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Need to Dump my Broker...
Old 06-27-2004, 05:40 PM   #1
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Need to Dump my Broker...

I signed up with my current broker (Smith Barney) 3.5 years ago because I needed a break from watching my portfolios every night after getting home late from work, even though I made a lot of money under my own managment. I assumed this major brokerage house (Smith Barney) would be able to provide a return at least equal to my results. I was soooo wrong! I have been paying them over 1k/qtr for less than 4% return , after fees, over the last 3.5 years. My question:
I transferred all of my investment portfolios (less my 401K) to SB to hold on account. As a trial, I let SB liquidate one of my portfolios and invest the funds in one of their "managed" portfolios (which included some real winners like Enron, Tyco and Worldcom :. This is the dismal return I mentioned above. Now I need to dump this loser portfolio and transfer all my accts./funds to my Vanguard brokerage acct. to resume managing myself. My problem...
The "managed" portfolio SB currently has me invested in is made up of 28 different stocks. If I request a transfer of all accounts to my Vanguard brokerage account, will the stocks be transferred "as is"? Will I be responsible for liquidating these stocks when I see fit or will SB liquidate and transfer the funds.? Will there be any fees for closing my Smith Barney acct? I hope several of you have been in this situation and can advise. Thanks for any help.

Slipp
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Re: Need to Dump my Broker...
Old 06-27-2004, 06:44 PM   #2
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Re: Need to Dump my Broker...

Slipp1229, you can transfer the shares "in-kind" if you prefer. In fact, that's the first option on the Vanguard Brokerage Transfer form ("...transfer all of my brokerage account securities in kind"). Good luck!
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Re: Need to Dump my Broker...
Old 06-27-2004, 07:12 PM   #3
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Re: Need to Dump my Broker...

Slipp1229.
I agree with Bob...call Vanguard in the morning and get this going...do the transfer "in kind", then sell what you want in Vanguard and go from there.

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Re: Need to Dump my Broker...
Old 06-27-2004, 08:00 PM   #4
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Re: Need to Dump my Broker...

Let's see, in order:

1. Yes.
2. SB should follow your instructions. You can liquidate either at SB or Vanguard, and you can transfer all of your SB account or any subset you describe. Transferring it all and liquidating it at your own pace at Vanguard seems simplest to me.
3. Most likely SB will hit you with a "account closure fee" or some such thing. It'll probably be $50-$100. No way around it that I know.

malakito.
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Re: Need to Dump my Broker...
Old 06-27-2004, 08:17 PM   #5
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Re: Need to Dump my Broker...

I'm looking at a similar arrangement, and would recommend the call to Vanguard to check. If you have individual stocks, then probably there won't be a problem. A number of my SB held mutual funds would not transfer to Vanguard and will have to be sold through SB before the transfer because they were funds offered exclusively throught SB. I gave a list of my funds to Vanguard and found that only one out of four will transfer.
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Re: Need to Dump my Broker...
Old 06-28-2004, 06:17 PM   #6
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Re: Need to Dump my Broker...

Thanks everyone,
Time to make the move and proceed with my ER.

Slipp
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Re: Need to Dump my Broker...
Old 07-19-2004, 02:07 PM   #7
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Re: Need to Dump my Broker...

Well, I got rid of my broker. But now I have a quandry I transferred all of my securities (over 60) to Ameritrade for eventual liquidation. I would like to accomplish this as I feel appropriate over the next 1-2 years. Question: The Ameritrade software interface does not track the incremental purchases my old broker made of each of my stocks ie: MSFT purchased in six different blocks over a 5 year period. Each block at different per share pricing at the time. Is there a good software package that I can enter my portfolio data once and it will auto update daily if required?

Ameritrade has an optional package ($39/yr) called GainsKeeper that was supposed to be able to auto-import your portfolio from Ameritrade, but because Ameritrade did not have the Incremental Purchase feature, GainsKeeper did not work, plus it had alot of bugs, like not recognizing common stock symbol :.

What's a good service I can use/buy? Thanks much.

Slipp
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Re: Need to Dump my Broker...
Old 07-19-2004, 02:17 PM   #8
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Re: Need to Dump my Broker...

I can tell you that quicken isnt much of an option, although the fault is mostly ameritrades.

Ameritrade reports many transactions incorrectly to quicken. For example, if you own mutual funds in your ameritrade account, and you have the dividends paid out in cash or invested to another fund (as opposed to reinvested), ameritrade will report that to quicken as a zero dollar dividend reinvestment. When its neither zero dollars, nor a reinvestment. You can correct it in quicken, but your next download will bring down the faulty transaction again.

I spent 2 years pushing ameritrade to fix their errant reporting. They frequently promised, but never delivered. When I left them, they tried to throw free trades at me and were very anxious to know what they could do to keep me. Offer me good service retroactive 2 years?

Quicken never responded to any of my support requests either. I sort of figured one of the larger financial s/w companies would care about misreporting from one of the larger brokers. Guess not.

Microsoft money might work.

Or you could use the neolithic method I ended up with. Make them send you paper confirmations. Every buy goes into a folder alphabetically. Whenever I sell anything, I pull the buys and staple them to the sells, then stick that in the tax stuff folder for that year.

Requires manual entry. But thats better than the time I used ameritrades download to quicken and then quicken to turbotax and my entire schedule "D" was incorrect because ameritrade only reports the ticker symbol, and neither quicken nor turbotax corrected that to "company name, shares sold". The IRS inquiry was very welcome. Once I rewrote the schedule "D", they were ok with it though, at least the numbers were all correct.

This however did give me the opportunity to see what happens when you need to pull up your old copy of turbotax, input the old file, and try to fix things. When you cant find the disks, the turbotax folks will offer to sell you the software again for more than you paid the first time, even though you registered the product with them and e-filed through them.

Aint automation sweet? :P
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Re: Need to Dump my Broker...
Old 07-19-2004, 02:25 PM   #9
 
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Re: Need to Dump my Broker...

How many trades are we talking about? Six blocks of MSFT can be tracked in a notebook or spreadsheet. The information does not need to be updated daily, just consulted at tax time.

I enter every trade into a spreadsheet (date, stock, price paid, commissions) and file the paper confirmation. At tax time I use the spreadsheet to determine my gains and losses. I tried quicken, and it doesn't seem to add much of an advantage over my simple approach.

If your have less than 20 stocks, at 6 trades each, just write them down (or enter into a spreadsheet.)

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Re: Need to Dump my Broker...
Old 07-20-2004, 07:00 AM   #10
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Re: Need to Dump my Broker...

Ummm...

I have 38 different stock with a total of 124 purchases. I would like to automate this with a program that updates for splits / corporate actions / dividends etc.

I know quicken and MS Money require alot of manual entries and importing to them from Ameritrade does result in a lot of errors. After looking into this GainsKeeper service, I think I'm going to go that route. Even though it will be a PIA to enter all my data initially, once done, looks like everything will be in autopilot. Actually, it looks identical to what Smith Barney used to provide in their reports. Except SB used to charge me 4K a year and GK is $39. If youre interested ...the GK site is www.gainskeeper.com

Slipp
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Re: Need to Dump my Broker...
Old 07-20-2004, 12:54 PM   #11
 
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Re: Need to Dump my Broker...

GK sounds like a cheap way to handle it. I've hovered between 5 and 20 stocks in my hobby portfolio over the last 10 years. I don't reinvest dividends. I've had 2 splits, and 3 mergers in 5 or 6 years. Once a year I update the spreadsheet accounting for any splits or mergers. It's really don't very difficult.

If I used GK I'd end up doing the work anyway just to make sure they did it right.
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Re: Need to Dump my Broker...
Old 07-20-2004, 07:26 PM   #12
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Re: Need to Dump my Broker...

I use ScotTrade as a broker (even for mutual funds, since they handle Vanguard) and Money to keep track of stock and fund purchase histories. Been very happy with both.
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