Here is something that has come up for me that others may have seen. I have owned shares in a company for a long time -- since the 1970s for some of the shares. There have been a variety of splits, so what was a few shares is more than a few now. I was a kid when these were purchased. The paper stock certificates sat in my parents' safe deposit box for several decades, and eventually my dad brought them to me. I dutifully took them down to Fidelity, where I have an account, and asked that they be transferred to street name.Well.... turns out that they were not. There is a note on the certificates that says that the company has to be notified any time there is a transfer, so rather than putting the shares in street name, Fidelity put the actual paper certificates in a vault in New Jersey. (I'd like to see that vault.) I learned all of this a few weeks ago when I tried to transfer some of the shares to a charitable foundation. The capital gains on these shares are enormous, so rather than make cash donations when I want to donate to charity, I donate shares and then replace the money in my Fidelity account with cash. Took me a while to understand the benefits of doing it, but now that I understand them, boy, it's worth it (for me in my particular situation).Anyway, the conversations I've had with the back office Fidelity staff who are trying to get this to actually happen are sort of amazing. Fidelity is a really big company that values doing things for their customers instantaneously. This is... not instantaneous. At least they call me once a week with updates. Anyone else seen stuff like this?ThyPeace, the first person who processed this wasn't even notified that it hadn't been completed until I called back to ask what happened. She was horrified. Yay.
If Fidelity has the physical shares in a vault, you can ask them to return them to you. You should be able to transfer the physical share certificates to the charity by signing the back of the certificates with the appropriate signature guarantee (probably a Medallion guarantee).This may be quicker than whatever Fidelity is putting you through.Ira
I work for a nonprofit where we have a donor who donates stock in his publicly traded company to us every year in the form of stock certificates mailed to us in our name. There are definitely a ton of hoops to jump through to get them sold, or at least processed into our brokerage account to an electronic form where our investment advisor can sell them if they choose, like they would normally. Fortunately our investment advisor firm has someone who is really good at that paperwork and makes it easy for us (and by "us" I mean "me", who has to sign all the stuff).Like you, I'm surprised Fidelity hasn't been able to do a better job for you. It doesn't sound like it should be that unusual for them. It also doesn't sound like your shares are "restricted" (originally held by a company insider). Ours are, and that creates a whole other set of hoops. I'll second the idea that you might have a conversation with the nonprofit that you are donating to. If they are large enough, they may have access to someone who can make the process easy.
There are details to the story that may or may not matter. My dad was an executive in the company, so though I was not an insider, he was. They are marked as restricted in my account, but what I have been repeatedly told is that they are not actually restricted shares. Dad is no longer an executive there -- he's been retired for more than 10 years.As for the charity they're going to, they're aware of the issue and appear to be too small to be of any significant help. On the other hand, I could contact the company directly and ask them to issue clean certificates, I suppose. Or I can just wait to see what Fidelity comes up with.ThyPeace, needs to address this anyway, otherwise I'm never going to be able to unwind my shares in this company.
My dad was an executive in the company, so though I was not an insider, he was. They are marked as restricted in my account, but what I have been repeatedly told is that they are not actually restricted shares. Dad is no longer an executive there -- he's been retired for more than 10 years.Sounds like they were at least restricted at one time. Whether there would be an expiration on that, I don't know. It would probably be specified on the share certificate. If they are restricted, then I believe any sale needs to be signed off on by the lawyers for the company. As I said, ours has all been well-handled by our investment advisors.It's very surprising that Fidelity is having so much trouble with this. It should be just a matter of talking to the right person.
It's very surprising that Fidelity is having so much trouble with this. It should be just a matter of talking to the right person. In general Fidelity is really good with customer service--I even had a rep call me once saying, "I'm someone who is charged with listening to those recorded calls. You had one yesterday where you got an answer that clearly didn't satisfy you. Let me give you a more complete answer." We had a good talk, I understood the issue better. They really mean it when they say "this call may be recorded for quality assurance purposes"!But on another occasion I was not getting satisfaction to a quirky issue, to the point of such frustration that I wrote a letter to Abigail Johnson, copying Fidelity's lead attorney. My issue was resolved within a day of her receipt of my letter. And I got a nice personal letter back from her exec assistant.[Lest I paint a false impression, overall, for years, I've been very pleased with the service at Fidelity. It's where I do virtually all of my financial dealings, the only exception being credit cards.]The situation here is of a different nature, and the lawyer might in this case actually legitimately say that SEC rules--or whatever--are the hurdles to be cleared. But a letter might also stimulate a review of their internal processes so as to expedite similar situations in the future.mathetes
Thanks to those who are providing feedback on this. Working with Fidelity's back office folks (which these clearly are; the "front office" folks just sound baffled and pass me along) feels significantly different. I think they are trying to do the right thing. I also think that they are trying to spare me what the actual technical problem is. And they're dealing with my home town which, uhm. Well, there's a reason my dad goes everywhere in person. They have adopted the idea of remote dealings with great reluctance.ThyPeace, seriously, nothing is done by phone. Email is nearly a foreign concept.
And just to add... my home town is also a place where a legal document can be rife with insane errors. The one I got today gets my married name wrong, names my sister-in-law as representative for DD instead of just the kids of her and my brother, and although it should list all of my siblings, it omits my sister altogether. In most places, that would be hair-raisingly bad work. There? Meh, sorry, we’ll try 17 times to fix it but introduce other errors along the way, so pick the version with the fewest errors. We all know what we mean so it’s okay anyway.ThyPeace, my other brother stopped playing their game a few years ago. My dad was horrified that he had to tell the people involved that there were errors.
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