Trouble Transferring IRA Account to Vanguard

Vanguard may be a great company for investing, but my experience with them on non-investing related issues wasn’t that great at all. It all began with my Roth IRA transfer that I started the same time last month. Here’s the timeline of the process (and it isn’t over yet):

  • September 30: Mailed Roth IRA transfer forms (my wife’s and mine) to Vanguard.
  • October 4: Got an email from Vanguard, saying my profile was ready to be viewed online. The email, however, didn’t mention anything about my account number which is required to get online access. Besides, my wife didn’t get the email.
  • October 5 – 13: Nothing happened.
  • October 14: Received fund prospects from Vanguard for the funds I own.
  • October 16: Called Vanguard asking about account number and was told the confirmation letter should have been sent out on October 4, the day when the account was created. At the same time, Vanguard said never received my wife’s application form.
  • October 18: Called Vanguard for other issues and was told they actually received my wife’s form.
  • October 20: Called Vanguard and was told the transfer process was only started on October 13 and had to wait another four weeks to complete. No mail with my account number every arrived so obtained the number over the phone.
  • October 24: Called to get my wife’s account number and got online access. Sent checks to Scottrade due to delay at Vanguard.
  • October 27: Confirmation of my wife’s account arrived, but found error in the automatic investment plan (two funds to invest but listed only one).
  • October 28: Called to ask for a confirmation letter for my account, but was told they can’t simply generate a litter for me because the transfer has not completed yet and I have no funds in my account. My wife, however, did get a confirmation when there is nothing in her account either!

It seems that every time I called, I got a different CSR on the line with different answers and information and I don’t know which information is correct. It’s understandable that different people may have different views on questions and the answers they give may be different, but there should also be some general guidelines on policy related questions so that the answers won’t be totally different. For example, the confirmation letter. From the one my wife received, it’s simply a summary of what she put in the application form, no any investment activities involved. I think it should be automatically generated when I opened an account, just telling me what they have on file and let me check if there’s any errors (there is indeed an error in my wife’s file). However, when I asked for the letter, one told me it should be generated by the time the account was opened, while another told me I have to wait till the transfer is completed.

Are they overwhelmed that they couldn’t get a very simple case straight?

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2 Responses to “Trouble Transferring IRA Account to Vanguard”

  1. 2million |  Oct 30, 2006 at 12:52 pm

    Wow this is the first negative experience I have heard of with Vanguard. I hope this gets straightened out soon.

  2. John |  Oct 31, 2006 at 11:56 am

    I’m surprised and dissapointed to hear about your experience. I opened a ROTH IRA @ Vanguard several months ago and didn’t have a problem w/ the transfer. I initiated the account and transfer online and finished up w/ some type of authorization letter via snail mail. I guess the only complaint would be the time it took for everything set up, roughly a month. Perhaps it was that you opened two accounts at once? Though I would think a big company like that would have their stuff straight enought to handle that properly. Good luck w/ the rest of it!