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Investing strategies

The role of your settlement fund

Your settlement fund paves the way for buying and selling brokerage products.
4 minute read

Points to know

  • You should consider keeping some money in your settlement fund so you're ready to trade.
  • You can use your settlement fund to buy mutual funds and ETFs (exchange-traded funds) from Vanguard and other companies, as well as stocks, CDs (certificates of deposit), and bonds.

How to use your settlement fund

When you buy or sell stocks, and other securities, your transactions go through a broker, like Vanguard Brokerage. Money to pay for your purchases is taken from your settlement fund and proceeds from your sales are received in your settlement fund.

When you buy

Plan ahead. While you're not required to have a balance in your settlement fund at all times, keeping some money in the settlement fund has these advantages:

  • You're more likely to have money to pay for purchases on the settlement date, when your account will be debited for the amount you owe.
  • You'll reduce the risk of your trades being rejected, because you'll have money available when you're interested in placing a trade.
  • You'll likely avoid restrictions being placed on your account as a result of committing a trading violation.

See how you can avoid trading violations & penalties

When you sell

Proceeds from the sale of securities transfer to your settlement fund.

How your settlement fund works

Now that you understand how to use your settlement fund, let's break it down a little further:

  • When you buy securities, you're paying for them with money in your settlement fund.
  • When you sell securities, the proceeds from the sale go directly into your settlement fund on the settlement date.

But what if you recently added money to your settlement fund by bank transfer or check?

In this case, the money may not be immediately available to pay for brokerage transactions. That's because funds received by electronic bank transfer or check are subject to a 7-calendar-day hold.

So it's wise to check your funds available to trade before you transact.

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For more information about Vanguard mutual funds and ETFs, visit Vanguard mutual fund prospectuses or Vanguard ETF prospectuses to obtain a prospectus or, if available, a summary prospectus. Investment objectives, risks, charges, expenses, and other important information are contained in the prospectus; read and consider it carefully before investing.

All investing is subject to risk, including the possible loss of the money you invest.

Vanguard ETF Shares are not redeemable with the issuing Fund other than in very large aggregations worth millions of dollars. Instead, investors must buy and sell Vanguard ETF Shares in the secondary market and hold those shares in a brokerage account. In doing so, the investor may incur brokerage commissions and may pay more than net asset value when buying and receive less than net asset value when selling. 

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