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Reduce Brokerage Accounts?
Old 11-19-2013, 10:14 PM   #1
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Reduce Brokerage Accounts?

With, in mind, the Bogleheads' suggestion of simplifying investments (with a three fund portfolio), I am considering 'simplifying' my many brokerage accounts.

I've got TDAmeritrade, VG Brokerage, and Merrill Lynch accounts. Should I convert my stock holdings of these three into two or one of these accounts? Or stay as is? Is it advisable to be "diversified" in terms of brokerage accounts?

What factors should I research to decide, beyond their costs to buy stocks?

Please be nice to me, if this appears to be a dumb question to you.
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Old 11-19-2013, 11:51 PM   #2
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I vote for choosing the brokerage that you consider offers the best value and consolidating your holdings there. It should greatly simplify your life, and if you own individual stocks, you own those companies even if the brokerage goes belly-up.
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Old 11-20-2013, 06:17 AM   #3
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Many Bogleheads have only Vanguard and a local credit union. Talk about simple. Sure makes tax time easy.
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Old 11-20-2013, 06:30 AM   #4
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That's a great question. I was going to ask it myself. Currently I've got everything in TDAmeritrade. I was thinking of spreading my risk around to Vanguard and Fidelity so that I didn't have everything in one place.

I look forward to hearing the response of more experienced FIRE folks.
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Old 11-20-2013, 06:31 AM   #5
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Get out of Merrill Lynch ASAP. Other than employment based accounts, I have everything in either Vanguard or Etrade. I keep the Etrade account for buying brokered CDs. I like their choices better than what I find at Vanguard. I also have an account at a local bank for local checking. The amount of assets there is nearly irrelevant.

Simplify.
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Old 11-20-2013, 06:54 AM   #6
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Another factor to consider is the complexity of your investments should you not be able to manage multiple accounts. I've been on a simplification routine for past several years as my wife has little interest in investment and I still have too many accounts for her to track effectively should I no longer be available.
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Old 11-20-2013, 07:13 AM   #7
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I use TD Ameritrade for essentially everything but do have a local credit union account. Years ago, I had a Roth at Vanguard but consolidated everything to TDA for simplicity since I invest in individual stocks and did not care for Vanguard brokerage. All of the Vanguard ETFs I hold are commission free with TDA. I think simple is better.
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Old 11-20-2013, 07:21 AM   #8
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Most of my work is done with Vanguard and I hold individual muni bonds with Fidelity. I put some money with Sequoia fund years ago and it has grown nicely......I'll leave it there until I need it some day.
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Old 11-20-2013, 07:30 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Lakedog View Post
I use TD Ameritrade for essentially everything but do have a local credit union account. Years ago, I had a Roth at Vanguard but consolidated everything to TDA for simplicity since I invest in individual stocks and did not care for Vanguard brokerage. All of the Vanguard ETFs I hold are commission free with TDA. I think simple is better.
The problem with the brokerage accounts holding Vanguard funds is that you can't hold Admiral shares which have a significantly lower management fee. The Admiral Fees are typically the same as their equivalent ETF.
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Old 11-20-2013, 07:56 AM   #10
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One brokerage/investment company here - Fidelity.

We do have other accounts - bank checking, high yield FDIC savings, iBonds directly with treasury.gov.

The one brokerage sure does simplify tax reported.
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Old 11-20-2013, 08:28 AM   #11
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The problem with the brokerage accounts holding Vanguard funds is that you can't hold Admiral shares which have a significantly lower management fee. The Admiral Fees are typically the same as their equivalent ETF.
I guess I don't see the problem if you use ETFs (which I would rather own anyway).
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Old 11-20-2013, 09:40 AM   #12
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I thought about consolidating my accounts for at least a couple of years and even posted a similar question here a while back, I think. I finally decided that it just was not that much extra trouble to have multiple accounts; and, it does make me feel a bit more comfortable. While I am not really concerned about actually losing my assets due to brokerage failure, I do not consider the risk of losing access to those assets for a period of time or loss due to security breach (hacked account) completely non-trivial. I have also retained multiple bank accounts for similar reasons.
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Old 11-20-2013, 12:18 PM   #13
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I have simplified my accounts within the past few years and really enjoy the benefits of interacting with less places. I cherry picked where I thought I recieved the best service (TDameritrade for me). I really like their commission free ETF program, and have had almost exclusively good customer service interactions with them via email and phone.

Also - they pay a bonus for moving assets over. Other places might as well and I don't want to sell AMTD, I just found the simplicity of fewer accounts added a lot of value for me.

you can find AMTD bonus program here and I believe it applies to account transfers as well. (It did for me a couple years ago...)

https://www.tdameritrade.com/client/getcash/index.html
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Old 11-20-2013, 01:10 PM   #14
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Get out of Merrill Lynch ASAP....
Simplify.
And why Merrill Lynch, in particular? I was "moved" to ML when Bank of America (my bank) acquired it a few years back. BOA uses my total asset worth with BOA/ML to determine my overall $ with them to get me above the $50K level for their enhanced Platinum Privileges.
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Old 11-20-2013, 06:00 PM   #15
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I have several brokerage accounts because each of them offers something unique. None of them charge commissions or fees for the things I want to purchase. Tax-time is simple because all the 1099s download into TurboTax and I rarely make a trade in a taxable account.
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Old 11-21-2013, 10:06 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Birdie Num Nums View Post
And why Merrill Lynch, in particular? I was "moved" to ML when Bank of America (my bank) acquired it a few years back. BOA uses my total asset worth with BOA/ML to determine my overall $ with them to get me above the $50K level for their enhanced Platinum Privileges.
Think most folks here associate ML with advisors fees. Hence the recommendation. If your not paying fees at ML it might be OK. My only dealings with them were to cash out Megacorp stock options.

Probably consolidation is good as long as you benefit in some way. I have zero fears that Vanguard or Fidelity is going away and keeping my money. If that scenario were to play out, there's so much more to worry about. Edit to add the op was asking about stock holdings, no problem pick a broker that has good costs, features you want and do a 'transfer in kind'.

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