Author Topic: Marketing data required for opening Merrill Lynch account  (Read 1569 times)

Spork

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Marketing data required for opening Merrill Lynch account
« on: May 31, 2016, 08:38:41 AM »

Okay, this is a first world problem.  I know that.

My dad recently passed away.  He had a significant IRA at Merrill Lynch and I am inheriting a portion of it.  Having met his broker there and watched how poorly they managed his money* over the years, I really want nothing to do with them.  I am working with Vanguard to roll the money into an inherited IRA there.  Vanguard is requiring me to have ML open an inherited account in my name, then transfer the money -- as opposed to just rolling my share of the account directly to Vanguard.

In setting the account up, the ML forms ask all sorts of marketing questions that I think are none of their business: My income, my net worth, amount I owe on my house, my tax bracket, etc.  I refused the questions and told them it wasn't any of their business.  They are only opening an inherited IRA that contains a money market account and keeping that account open for a few days until it can be transferred.

ML WILL NOT open an account without this data.  They say it's required data.  Is there any chance in hell this is actually required by anything other than their marketing department?  I'm tempted to just lie and say "zero" for everything.  I've had a number of brokerage accounts over the years and I don't remember answering this... but... I also have a TERRIBLE memory. 



*I say "managed poorly"... and maybe that is too harsh.  He had multiple brokers over the years rip him off and they never did that.  They just did a huge amount of hand waving/trading/feel good meetings (and I expect significant management fees) and didn't really grow his account as much as I would have expected them to.

dcozad999

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Re: Marketing data required for opening Merrill Lynch account
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2016, 08:49:44 AM »
I'm sorry about your father.

As for the marketing info, if you don't want to give your true numbers, just put down some false info. I don't think it's worth your time to fight or argue over it.

nereo

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Re: Marketing data required for opening Merrill Lynch account
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2016, 08:56:00 AM »
I had my own "burned" story about ML that I posted a few years back. My financial advisor churned my accounts and treated me like I couldn't possibly know anything about finance.  He held a lot of cash and a lot of bonds despite the fact that they were IRA accounts with a timeline of several decades before I planned to access the money, and my risk tolerance profile stated that I was a "5" (their highest).  It took 3 months and several attempts to get them to let go of money and transfer it to Vanguard.

Back to you - is there any way you can be exceptionally vague with the required information?  Choose "other" as often as possible and list something like "occupation -> other -> mid-level worker in advanced organization".  Under Income write "variable"... something like that.

I'd also ask to speak to someone in HR/Customer Support.  take your case to them. It's your money and beyond verifying your identity the shuold not be able ot restrict you access to that money. If that doesn't work take it up with the SEC or whomever addresses such complaints about brokerages.

Also - I'm very sorry to hear about your dad.

Spork

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Re: Marketing data required for opening Merrill Lynch account
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2016, 09:18:59 AM »
Yeah they churned dad's accounts to no end.  They didn't charge per trade... so it didn't rack up fees.... but I suspect their "we will manage it by market timing instead of doing mutual funds" has an extremely high expense ratio.  (I don't actually know that they do... but that is my suspicion for why he really didn't grow his accounts much.) 

I already gave them occupation as "retired" and then got "from where" ... and gave them that too.

I am really tempted to say:
Net worth: $10,000
Income: 0
tax bracket: 0-15%

I.e, I'm tempted to lie and do it in a huge fashion as a "screw you".  But I also think I might be being a bit of a baby about this and maybe I should just give them their damn data so I can be done with them.

oldmannickels

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Re: Marketing data required for opening Merrill Lynch account
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2016, 09:20:13 AM »
I would bet that their risk department requires them to gather that data to fulfill regulatory obligations.

https://www.sec.gov/answers/bd-persinfo.htm

Spork

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Re: Marketing data required for opening Merrill Lynch account
« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2016, 09:28:02 AM »
I would bet that their risk department requires them to gather that data to fulfill regulatory obligations.

https://www.sec.gov/answers/bd-persinfo.htm

Well, there you go.

Cool that it also gives me and them an out: Brokers must make a good faith effort to obtain this information. However, if the customer neglects or refuses to provide the information, or is unable to provide it, then the rule excuses the broker from obtaining it.