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Anytime I've ever transferred stock (on a personal basis, not for charitable good) the receiving firm (Merrill Lynch in your case) initiates the transfer.

Merrill Lynch should have forms where you authorize the DTC transfer. Merrill Lynch would send the authorization and DTC instructions to Ameritrade.

If your current custodian (Ameritrade) initiated the transfer, there would be a chance that the back office at ML would not be anticipating the stock and void the transfer. This would send it back to Ameritrade.

However, I think previously reading the Ameritrade fee schedule that you may still have a $15 fee. This probably covers the labor in reviewing the documentation and setting up the transfer.
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