Broker and Brokerage Information Exchange

We have lots (a really lot) of messaging that deals with various brokers and what is allowed/not allowed by them in terms of buying/selling new issues on the Over The Counter (OTC) markets and many other issues.

For instance some brokers allow pretty much any transaction. I personally like eTrade as I have never had a trade rejected by them–while I have an account with Fidelity it restricts my ability to buy Fixed-to-Floating rate issues.

This area is for an exchange of information on all the various brokers–good, bad and otherwise.

Like all the various discussion pages if folks could ‘stay to topic’ the page will be more valuable to all, but staying to point.

If you want to start a new thread go to the bottom of the page and do a comment–instead of a reply.

542 thoughts on “Broker and Brokerage Information Exchange”

  1. Noticed that GTC orders in Schwab now expire in six months rather than two months.

  2. I am looking for a brokerage account for my health savings account. Does anyone have any comments or suggestions?

    1. Fidelity HSA is decent. No annual charges to maintain it and they issue debit cards for easier paying (also at no charge). Can invest in whatever Fidelity offers – say some nice preferred shares for part of the portfolio not needed for near term spend, while the money market currently has 7-day yield of 3.96%

  3. Wonder if others had the same experience I had with Schwab this morning? I awoke to find three emails each demanding an over $50K immediate deposit to cover a maintenance call. My first though was that they were from a scammer but upon close look at the raw email I decided they were legit from schwab. If that doesn’t fill your pants I don’t know what will. Then immediately went to my account and find I made a $300K purchase yesterday. I did buy $3K worth of FFCB bonds yesterday. At this point I’m about having a heart attack thinking I must have entered the wrong amounts but didn’t think you could enter an order for more than the tradable funds in the account which was much much less than $300K and I don’t have a margin account. Then called schwab and got cut off after the rep answered the call which further increased the anxiety. Made a second call and got another rep who said there was a problem in accounts of those who purchased several types of fixed income bonds yesterday. He also said the maintenance call emails were auto generated and could be ignored but I was still worried that wonderful automatic system might start liquidating my holdings to cover the call which as threatened in the email. You would also think that the automatic system could generate an error email letting people know there was a problem. My stomach was still up to throat until about 1PM when it finally appeared the account records were back to normal

    I have been a Schwab customer since the 1980s and never had anything like this happen before. Frankly, I’m still upset and had a overall bad day from 4+ hours of worry and plan to write them a major letter of complaint.

  4. Re: Fidelity – I see two new developments on my Fidelity account…. If you’re a TURBOTAX kind of person, “OFFER DETAILS FOR FIDELITY CLIENTS
    As a valued client of Fidelity, you are eligible to file your federal and state taxes at no cost using TurboTax Premier Online, or for $5 using TurboTax Premier desktop download. Get started by selecting a product below.” Sorry, I can’t a link but if you don’t find it, ask a rep… It may be an offer not being made to all clients, I’m not sure…

    Also I happened to notice a notification saying “now research all fixed to floating rate issues in one place.” I played around with it a little bit and it seemed pretty up to date on rates, HOWEVER, I am not finding my way back to that resource…. Anyone else see this too? Do you know how to get to that area?

    1. What it says about preferreds = “Research and trade preferred stocks online
      Now you can research preferred stocks with adjustable rates in detail and place trades for preferred stocks all in one place. Start researching to get quotes, key characteristics, and more.” The link seems to lead to which doesn’t seem to be strictly dedicated to F/F though… One way or another, this is a long way to come for a broker who not so long ago denied you the ability to buy ANY F/F security without calling in…

      1. 2WR reflection on the times. Investors are back to yield chasing. Think Fidelity is just offering a service to meet that need. Buyers are buying anything that offers a good return thinking they are missing the train on share prices rising and dividend yield.

  5. Subject: New Schwab Trading Ticket

    Anyone else noticing bugs in Schwab’s new trading ticket? Biggest one I noticed was if I took an expired credit order and re-submitted it, the new ticket made it into a debit order. (But if I switched back to the Classic trading ticket, it switched back to a credit order.) Some preferred stocks also don’t seem to want to trade on the new trading ticket – Schwab uses a + sign rather than the – sign some others use in these, and the new trading ticket changes the + to something that looks like a control sequence that it then can’t figure out how to trade.

    (I still can’t believe Schwab launched the new ticket with so many bugs … at least one of them I think I first noticed 6 weeks ago … and I believe was still there four weeks later … might still be there, for all I know.)

    Very frustrating and these have the potential for one of my trades to turn into an execution for something I didn’t intend … so I’m thinking to move to a platform that’s more reliable as old friend Schwab seems to me to have lost their way … suggestions? Anyone else notice any of these and looking to switch?

    1. SNewman…Suggest using the schwab server based platform “streetsmart edge”. Better in every way

  6. Just completed a partial Classic IRA to Roth conversion at Fidelity and was pleasantly surprised at how straight forward and easy it was. The entire transaction was accomplished online in just a few minutes with the new balances appearing immediately in both accounts. I chose to convert some lagging baby bonds with the expectation that they’ll recover closer to maturity, so it felt like I was getting a discount by converting them at their current value rather than original cost basis…something to consider going into year end.

    1. CW, glad to hear that the conversion process went smoothly at Fidelity. Improved automation and systems at brokerages seems to have worked, making life easier for investors. I am not sure the brokerages had much choice after the flood of new customers during the Covid shutdown. Customer service and response times to talk to a human got a lot worse though.

      What I have seen recently is when their automation does not work properly, the human responses are from inexperienced people. The assumption is that these folks are recent hires and need a lot of additional seasoning. And it is not just one brokerage that stands out as worse than the others. Pretty much across the board. I have been trying to get a large, well known brokerage that is often mentioned on III to fix a SIMPLE problem in their system. It took four rounds of “tickets” to finally get somebody to agree they had a problem. The first three responders were very nice and polite but basically never understood the problem I had described.

      With at least two brokerages, the first response you often get is not a US based rep. I don’t know if they are using contract call centers or if they have dedicated employees, but YOUR financial data is traveling around the world whether you want it to or not.

      And as I have written before, all brokerages have quirks. There is NO perfect one, but probably all of the ones we talk about around here will be reasonable choices for “normal” investors.

  7. That dreaded day is getting closer where TD Ameritrade becomes Schwab… Did other TDA clients receive the email today? It starts out:
    “Your move from TD Ameritrade to Schwab.

    “Dear TD Ameritrade clients,

    “When Charles Schwab acquired TD Ameritrade in 2019, our aim was to create something special for clients of both firms—best-in-class strength and stability, a wider array of products and services available, industry-leading low costs, and a larger team of professionals with a shared passion for helping clients achieve their goals.

    “We’re nearing the point where two great firms become one and TD Ameritrade clients become Schwab clients. We are honored to have the privilege to serve you, and we want to make sure you know what to expect with the transition and the benefits you’ll receive as a Schwab client.

    “What to know about your move.

    “Please know that in most cases there will be very little for you to do, other than to set up new login credentials. We’ll take care of the rest.

    :We plan to move your account in one of several groups beginning in 2023. To help avoid investing or trading disruptions, your transition will happen over a weekend. We’ll let you know your transition date about three months before your move.”

    From III’ers I seem to hear more back office type complaints about how Schwab operates vs TD Ameritrade, so I’m not looking forward to the melding of the two…. They go on to say ThinkOrSwim will live on so that’s a good thing, but still, I like how TDA’s has essentially remained unSchwabbed up until this upcoming day.

    1. TD is where I spend most time because I like their watch list. If they do away with it I don’t like schwab’s screen as much. Fidelity has the advantage of high sweeps rate so they may have moved up to number 1, but can’t see as much in one screen.

  8. FYI: Re; Order fulfillment:
    I have seen comments regarding order disparity pricing particularly on Bonds.
    1) Recently, I had to move my HSA because of Schwab merger with TD and did that over to Fido since it has the best and logical rules behind managing the relationship with the govt reporting, debit card and my record keeping. (A completely different topic). So I ended up with a Fido account.
    2) I have had many accounts over at TD, still do, and used just about every aspect of their processes for a long time.
    3) I moved a large chunk of Taxable over to IBKR about two years ago and have gotten to know and appreciate their systems as well. I use Trader Workstation which is actually easier than the Windows site which you MUST use to administrate your account anyway.
    CONCLUSIONS?: Of the three, I prefer IBKR and now, since accounts are active at all three brokerages I can compare!
    – We have all heard about the Pink/Grey/new SEC rules, etc.
    – Today, I PRICED a potential bond order on all three. I ended up placing and fulfilling the order at IBKR at $0.87 LOWER than the best price I could enter on the other two ( electronic/non-broker). On the price of the bond, it was 1.11% (0.87/78.25 price) lower PRICE .
    Over time, or for potential trading that makes a difference to me.
    The last thing I’ll add is that:
    – the pre-market (from 4 to 8 AM!! ) is available at IBKR (a big deal for me)
    – a significantly better indicator tool showing action and bid tranches.
    – I have yet to have any orders “Cancelled because of Repricing” like I have had continually at the other two brokerages; the orders seem to just carry through to the day’s end trading hours.
    I like all these features.

  9. Was finally able to open a Fidelity account a couple days ago. Found out the reason I wasn’t able to open an account on line was I kept saying that I never had a prior account with them.
    Didn’t have a clue when they said I had an inactive 401k account opened by LVMH a liquor and wine company.
    Didn’t dawn on me until later who it was. I had worked a temp job as a cellar rat in Napa for Domaine Chandon 10 yrs ago. I quit 1 week before the job was up as I was offered a job closer to home. The supervisor said he was sorry I was going as they had an opening in the cellar. No idea that they were going to offer me a full time job

  10. Thank you Charles M, Rob in Vegas, Maverick61, RetiredBroker, Green-n-Gold for your brokerage comments. Much appreciated!

  11. Switching jobs and I am required to move all my portfolios to either TD Ameritrade, Charles Schwab or Fidelity. Any thoughts on which would be best?

    1. EB,
      Everyone will give different answers to your question, I have used TDA for 10yrs now and like the layout and ease of use. I am working ( struggling ) with my wife’s account at T. Rowe Price and I have my TDA account open at the same time

    2. EB:

      Schwab. Their StreetSmart Edge trading platform is fantastic. It is like a poor-man’s Bloomberg Terminal.

      Although if you are a big options trader, Schwab’s commissions are a little high in that area.

    3. They all have their pro’s and con’s. So if you have some special trading requirements, you should look more closely at the details. For the vast majority of people they will all accomplish the same goal.

      That said, I am a big fan of Fidelity. Both their website and their Active Trader Pro product is very good. Their customer service, when needed has always been good and responsive. I often get price improvement on my trades. And there are no bullshit fees that I have encountered for some quirky stuff.

      The one potential con is on “some” new issues they may not be as fast as having it available for trading OTC – some they are, some may take a day to get in their system. I have found that really hasn’t impacted me significantly and the price I can get new issues at but something to be aware of

      I also use their workplace portal for my daughter’s 401k at her current employer and a few past employers and it works well

    4. First EB… I would like to thank you for your posts.

      I have accounts at Schwab and Fidelity. I prefer Fidelity, especially now that they have solved trading on F to F issues. The Active trader pro platform is quite useful.

      1. RB, glad I went back into broker dealer forum and glad Tim keeps this up. After seeing Tim’s remarks in the header I just tried 3 FF stocks on a guest log in at Fidelity.
        Fidelity allowed me to see everything on these floaters just the same as regular. So I assume no restrictions.
        One other comment on TDA, not all stocks have the option on their platform to choose pre and after market trading I have noticed.
        In the past I was pleasantly surprised when TDA filled some of my orders below asking price. BUT its been a long time since this has happened so I wouldn’t count on that gift.

    5. EB, thanks for all your posts here. I will try to share some experiences. Each has their respective pluses and minuses.
      TDAm’s Thinkorswim is claimed to be the better real-time trading platform but Schwab and Fidelity have similar ones. Schwab’s StreetSmart Edge has some limit on the number of Watchlists (20 if my memory serves me).

      To get highest MM (SWVXX) rate for your cash in Schwab, one has to do in/out transfers (i.e., manual sweeps). Transfers into SWVXX are limited to amount over open limit orders. But one can cancel the open orders, transfer into SWVXX and re-enter the limit purchase orders. SWVXX today pays 2.92%.
      TDAm now has SWVXX but limited to amount over open limit orders unless authorized for Margin trading. Margin interest can be avoided by transferring out of MM by 4 PM ET prior to or on settlement day. Without Margin trading authorization, one must transfer out of the MM to place a buy. SWVXX does not require an initial minimum amount.
      Fidelity’s FZDXX requires a minimum of $100K in taxable accounts and $10K in IRAs. Fidelity will withdraw money from FZDXX but not deposit into it. FZDXX today pays 3.01%

      TDAm allows to enter limit orders up to six months out and one can specify regular market hours and/or non-regular market hours on any order whereas the others only allow pre- and after-market trading during the particular or next such session.
      TDAm has nice sorting features on open orders but no expiration reminders (which Fido and Schwab have). Expiration date on GTC orders can be explicitly specified in TDAm and Fidelity but not in Schwab. Schwab is either a day order or GTC order for 60 days.
      Transaction strike price: if bid or ask is better than your limit order (i.e., at opening) my experience is that Fidelity and Merrill tend to provide the better share price, whereas TDAm and Schwab “tend” not to.

      Fidelity purchases shares between ex-date and pay date and drips at a weighted share price average. The typical Fidelity rep is not informed on this. I found the explanation buried in a Morningstar forum several years back.
      TDAm purchases DRIP shares circa 1 PM on pay date AFAIK.

      Merrill tends to have generous promotions for new investors (as well as for adding funds). ME offers multiple tiers with respective perks: free banking at BoA, free safe deposit box, etc. Merrill also offers a relatively high interest FDIC MM (aka Preferred Deposit) but one has to do manual sweeps. Preferred Deposit required $100K initial minimum; it is paying today 2.69%

      Merrill allows selecting lots ahead of the transaction but not after (unless one calls). Merrill has a comparable trading platform.

      Many prefer Fidelity for bond trading. 2WR is likely the best III source for Fidelity bond trading; he posted on it not long ago.
      Fidelity features HAS and a 2% cash back credit card without any restrictions or minimum.
      Schwab typically does not show dividends (or interest credits) until one day after. Fidelity and TDAm will show them even prior to the actual date. For instance, they show dividends paid on a Monday as early as Saturday. Schwab will show them on Tuesday. Merrill will show them on Monday morning.
      Choosing lots (shares) for cost: both Schwab and Fidelity lets you choose a priori or change the lots after transaction until the end of settlement date. Fidelity’s mechanism to assign lots/shares after the sale transaction requires going to “Closed Positions,” clicking on “Select Action” and then on Reassign Lots.”
      Please do your own due diligence. Some of the above information may have changed and others can comment.

      1. Reading BearNJ’s post reminds to add:
        TDAm provides Tipranks info for each stock (FWIW) but not the reports. Clicking on “View more details” under Smartscore opens a window with additional info. “Analyst Ratings” expands to the list of analysts rating that stock along with recommendation and target price. Clicking on the name of an Analyst pops a second window with the analyst’s rank out of about 8000 analysts in database (i.e, a number from 1 to 8000). It also includes that particular analyst’s Success Rate and Average Return; rating distribution, and the last five ratings made by that analyst.

        1. Thank You GnG ! I never knew that was available. I Always used Tip Ranks if I wanted to know.

  12. Regarding safe harbors for cash at reasonable rates between trades:

    Fidelity offers an option of “FDRXX”, which is a 7-day treasury currently yielding 2.56%. A perk is that it is an automatic sweep, meaning no manual entries are required.

    1. FDRXX has been my default option but because I have more cash on the sidelines than usual I have been taking advantage of FZDXX at Fidelity with my parked cash I am saving for trades. $100K minimum to open (but once open can fall below) and auto sweep out but not in. However yielding 2.94% right now

  13. Fidelity , anyone else having a problem putting in a buy order? message below.

    Container failed to load content.

    1. I get that error message sometimes. So I try submitting the trade a different way. Instead of click on the link I might manually type the symbol on the trade screen or something. Often works, if not I’ll come back in a few minutes. Flakey and annoying but seems temporary. if it doesn’t get fixed I’ll have to do more trading elsewhere, some trades are time critical.
      Another quirk is a message telling me I have a margin call on my IRA when I don’t. I called once, the rep said ignore it. So that’s what I’ve been doing.

  14. If you accounts at Schwab, you should check your accounts. They have had a warning on their home page (after login) saying ‘Due to a technical issue, trades placed on Thursday and Friday Sep 30th may show duplicated or show incorrectly …Impacted trades may not show up accurately on order status, postions and transactions pages’ .

    This is gross oversimplification of the problem I experienced and is still not corrected in spite of multiple calls Friday, Saturday and yesterday.

    In my case, a broker assisted trade (not by me) was placed Friday 4:35pm for $123k of DIA taking my non-marginable IRA account -ve! Another bad trade was to double down on my short PUTs on a large value stock instead of covering and closing it that I actually did. After that they even assigned the stock to my account on the weekend! After havin read their warning, I did check my positions at 4pm market close on Friday and everything seemed ok as I expected – all the problems were after Friday 4:30 exposing me to market risk of positions that I should have never had!

    I am surprised find that a big broker like Schwab can even have such problems and slow and poor customer service when trying to get it fixed.

  15. Re TDAM new OTC foreign fees. Copy and paste from TD email back to me:
    I will transfer a couple securities directly to IBKR and avoid this nonsense.

    “The Foreign Security/Settlement fee of $44 (plus commission and all applicable local market charges), are for non-Canadian Foreign over the counter (OTC) securities (foreign securities traded on the U.S. OTC markets) for trades settled on or after November 3, 2022.
    You can see the country for a stock by typing the symbol or company name in the Search box or click on the symbol from the Positions page(my account > positions) if you own the security. The country will show under the symbol when not a company based in the U.S. If it is non-US or Canadian OTC security, then the fee will apply.”

  16. In the Sandbox and Bond Discussion fora, there recently have been discussions comparing brokers’ handling of bond trades. Apropos of that, I ran across (WSJ claims this is a free link; your mileage may vary).

    The article cites a study run by Christopher Schwartz et al.,, “The ‘Actual Retail Price’ of Equity Trades”, measuring price improvement among various brokers. TDA measured highest, IBKR lowest, Fido, E*, and R’hood in between.

    The study was run over six months, making ca. $100 trades, using the authors’ own money. They’d try to place the same trade at various brokers and measure the results. My first reaction to this article was to dismiss the results: too much uncertainty (I’m reminded of Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle).

    But I’d be interested to hear any comments.

    1. Trading 5 shares at a time will not produce the same results as trading 100 share lots. I don’t know the technical reasons that’s just my observation. Does it say if they use only market orders? That’s a different concern for us trading low volume stocks with limit orders.

    2. Bur, thank you for your post, but these are for stock/equity trades not bond trades 🍸 That is not insignificant, but I believe you have referenced bond trades; further, the stock trades in this small study found the difference was about 5 cents from the best to the worst, there would need to be a much larger study to determine if order flow payments have a deleterious or positive affect over longer periods of time and what size orders worked out best/worst.
      The person who doesn’t know where his next dollar is coming from usually doesn’t know where his last dollar went. I am Azure

      1. Thanks for your response. I realize the study was about stock trades, not bond trades. I needn’t have referenced the discussion elsewhere about the pros and cons of various bond trading at various brokers; that was my lame attempt at a segue to a comparison of brokers on another criterion.

  17. A common topic here on III is “I have not received the dividend/interest for XYZ yet at Brokerage ABC, how about you?” I decided to join the party in an unusual way. We have had TWO different CD payouts that got lost. Lost as in something broke from the paying bank to DTC to the brokerage. It was two different banks and two different brokerages.

    Case 1 was for a top 5 sized US bank at brokerage 1. We waited a week and the funds did not show up, before contacting the brokerage. It got fixed within 24 hours.

    Case 2 was for a smaller, yet clearly solvent bank at brokerage 2 which is frequently mentioned here on III. This brokerage “shadow posts” most payments they expect to receive like dividends, interest, and principal to the account before the market opens. The principal and interest were showing being paid. We made a trade on that basis. Sometime way after the close, like ~10pm Eastern Time, they REMOVED the principal payment but left the interest. Clearly the bank-DTC-brokerage chain had to work, otherwise the interest payment would have been backed out also. When they removed the principal, it created a negative cash balance due to the trade we made and this is NOT a margin account. Not good. It got fixed in 4 days.

    We will never know what went wrong in either case, but it is unusual for this to happen to CD’s. Happens to corporate bonds every once in a while. Happens to muni bonds like a dime a dozen, relatively speaking. We usually wait at least one week before contacting the brokerage and most of the time, the money comes in. Only reason we spoke up sooner in case 2 was the negative cash balance it caused. We do not know in either of these cases if/when the funds would have come in WITHOUT us speaking up. Stated differently, apparently these brokerages do not have an automated way of realizing when payments are MIA and taking action. Which means YOU have to keep track of all of these payments and make sure you receive them. You might understand it if the payer is a Bermuda based, smallish outfit, but a top 5 US bank on a stinkin, blood simple FDIC insured CD?

  18. We’re into our second year trying to get E-Trade to shift my son’s 50% of his ex-spouse’s IRA into his own, per court orders. Multiple submissions of the transfer forms signed by both parties, court orders, attorney letters, drivers licenses, stipulations as to amount, etc., etc. and nothing. Never a single written or e-mailed response to a single submission. When called, a different service person decides the previous 3 copies tendered of the same driver’s license are inadequate, or a previously requested signed letter now needs notarization, etc. It’s the worst thing I’ve ever experiences. Thank goodness my financial advisor is helping the couple, after a year of trying I just couldn’t take it any more. Appalling. I would never work with these people.

  19. Re: HSA Fiduciary > Brokerage
    TD > SCHW Merger:
    This week we had to deal with Schwab eliminating Bill Pay on the taxable account we receive SS monthly credit and can easily transfer funds from whatever accounts necessary to fill in spending patterns. We had been using that as an annual accounting spending account.
    Then, they (Schwab) ejected the relationship with the HSA fiduciary (since TD did not ever provide that service), but did allowed for self-directed in coord with the fiduciary. Gotta go all cash by early Nov. Should have made it by Jan 1, but who thinks of any client doing accounting with a brokerage account?!? Never.
    FYI: Their two way ACH links will remain in place. At least we can redirect that accounting spending account to a local bank and do ACH inbound with a lag.
    Question to the III Brain Trust Syndicate:
    1) Any leads on a self directed HSA (so I can transfer all cash) even if it means a new fiduciary with brokerage access? I know these little guys are fee crazy too.
    2) Is there any good reason to stay with SCWB?
    3) Is there ever REALLY a retirement?

    1. Hey Bur, Looked down this topic to look for SCHW reviews and see you had issues back at year’s beginning with IBKR platform. Hope you figured it all out, you seem pretty adept. I really like the TWS (Trader Work Station, blackscreen) and the link over to the Client Portal (Windows style interface for things like reports ) for other things. It’s a very robust platform and has lived up to everything I have demanded of it as a self-service…once I figured it out OR had a broker show me.

    2. Joel – I transferred my work HSA (in cash) to a new Fidelity self-directed HSA. The account is like any other and I have a debit card to use the funds as needed. Now it is invested in preferreds and BBs.

  20. Hi guys,
    I want to thank all of you for sharing all the issues that everyone has with co ‘s and trade,etc..a lot to learn.
    I am looking for a trading company that let you trade free, reinvest the dividends of all American and foreign co’s, let you buy and sale on NYSE,NASDAQ ,OTC,etc . I am looking to open a ROTH IRA for my kid.
    Thank you !

    1. Every broker has it’s pros and cons and people have their own biases so keep that in mind

      I prefer and only use Fidelity as I feel they are best overall for my needs. They used to have an issue buying Fixed to floating issues online but that is no longer the case. There might be a very small handful of OTC issues which you can’t open a position online but they are extremely rare these days

      Otherwise no fees, price improvements on executions, easy dividend reinvestment, good customer service when I need it

      Good luck

      1. I agree, they were easy to work with and I loved being able to transact Canadian trades directly on the TSX, including foreign exchange. They won’t accept Cd preferreds as QDI, but neither did Schwab. After selling those preferreds I moved the proceeds back to Schwab, but only because I had more accounts there and wanted everything in one place.

  21. I think this must be a relatively new thing, but Fidelity appears to not let you put in a buy order for more than $10,000 on OTC stocks. You get an error that says your share amount is too high, but it seems to go away once you get under $10,000. I ran into this with 2 different stocks today.

    Add this to the list of how Fidelity really sucks if you want to trade anything in the dark corners of the market.

  22. This from E*TRADE: “Please be aware GSK PLC SPONSORED ADR is no longer eligible for Dividend Reinvestment due to late allocation.”

    Nothing to do with pfd’s, but I’m wondering whether any of you knows what this means?

    1. I am pretty sure that means the depository did not convert the funds from pounds to USD within the plan reinvestment window.

      Also, IMO, this should be the section where you put your missing payment complaints, and not under Sandbox or illiquid, since it is broker specific for the most part.

  23. Fidelity now allows allows F-T-F purchases without a phone call. A warning box now appears before the buy is finalized. I may be late on this but it was new to me as of 4/18.

  24. Just a heads up….

    Just found out that Fido’s (1099-Div) & Charles Schwab’s (1099-B) got amended for the THIRD time on 4/13/22 & 4/14/22.

    I checked their database on 4/15/22 to match their source docs to the latest changes which all lined up to late March amended info I had.

    I think they made these changes in the Delorean in their “Back to the Future” trickery because they weren’t in the computer on 4/15.

    I think next year, I’ll just file an extension so I don’t have to do any amending. The changes mean I will actually have less tax, but I don’t think I will change the return. I’ll recalculate the difference and see if it is worth it though.

    1. I’ve received 4 corrected 1099-DIV from Fidelity (so far), the last one was late yesterday 4/18 just a few hours after I sent in an amended return via TurboTax thinking the 3rd was the last change. Latest change showed $120 less capitol gain distributions. I’m not going to do another another amended return.

    2. A 1099B being amended by itself this late is really surprising.
      Are you sure it wasn’t amended because the distributions on the security were not changed as well?
      can you post the tickers or other identifier of the securities that were changed?

      1. Justin, one account just got its 8th 1099-*** so far this season. The same brokerage, which shall remain nameless, issued a revised 1099 in August a few years ago. And they do a HORRIBLE job detailing which exact line item drove the change. They give you a haystack and you are supposed to find the needle. This is a fairly complex account with thousands of transactions each year. Not to mention that what they report on 1099’s does not perfectly match what they export to tax programs like TurboTax, H&R Block etc.

        I have not kept track of exactly which 1099-DIV, INT,B,Misc,OID changes each time. You might be correct that the -B does not change after the initial release.

        You would think that how all of the transactions are reported would be straightforward, but we see plenty of comments on III about how they are NOT 100% accurate.

        1. My favorite 1099-B issue so far this tax season was from a different brokerage than I mentioned in the previous post. One of the large brokerages often discussed around here. One account had a reasonably sized bond that matured in 2021. The brokerage could not determine the basis, so they set it to ZERO. If you blindly imported the brokerage data into a tax program, it also did not flag an error. The program just assumes whatever the brokerage data provides is accurate. The difference in tax between a zero basis and the correct basis was material, so luckily it was caught and corrected. Motto of the story is that you need to check and at least make sure the data imported into your tax program is sane.

          1. That is an import issue. part of the import should be “cost not reported to IRS” and the tax software knows to get a verification.

        2. This year, the two issuers that raised everyone’s ire were Textainer Preferred’s and American software common stock, where they issued corrections of their previous breakdown published in April.

        3. As far as the 8 corrections, chalk that up to 4 interrelated factors.
          1. Huge number of securities in the account
          2. Timing of issuer releases
          3. Luck
          4. The broker’s correction schedule

          Now, generally, #1 is not something you can do anything about, but #2 is fairly predictable for about 90% of securities where they issue the updated information at the same time year over year.
          Cant do much about #3. You can have accounts with only 20 securities get 8 corrections just because of dumb luck that year.
          #4 is where you get the real disparity. I’ll give you an example.
          Two siblings inherit identical portfolios but put them in different brokers, A and B.
          A does “predictive printing” with increasing thresholds on an account level with $0 for February 15, $25 for March 1, $50 for March 15, and $100 for April 1 and later, whereas B does a weekly correction cycle with a threshold of 0.
          With broker A, you will likely get 1 or maybe 2 corrections and small corrections are bypassed.
          With B, you could literally get 9 or 10 corrections (one every week from 2/15 to 4/1), even of tiny amounts. (based on 8 corrections, that sounds like that broker does exactly that)
          And 26 USC 6721 gives brokers the ability to not issue corrections less than $100 unless the investor requests corrections of any amount. >0 (which is why they are allowed to do option A)

          Search for the 2nd instance of the phrase “safe harbor”

          1. Justin, thanks for the education on why/when/where brokerages issue new 1099’s. It likely explains the difference between brokerages. I am guessing that the 8 1099 brokerage puts out a revised version with ANY change, i.e. they are not using the $100 rule.

            The 8 1099 brokerage just put out a new one today. I am not even going to look at them until August, probably not a productive use of time. BTW, the August change from a few years ago was significant. Way more than $100.

            1. My experience with Fidelity over the years has been the initial 1099 in late Feb / early March and then a revised 1099 in late March

              Then a third corrected 1099 in September or October (always in my favor)

              Now that could be totally dependent on my holdings but its been a consistent pattern for me. I file my taxes in early April based on the 2nd 1099 and submit an amended return in October after getting the last corrected 1099 which usually nets me a nice steak dinner for two

              1. the corrections in October and later are usually fiscal year corporations that have return of capital, where the first 3 payments are known in January but the 4th isn’t known until the next year. Qualcomm used to do this, and there are a few others that may still do it, like Vector Group. OPPprA’s breakdown to June tells me that they are on a fiscal year and that the last 2 payments could get corrected sometime in August to October 2022.

      2. Hi Justin,

        The 1099-B that was mentioned is from Schwab. The change looks to be in an OPP/PRA sale. The differences appear to be about $2.73 total.

        The Fido one is more complicated, but it seems like the original Box 1 number was bit too high and has been allocated to a few other boxes.

    3. couldn’t get to bottom of the page so decided to just reply. This a complaint about “Edward Jones” ! have had problems with buy restricted issues for several years but they reached a new low this week I tried to buy Entergy Arkansas EAI, investment grade mortgage Bond, as part of my “self constructed annuity” in my Roth, was buy restricted. I asked my broker? about a prefer I’ve been Watching ALP-Q, DITTO does anyone restrict preffered stock? this Jones crap has become untenable. opinions please Thanks

  25. In the inbox today:

    Dear Vanguard Client,

    Beginning April 28, 2022, Vanguard will no longer accept purchases and transfers in of most over-the-counter (OTC) securities. This change allows us to better support a targeted, enduring suite of products and services rooted in Vanguard’s time-tested investment philosophy and built to help secure the long-term success of investors.

    According to our records, you either currently hold at least one of these restricted securities in your portfolio or have traded them in the past.

    What does this mean for the securities I hold?

    You can continue to hold and sell your positions in these securities. You can also make additional purchases of a small selection of global American Depositary Receipts (ADRs). Here’s how you can determine if you hold an ADR that won’t be restricted.

    All three of the following criteria must apply to the ADR:

    Consists of a five-letter ticker symbol that ends in “Y.” This confirms it’s traded OTC.
    Has a market capitalization of over $300 million (in U.S. dollars). Market capitalization is the total market value of a company’s outstanding shares.
    Belongs to the top three tiers of the OTC markets (Pink Current, OTCQB, and OTCQX). These markets are up to date with disclosures and listing requirements.
    Learn more about the OTC markets and individual securities at

    Thank you for investing with Vanguard.

  26. A little off topic, but important investment lesson(s) from UBS selling Puerto Rico GO muni bonds/funds to PR locals. UBS not only HEAVILY recommended locals buy them, but also pushed some investors to leverage them with borrowed money. Worked until PR went equivalent to bankrupt. About 4,000 arbitration cases have been filed with FINRA. Four takeaways from long read:

    1) Brokers did NOT understand the risks of both the bonds and/or the use of leverage. UBS doc recommended no more than 10% allocation, but local brokers advised higher in some cases.

    2) Customers did not understand the risks, particularly with the uninsured bonds.

    3) UBS management at some point realized PR was in trouble, but local brokers were still pushing bonds to customers.

    4) FINRA is letting some brokers expunge the arbitration claims from their records, so potential new customers will not be able to see them. Individual claims do NOT always aggregate at the top brokerage level.

    Life investing lessons for all of us.

    More details, might require a free registration:

  27. So vanguard’s inability to deal with $1000 issues, that seemed fixed, is in fact not fixed. They sent to Energy Transfer that I had 5000 shares of series H, instead of 5. Luckily ET’s rep saw the problem and had the correct $ amount in their system at least, so they changed the k-1 while I was on the phone, but that is a huge error by vanguard. I spoke to their fixed income specialist and he’s going to look into it and call me tomorrow. 😑

  28. Anyone have experience trading preferreds baby bonds with eTrade? Positive or Negative. MS buying them is a likely positive I guess ? Do they have restrictions against purchase of Fix-to-Floats like Fidelity?

    They have some decent promos going right now and was considering moving an old IRA there.

    1. I have noticed no change to speak of with E* since MS bought them. The only significant issue I’ve had tradings pfds or baby bonds was with issues caught by Rule 15c2-11, but my direct experience and from what I’ve heard, the same was true of other brokers as well. I have experienced no issues trading Fix-Floats at E*.

  29. First 1099 company screw up of 2021…
    Atlantica Yield come on down and you are the first contestant on the “How to piss off your shareholders”…

    They are issuing a 1099 that is non-qualified and return of capital.
    To be a little fair, they have never issued a 1099 before that had dividends on it, all the prior years were 100% ROC.
    So if anyone wants to challenge this characterization, contact them here at and don’t bother calling your broker. Your broker is just reporting what they were told to report.
    Or if the non-qualified is accurate, they must be considered a PFIC.

    “Subject to certain exceptions for short-term and hedged positions, dividends received by certain non-corporate U.S. Holders of shares generally will be subject to U.S. federal income taxation at rates lower than those applicable to other ordinary income if the dividends are “qualified dividends.” Distributions received by a U.S. Holder on shares will be qualified dividends if: (i) shares are readily tradable on an established securities market in the United States (such as NASDAQ Global Select Market, which we have applied for the shares to be listed on) and (ii) Abengoa Yield was not, for the year prior to the year in which the dividends are paid, and is not, for the year in which the dividends are paid, a PFIC.”

  30. IMBIL – 12.21 interest payment whackyness

    Fido has made a wacky entry on my account for the interest that was supposed to be paid 12.31.21.

    I couldn’t tie the number back to the shares I own so I tried the chat function and hoped they would put in a ticket for the back office. After about 20 minutes of “Is this a stock or a bond?” on the chat, they gave up and set me to the bond trading desk.

    Bond guy was an aye hole who new “everything” about bonds and kept calling IMBIL a preferred. I said “wrong” look at the prospectus. “Oh no, I can’t be bothered with that”. I started getting testy then he handed me off to the Preferred Stock trader.

    At least this dude listened and didn’t argue. The call took around 45 mins and they said they really didn’t have any idea when the record or ex-date was. They “thought” it was the 15th of December (record date).

    I called IMBIL IR only to find that the company they hired no longer works for IMBIL! So now I have a message in to IMedia to find out what the freegin’ record/ex-date was.

    Anyhow, if anyone owns this turd and knows the record and ex-date it would be appreciated if you could share. If not, I’ll post whatever IR says.

    1. Wow–glad I don’t own this one–my patience would not tolerate bs stuff from fido–my acct would be on the way elsewhere.

    2. You would think this interest payment would be slightly higher than the rest because it is for 92 days, not 90 days with a record date of 12/15.
      But it appears they paid it for 90 days like all the rest.
      25*.0850/360*90 or 0.53124993 per share.
      And I wouldn’t bother calling on a publicly traded issue because if yours is screwed up, so is everybody else’s.
      I would only call if it was some illiquid thing like the Ocean Spray’s.

    3. NWGG – p S-31 –
      “will bear cash interest from September 28, 2021 at an annual rate of 8.50%, payable quarterly in arrears on March 31, June 30, September 30 and December 31 of each year, beginning on December 31, 2021, and at maturity, and the interest payable on each interest payment date will be paid to holders of record of the Notes at the close of business on March 15, June 15, September 15 and December 15 of each year, as the case may be, immediately preceding the applicable interest payment date;”

      I’m surprised your know-it-all bond guy didn’t say it wasn’t payable because the “dividend hadn’t been declared.”

      1. Thanks 2WR & friends. Much appreciated.

        What was even funnier about the “Bond Guy” was that he said “Only bonds have CUSIPS this has a symbol”.

        When I told him that this had a symbol and a CUSIP, I could hear the steam coming out of his ears over the phone. Toot toot!

  31. re FIDELITY Fixed to Floating trading ‘problem;’– well I took the plunge yet again yesterday holding for 20 minutes to talk to the fixed income specialist desk— now holding 2 F-t-F issues I wanted to put stink bids to add if, in light of market interest rate volatility, they came down in price.

    Got a nice young man who spouted the usual spiel about their nonsense that people don’t know what they are buying (!) – and they have to ‘warn’ us about the floating feature. As Tim points out on the header to this page and many know, you can only place a trade to close these- although you can sneak in at issue time which is the first ludicrous thing — otherwise you just have to call in every limit orders, no buy orders online– call in/wait for rep/go thru the nonsense and talk to them.

    I said there was buzz about this changing.. he said they get MANY calls ( and I guess complaints!) about this issue and are ‘aware’…but no changes immenent.

    So I asked to talk to a supv. Woman got on, explained again and said you people allow crazy day trades in everything else including volatile issues like 2X, 3X ETN’s, crypto etc… and relatively conservative F-t-F pfds/bb bonds- NO.. it is ridiculous and I want your assurance you will bring this to the attention of the trading committees. She said she understood and would do so and agreed there were many calls on this issue and for trades for the ‘explanation’ they have to give, tying them up.

    Anyway I will believe it when I see it but tried… my reasons were 1) I have no intention of shifting 3 a/c to other brokers just for this and 2) w interest rates in flux timely market/limit orders should be available to take advantage of price swings and opportunities for us here who have FIDO.
    (( Grid– do not think you are the main complainer! I guess I take that mantle for now!! Oh don’t even get me started on SA! ) Best to all .. we’ll see if it changes. Bea

    1. Bea, It makes one think, “With friends like these, who needs enemies”. They “protect us” from all sorts of very high quality issues and yet as you said, let you buy total dangerous crap…Oh and dont forget the Freddie and Fannie preferreds. You can buy them by the bushel load anywhere…Oh but the govt took them over and divi has been suspended over a decade and may never pay again…..

    2. Bea – I think the answers you were fed come from Page 3 of the Pat Answers Fidelity textbook provided to all phone jockeys. It’s chapter 1: how to patronize anyone who asks… we’re all talking to the wrong people… gotta get to their lawyers….

  32. for any holders of SPNT preferred B, there is a question on whether it is qualified or non-qualified this year.
    It seems the parent company may be considered a PFIC for 2021, so it may not be a qualified dividend.

  33. Fidelity’s Treatment on Special Year-end Dividend on CET –

    I’m curious if anyone else has experienced something like this: I bot into CET at Fidelity on Nov 10 in advance of the ex-div date for special yearend 12/22 div payment of 3.55/share. EVERY PRESS RELEASE issued by CET regarding this dividend instructed that the default treatment for it would be REINVESTMENT in shares and you would have to choose by Dec 2 if you wanted to receive the dividend in cash instead. I, therefore, did nothing expecting this would result in my reinvesting the dividend @ 40.05/share as per the press release HOWEVER, Fidelity overrode these instructions and paid this to me in cash instead of reinvesting it in shares because I had not chosen internally to elect dividend reinvestment. I do now see where Fidelity’s Corporate Actions notification does say that that’s what they were going to do, but given the very clear and concise instructions from CET, I didn’t read Fidelity’s fine print, thinking all it was going to say was regurgitation of the info I took pride in knowing on my own in advance re how CET was going to treat the dividend. Is this worth fighting or am I just screwed after the fact from being able to do what I intended to do?

    1. I am not following.
      Are you saying Fidelity turned off your reinvestment option without telling you? The fund could announce they are paying it in wine discounts instead of cash but what they announce is only relevant to the shareholders on their books and not the ones held in what is known as “street name”, with one exception, and that is when the REIT or fund indicates that there will be a cap on the cash paid, which changes it in 2 ways.
      1. Everyone is defaulted to 100% stock,
      2. all cash elections have to be submitted
      3. Proration will occur if the cash election exceeds the cap

      As to CET, here is the announcement.

      “Stockholders who own their shares in brokerage accounts should make the election through their broker”

      The dividend is payable December 22, 2021 to stockholders of record
      November 15, 2021. The distribution will be paid in additional shares of stock unless stockholders elect to receive the distribution in cash. The cut-off date for election of cash is December 2, 2021 (the “Cut-Off Date”). Stockholders who own their shares in brokerage accounts should make the election with their broker.

      1. Justin – No, Fidelity did not turn off my chosen reinvestment option. I apparently had to have changed Fidelity”s pre-chosen setting for all stocks (which is to take dividends in cash) to have received this dividend by way of the company’s chosen setting of receiving it in shares. So the way I look at it, they changed CET’s reinvestment choice….. I suppose I just have to accept responsibility for not having changed Fidelity’s default setting, but I thought CET’s instructions for the dividend would take precedent since CET made such a big deal of what you had to do to take the dividend in cash….. Lesson learned I suppose.

        1. The issuer’s notice is only for investors who hold their shares at the transfer agent, and not in street name, that is why they always have “contact your broker” because the issuer has 0 visibility into any shares held by brokers.
          and my caveat about the cash/stock election ceiling, brokers can be burned very badly if they don’t follow those rules because the big brokers can easily pay out cash dividends in excess of even what the entire cash payment the company makes in total, and they would have to scramble and sell the stock they have received to cover the difference.
          I only know of it occurring once, and the losses were in the millions for the broker because they sold the stock at a price much lower than it was valued when it was paid and they had to eat the loss. If they had tried to make the client’s eat it, all it would have done is led to a class action by each affected client, and the end result would be that they would eat the loss, and also eat a bunch of legal fees on top of it.

          1. Yeah, a lot of brokers including TDA and Fidelity elect cash by default for dividends regardless of what the company default is. If you want stock, you have to ask them specifically. I guess most people would rather have cash (including myself nearly always), so they figure they’re doing the best on averages by their clients..

            1. Hi Xerty, there is a non-obvious case where we use automatic reinvestment and that is for small accounts. Say you have a $2k ROTH IRA for a teenager just starting out. Even if you allocate it to all ETF’s, the dividend payouts are very small. We have had several payouts of less than $1 recently. Not many attractive investments are <$1/share, so automatic reinvestment solves that problem.

              Before there were commission free trades, it was an even larger problem. Are you going to wait until you build up say $25 to buy one share of a preferred?

              Bottom line is we use automatic dividend reinvestment in many accounts, both small and large.

              Thanks and happy holidays to all III'ers!


        2. FWIW, I got burned a bit recently after having to move all of my Fido workplace retirement BrokerageLink funds to an IRA, then learning a bit late I’d have to change each one to “re-invest” instead of receiving cash (the default). I had a fair number of CEFs, BDCs, etc. But, when you do that, there’s a box to check if you also want all future investments in that account to be re-invested, so that should be the default on all new securities I buy, I think. If I had used that prior to the transfers, I think it would have prevented the need for changing each one individually.

          1. CR, a few more points on dividend reinvestments:

            1) Fidelity sets the default to “do NOT reinvest” and you have to go through a few screens to set each one individually TO reinvest. They do NOT allow reinvestment on ANY preferreds. Have yet to get a good answer whey they don’t allow it. Probably another nanny state thing. Fido does the reinvestments the same day the dividend is paid.

            2) Schwab also sets the default to “do NOT reinvest” but they make it very easy to change. On the main portfolio page beside each ticker is a click box you can set. They let you reinvest dividends on most preferreds, but do NOT allow it on baby bonds/terms. Not clear why they won’t allow it on babys because the software implementation can’t tell whether a $25 exchange traded issue is a preferred or a baby. Schwab will not allow it on any of the Pink Sheet issues best I can tell, even if they are “Pink Current Info.” You sure would NOT want them to do it on “Pink No Info” issues that likely would get horrible fill prices. Schwab does the reinvestments the next trading day @ ~ 10.00 AM NYSE time, like clockwork. You can identify the trades after the fact.

            1. I’ll bet the reason they don’t allow reinvestment on the preferreds is that the preferred space is riddled with low volume (and low ownership inside Fidelity on dividend reinvestment for other securities in the account), which makes the processing of a reinvested dividend very labor intensive to reconcile the cash and purchases of the shares, which is why they block the asset class entirely.. Think of all the preferred securities that go weeks between trades that Gridbird owns. If he put them on dividend reinvestment, his broker would be protesting outside his house….

            2. Actually Tex

              1. It is very easy on Fidelity to set up reinvestment of dividends for all holdings in your account. You DO NOT have to do it issue by issue. You can change the default “do not reinvest” to “reinvest” for all easily. That is how I have my account set up

              2. I then can go in and edit an individual security to “not reinvest” if I choose (which I have done on a few occasions)

              3. Yes, no automatic dividend reinvestment on preferreds at Fidelity given many are low volume issues,

  34. Had a GTC order for EBBNF that got a partial fill earlier this week (Fidelity platform). I noticed a $75 “commissions/fees” charge. Was informed that this was a fee for a foreign issue that was passed through. Had not seen that before. Bought EBBGF at TD earlier this year – there was a $6.95 commission, but no other foreign issue fees. Never anything with the the Brookfield issues.
    Cancelled what was left of the GTC order.

  35. Over on the Canadian Discussion page, on 10 dec, Joel A wrote about a new pfd from Canadian Utilities ( “CU.PR.J began trading today. (description) / DBRS 2high credit rating”

    Anyone here familiar enough w IBKR to tell me how to view a quote for that issue? They’re convention is ” PR”. So WFC-L is WFC PRL. But “CU PRJ” doesn’t find anything.

    I’m obviously an IBKR newbie, looking for any pointers (and missing Bob-in-DE’s input at this moment).

    1. That’s the NYSE standard that IB uses for things like WFC PRL, etc, with a space.

      For Canada, they use periods so CU.PR.J is correct, but IB just doesn’t have it listed in their system yet. You can find the rest of the CU prefs that way if you want them – C,F,G,H,I.

    2. I don’t know if it’s applicable to CU PRJ but Interactive Brokers is slow to make new issues available for trading. When in doubt, call them.

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