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Written by Sam Pennington on December 1, 2022
Category: 
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How To Transfer From TD Ameritrade To Vanguard 2023

Investors may periodically need to move their assets from one platform to another. Perhaps a new platform offers better incentives or has features better suited to them.

In this article, we provide an in depth review on how to transfer from TD Ameritrade to Vanguard.

Vanguard is a popular option for many investors due to its impressive and long track record, free trades, and access to lost cost mutual funds and ETFs.

If you are looking to perform this transfer, then this is the article for you!

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Transfer From TD Ameritrade To Vanguard

Moving your investments would be an annoying process if it weren't for ACATS transfer. ACATS, or automated customer account transfer service, is a way for investors to move their assets from one platform to another without liquidating first.

With this process, you are not actually selling off any assets and repurchasing, instead, you are simply moving them to another platform.

In order to transfer from TD Ameritrade to Vanguard, you will need to complete the steps below:

  1. Open a Vanguard Account
  2. Gather Information From TD Ameritrade
  3. Initiate an ACATS transfer

Let's jump into each of these steps in more detail!

1. Open A Vanguard Account

vanguard was founded on the theory from jack bogle that low cost index funds will provide an investor with great returns over time

If you already have a Vanguard account, then you can move on to the next step. 

Vanguard is one of the top options for investors for a number of reasons. First and foremost, Vanguard has been around for many years. Since its inception, it has had a great track record. And when looking to invest your money, this is critical - knowing that your funds are safe.

Other benefits include low cost ETFs and Mutual funds, commission free trades, and an excellent customer service team.

Now, before you create an account, you need to make sure you are eligible. To create an account, you will need to have the following:

  • Permanent US address
  • Social security number
  • If applicable, employer's address

If you are eligible to open an account, then follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to Vanguard's website
  2. Click on the "Open an account" button on the top menu
  3. You can either fund your account with a bank account or through a transfer from another account.
  4. Follow the remaining steps as prompted. You will be asked for your name, email, phone number, address, SSN, employer, and level of investing experience.

Once you have completed the account application, you will be able to start investing in 3 business days.

2. Gather Information From TD Ameritrade

TD Ameritrade Logo

There are only a few required inputs to execute an ACATS transfer. You will need the following:

  • Type of Brokerage Account (Personal/Individual/Taxable, Roth IRA, traditional IRA, etc)
  • Your TD Ameritrade Account Number
  • Your TD Ameritrade login information

When performing an ACATs transfer, you need to make sure your account types match between your old and new brokerage. If they don't, your transfer may get delayed or canceled entirely.

Use the steps below to find your TD Ameritrade account number and account type:

  1. Login to your TD Ameritrade account
  2. At the bottom of the home screen, click "More"
  3. Choose "My Profile"
  4. Select "Account Information"
  5.  Note what type of account you have
  6. Click "Show" to reveal your full account number
  7. Safely copy down your account information

With the account number, login information, and account type, you are ready to set up the transfer.

3. Initiate ACATS Transfer

Actually initiating the transfer in Vanguard's platform is pretty quick and will take just 10-15 minutes to complete. While the funds may take 4-6 weeks to appear in your Vanguard account, the process is usually completed much sooner.

Vanguard does not charge for incoming ACATS transfers, but TD Ameritrade does charge for outgoing transfers. For a full account transfer, TD Ameritrade will charge you $75 while a partial transfer is free.

Before you start the transfer, you should also know about the assets that you can and cannot transfer to Vanguard.

Investments you can transfer:

  • 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:

  • 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.

Any investments that you have that cannot be transferred must be liquidated first.

Account Transfer Steps

To initiate this ACATS transfer, follow the steps below:

  1. Navigate to Vanguard's account transfer page
  2. Select the option "Transfer investments from another firm to Vanguard" and click continue
  3. Select the type of account you want to transfer from (whichever account you are transferring to Vanguard, needs to be the same type of account you have with Vanguard)
  4. Next, login with your Vanguard login details or select the Sign up option
    1. If you already have a login, then you will continue with the steps below. If you need to sign up, then you will need to provide additional details first such as your name, email, phone, SSN and more.
  5. After clicking continue, type in the name of the platform you want to transfer from. In this case, it would be "TD Ameritrade."
  6. Enter in your TD Ameritrade login details or find the account manually by entering in your TD Ameritrade account number.
  7. Decide whether you want to transfer all or some of the assets held in TD Ameritrade
    1. If a partial transfer, you will be able to select the individual investments you want to move
  8. Select where you would like to transfer the assets to, either a new account or an existing Vanguard account
  9. Review the details of the transfer and click continue
  10. Review the terms and conditions and accept to move on

Be aware that this transfer can take up to 4-6 weeks to complete, though typically is completed much sooner.

Transfer From TD Ameritrade To Vanguard: Final Thoughts

As you can see, this transfer is actually pretty simple to execute.

You need to ensure you have a Vanguard account set up that matches the account type from TD Ameritrade. Following the prompts in Vanguard to initiate this transfer will take just a few minutes to complete. In order for the online process to go smoothly, be sure to be prepared with your TD Ameritrade login information or account number.

Once you have completed the survey, the transfer will take 4-6 weeks to complete. You can track the progress in your Vanguard account.

If you have additional questions, be sure to reach out to Vanguard's customer support team.

Article written by Sam Pennington
Sam is a personal finance writer. While in college, he dedicated his spare time to learning about personal finance, investing, and real estate. Sam currently works as a business analyst for one of the top food manufacturers in the world.

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