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How to Transfer a Closed Merrill Lynch Account to an Expat Brokerage

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How to Transfer a Merrill Edge Brokerage Account to an Expat Friendly Broker

Merrill Lynch, Merrill Edge and many other U.S. brokerages have been closing down clients' expat brokerage accounts due to FACTA (the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act) which are new, more stringent rules which are concerning many U.S. based financial institutions when dealing with Americans living abroad. 

Merrill Lynch have closed a number of accounts due to FACTA, the stricter Know Your Client (KYC) rules and tougher anti-money laundering rules. It has even ended with some clients trying to sue Merill Lynch. Many of these client accounts have been closed in the wake of money laundering fines paid by HSBC and other high profile banks.

Anyone who has had a Merill Lynch account locked might find all this very frustrating, but don't worry, there is a solution.

In this article, we will show you how to close a Merril Lynch or Merrill Edge account and transfer the account to an expat friendly brokerage account via a free app which will also automate the trading of ETFs on a clients' behalf.

How to Close a Merrill Edge Account

If you want to close your Merrill Edge / Merrill Lynch account, you need to send a closure request to the broker by logging into the Merrill Edge site and using their internal messaging system.

You could also call the broker on +1-609-818-8900 if you are outside the USA.

Unlike Fidelity, Merrill Lynch doesn’t provide an on-line chat service, nor does it operate a nationwide network of branch locations. Merrill Lynch can be contacted through its mobile app. 

Merrill Edge Account Closure Fee (non-IRA)

Merrill Edge does not charge fees for account termination for individual or joint taxable (non-IRA) brokerage accounts. 

Merrill Edge IRA Account Closure Fee

Merrill Edge non-taxable accounts (also known as IRA accounts) have a $49.95 charge to close an account. Cash distributions from an IRA that are sent to you, rather than to another firm, will be fully taxable. You'll also typically owe a 10 percent penalty if you're under age 59 1/2.

How to Transfer Your Merrill Edge Assets to Another Account

Some brokers may allow you to transfer your assets. But, most brokers are not expat friendly. If you have closed your Merrill Lynch / Merrill Edge account, you can transfer the cash to an Interactive Brokers or Charles Schwab account.

Setting Up a New Brokerage Account for Non-US Expats

The Money Pouch can manage ETF investment portfolios for most expats, but is not available to U.S. residents.

The Money Pouch app is available on Google Play and iTunes. You can download it for free.

After answering a free risk tolerance questions, The Money Pouch will send you a free risk score via email. From here, you can complete the questionnaire and upload your passport copy and proof of address for compliance.

The whole process takes less than 10 minutes as you can see in the video below. Then, it may take a few days to clear compliance, Know Your Customer and pass the Anti-Money Laundering check.

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