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Answers to common account transfer questions


How long will it take to transfer my account to Vanguard?

Completion times vary depending on the type of transfer, your account details, and the company holding your account. Some transfers can take 4 to 6 weeks, but your wait could be shorter. You'll get a more accurate estimate when you start your transfer online.

How much will it cost to transfer my account?

Vanguard doesn't charge fees for incoming or outgoing transfers, but other companies might. Check with the company currently holding your account to find out if it has any transfer fees or requirements.

What types of accounts can I transfer online?

You can transfer the following types of accounts to Vanguard online:

  • Most IRAs, including Roth, traditional, and SEP-IRAs.
  • Individual and joint accounts.
  • Uniform Gifts/Transfers to Minors Act (UGMA/UTMA) accounts.

What's an "in kind" transfer?

When you transfer "in kind," you simply move your investments to us "as is." There's no selling or buying involved and no tax consequences either. Vanguard receives your investments at the market value on the date of the transfer. An in-kind transfer is one of the quickest and easiest ways to move an account.

What types of investments can and can't be transferred to Vanguard in kind?

Investments you can transfer in kind include:

  • Stocks.
  • Bonds.
  • Most options.
  • Exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
  • Unit investment trusts.
  • Certificates of deposit (CDs) held in a brokerage account.
  • Most mutual funds (although money market funds will be sold and transferred as cash).*

Investments you can't transfer in kind include:

  • CDs held directly with a bank.
  • Certain options.
  • Limited partnerships and private placements.
  • Certain mutual funds and other investment products offered exclusively by your current firm.
  • Certain low-priced securities traded over the counter (OTC) or on the pink sheets market.
  • Commodities.
  • Annuities.
  • Life insurance policies.
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What are certificates of deposit?

Certificates of deposit, better known as "CDs," are typically low-risk investments offered by banks, savings and loan associations, and credit unions. CDs may offer higher yields than bank accounts and money market funds. They're often used for cash you won't need for months or even years. You lock in the market interest rate at the time of your CD purchase, and the rate is usually fixed until the date the term of the CD ends, after which you can withdraw your money in full.

What's a settlement fund?

At Vanguard, a settlement fund is a money market fund that's used to pay for and receive proceeds from trades.

If your settlement fund is in a mutual fund account linked to your brokerage account, the accounts work together to complete transactions. Money moves or "sweeps" between the two accounts.

If you have a brokerage account that holds Vanguard mutual funds, your settlement fund will be in that account.

Other companies may use different types of accounts for this purpose.

How can I endorse and deposit security certificates?

If you hold your own security certificates, you can register them in street name with Vanguard by endorsing the certificates.

Be sure to write your Vanguard Brokerage Account number on the front of the certificates in the upper-right corner.

Send your endorsed certificates by registered or certified mail to:

Vanguard Brokerage Services
5951 Luckett Court, Suite A1
El Paso, TX 79932-1882

If we receive security certificates (from you or a third party) that haven't been endorsed, you can register them in street name by completing an Irrevocable Stock or Bond Power Form PDF for each security issuer. You can also call us at 800-992-8327 to request this form.

Important: If the registration on your security certificates doesn't match the registration on your brokerage account, you'll need to provide additional documentation.

What's a Medallion signature guarantee, and when is it required?

A Medallion signature guarantee is a type of legally binding endorsement that ensures that your signature is genuine, and that the financial company issuing the guarantee accepts liability for any forgery.

You may need a Medallion signature guarantee when:

  • You're transferring or selling securities.
  • You're transferring a joint account to an individual account.
  • Your name on your Vanguard Brokerage Account is not exactly the same as the name that's registered with the company currently holding your accounts.

A signature guarantee can usually be obtained free of charge from an officer of a bank, a trust company, or a member firm of the U.S. stock exchange.

Note: A notary public can't provide a Medallion signature guarantee.

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Call 800-416-5827

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Street name

A brokerage term for securities held in the name of the broker, rather than in the name of the person who purchased them. This is a routine practice that allows trading to take place in a matter of minutes. Traditionally when you hold securities in your name, you have to keep them in a safe place and mail or hand deliver them to your broker whenever you want to sell them. But if you register them in street name, even though the name on the certificate is not yours, you're still the real owner and have all the rights associated with that ownership.