. The Roth, which hadn’t even been funded when the issue arose in the Traditional, is also restricted. And, so is my cash management account, though the impact would seem slight. Fido says I’ll still be allowed to trade, but only with “settled” cash - a minor nuisance.
Here’s the restrictions
placed on all my accounts as I understand them. There may be more I’m not aware of.
- 3 separate “bounced check” violations which won’t clear for one year
- 1 “free ride” violation in effect for 90 days
- 1 “liquidity violation” in effect for 90 days
As I said, none should prevent me from trading with settled cash - but any additional could cause me to be banned from trading. Since I’m still waiting for 4 more checks to arrive (3 for the Traditional and 1 for the Roth), I’m on “pins and needles” here. Fido’s says their refusal to remove the restrictions is because they are from violations of SEC regulations. I’ve searched for similar reported problems online - but found only one (from a semi-literate poster) that went up last week. I’ll share FWIW.https://www.reddit.com/user/DistrictFinal5222/