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Vanguard - Brokerage FAQs - Getting started

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Brokerage FAQs—Getting started

How do I open a Vanguard Brokerage Services® account?

What are the benefits of registering online?

How can I endorse and deposit security certificates?

How do I open a margin or options account?

How do I transfer my IRA and/or taxable account into my Vanguard Brokerage account?

How do I transfer my old employer-sponsored plan (e.g., 401(k), 403(b), SEP-IRA)?

Are there any securities that I cannot transfer into my brokerage account?

What are your transfer fees?

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

How long will it take to complete my transfer?

How do I open a Vanguard Brokerage Services account?

To open a brokerage nonretirement account, traditional IRA, Roth IRA, SEP-IRA, or education savings account, you can:

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What are the benefits of registering online?

  • Convenient online trading.
  • Ability to track cost basis.
  • Ability to get real-time quotes.
  • Access to the Fixed Income Trade Desk.
  • 24-hour access to your account information.
  • Instant access to statements and confirmations.
  • Ability to create a "watch list" for stocks and bonds.

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How do I endorse and deposit security certificates?

If you hold your own securities, you can register them in street name with Vanguard Brokerage by endorsing the certificates as shown below:

endorse certificate

Be sure to write your Vanguard Brokerage account number on the front of the certificate in the upper right corner.

Send your endorsed certificates to:

Vanguard Brokerage Services
455 Devon Park Drive
Wayne, PA 19087-1815

If security certificates are received (from you or a third party) that have not been endorsed, you can register them in street name by completing an Irrevocable Stock or Bond Power Form for each security issuer. You can also call us at 800-992-8327 to request this form. Be precise: If the registration on your security certificates does not correspond to the registration on your brokerage account, additional documentation will be required.

Note: Send security certificates only by registered or certified mail.

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How do I open a margin or options account?

To obtain margin approval, fill out a Margin Account Application. To invest in options, fill out the Brokerage Option Application. You can request these applications by calling 800-992-8327 or by selecting the Forms link at the top of this page. Go to Manage my Vanguard accounts and then click on Brokerage accounts, located on the left side of the page. Search for the appropriate form alphabetically.

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How do I transfer my IRA and/or taxable account into my Vanguard Brokerage account?

To access the Brokerage In-Kind Account Transfer Form online:

  1. Click Forms at the top of this page.
  2. Select Manage my Vanguard accounts.
  3. Go to Brokerage accounts, located on the left side of the page.
  4. Search for the form alphabetically.

Upon completion of the form, you will need to mail us a statement from the current firm dated within the last 90 days. Sometimes a Medallion signature guarantee, which ensures your signature is real, will be required.

You can obtain a signature guarantee (usually a complimentary service) from an officer of a bank, a trust company, or a member firm of the U.S. stock exchange. Please note that a notary public cannot provide a signature guarantee. To be valid, a Medallion signature guarantee must include the words "signature guaranteed," be signed by the guarantor, and indicate his or her title and position. It must also show the name of the institution issuing the guarantee.

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How do I transfer my old employer-sponsored plan (e.g., 401(k), 403(b), SEP-IRA)?

Please contact your employer for instructions. Many times your former employer will have specific procedures in place to affect a transfer. Some employer plans simply need these rollover instructions:

  • Name of member broker/dealer: Vanguard Brokerage Services
  • Member DTC participation number: 0062
  • For further credit to account number: Your Vanguard Brokerage Services account number

If your employer requires paperwork, please call us at 800-992-8327, and an associate will be happy to help you.

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Are there any securities that I cannot transfer into my brokerage account?

Vanguard Brokerage Services can hold and trade most publicly traded U.S. stock. For foreign stock inquiries, please contact us at 800-992-8327.

You can verify if we can hold a fund from another company by following these steps:

  1. Go to the Funds, Stocks & ETFs tab.
  2. Select Other Fund Families.
  3. Type the fund symbol into the "Search other funds" box.
  4. If you see a message stating that "Non-Vanguard funds are offered through FundAccess®," then the fund can be purchased through FundAccess and existing shares can be transferred to Vanguard Brokerage Services from another financial institution. However, if you see a message stating that "This fund can be transferred to Vanguard Brokerage Services but is not available through FundAccess," the fund can be transferred from another financial institution but cannot be purchased through FundAccess.

Before initiating a transfer, verify with your current firm if your securities are invested on margin. Some firms hold securities on margin without the client being aware. If your assets are invested on margin, you'll need to either: 

  • Move the securities back into a cash position at the current firm and then initiate the transfer, or
  • Obtain margin approval from Vanguard Brokerage Services by filling out our Margin Account Application. Request this application by calling 800-992-8327, or access it through Forms at the top of this page. Once you click the link, select Manage my Vanguard accounts and then click on Brokerage accounts, located on the left side of the page. Search for the form alphabetically.

If you are investing in options and do not currently have options approval on your brokerage account, fill out the Brokerage Option Application. Request this application by calling 800-992-8327, or access it through the Forms link at the top of this page. Once you click the link, select Manage my Vanguard accounts and then click on Brokerage accounts, located on the left side of the page. Search for the form alphabetically.

Please note that commodities and futures cannot be transferred into Vanguard Brokerage accounts.

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What are your transfer fees?

Vanguard Brokerage Services does not charge fees for incoming or outgoing transfers.

Please check with the current recordkeeper about outgoing transfer fees. Vanguard Brokerage Services will cover transfer fees up to $150, which you will then have to pay back at a later date.

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

A Medallion signature guarantee ensures that your signature is genuine. It is a legally binding endorsement. A Medallion signature guarantee is required when your account registration at the transferring firm differs from your Vanguard Brokerage account registration.

You will need a signature guarantee if you are transferring an individual account into a trust, if you are transferring a joint account into an individual account, or if your name is registered differently. 

For example, if you are registered as John Doe at your current firm and your Vanguard Brokerage Services account is registered as John A. Doe, you will need a Medallion signature guarantee to document your middle initial. 

Please note that a notary public cannot provide a Medallion signature guarantee. You can obtain a signature guarantee (usually a complimentary service) from an officer of a bank, a trust company, or a member firm of the U.S. stock exchange. To be valid, a Medallion signature guarantee must include the words "signature guaranteed," be signed by the guarantor, and indicate his or her title and position. It must also show the name of the institution issuing the guarantee.

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How long will it take to complete my transfer?

Transfers take approximately 2–6 weeks. Full transfers generally take 2–4 weeks, and partial transfers usually take 4–6 weeks.

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Notes

All investments are subject to risk. Investments in bonds are subject to interest rate, credit, and inflation risk.

Options are a leveraged investment and aren't suitable for every investor. Options involve risk, including the possibility that you could lose more money than you invest. Before buying or selling options, you must receive a copy of Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options issued by OCC. A copy of this booklet is available at theocc.com. It may also be obtained from your broker, any exchange on which options are traded, or by contacting OCC at One North Wacker Drive, Suite 500, Chicago, IL 60606 (888-678-4667 or 888-OPTIONS). The booklet contains information on options issued by OCC. It's intended for educational purposes. No statement in the booklet should be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell a security or to provide investment advice. Call The Options Industry Council (OIC) helpline at 888-OPTIONS or visit optionseducation.org for more information. The OIC can provide you with balanced options education and tools to assist you with your options questions and trading.

Vanguard Brokerage Services is a division of Vanguard Marketing Corporation, member FINRA.

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