Brokerage firms and bonuses discussion

Brokerage firms and bonuses discussion


Merrill Money Show promotion back for a month


Isn’t it difficult to get out of Betterment? I thought I read you could not easily transfer out but I may be thinking of another firm.


Aigo, thank you for posting the Merrill . a couple days ago I was starting to look around for this offer due to some expiring deals. They have bad customer service, but very good incentives.


PNC in my area has brokerage bonusses too:

Not sure if I want to bother applying since they banned me from checking account signups about 5 years ago (I was depositing too many MO’s).

Anybody here have any experience with the brokerage at PNC? Their bank/website is not good, so my best guess is that their brokerage is even worse.


I took a similar offer a while ago for an IRA. I got the bonus, but did discover they had an annual fee of $75 (non of the other firms I deal with do). Taking money out proved to require a phone call and then it had to go to my bank account with them. I expect when my one year holding period is up to move the money out for a bonus elsewhere, and for better service.

However, this offer could be attractive for those that lack better offers (due to having taken all others). In my case most firms seem not to let you get a bonus for both an IRA and a regular account, and I find the IRA offers more attractive.


talked to PNC Investments, and you can get both the $1500 for a regular account for $500,000 and for a new IRA “not adding funds to an existing one”. At .3 of the amount invested this seems more attractive than the standard $2500 for a million, but not as good as the E*Trade offer of $4,000 for a million.

I learned PNC worked only standard business hours, which is a nuisance.

I also discovered that Capital One Investments has a manual transfer process, so when I decided to move my IRA with them to Ally. it seems that the funds are frozen for 15 days to a month (from their letter). Since I am not currently an active trader this is not much of a problem, but it could be for someone who is.


Here are two reasonably timely lists of promos for brokerage accounts.


Right, pretty dated, indeed. With the Etrade acquisition, Cap One transfer outs will presumably use Etrade’s system and ACATS in the future


The Credit Donkey list lost credibility when I noticed they are still listing Scottrade, which merged with Ameritrade in February. I wonder what other outdated information is in their list if they made this mistake.


Just talked to CITI Wealth Management, casually asking how I got cash out of my account (turn out I have to have to withdraw it by phone.)

They apparently have a promotion running now, and have done this every quarter but it is on no web sites. You must choose whether to do this for IRA or regular brokerage in any quarter. Besides a relatively generous bonus schedule at certain amounts (I like the $1,000 for $200,000), they require the money stay there for only 3 months, although the paying of the bonus comes later (which requires the account still be open). The representative indicated recently they had been running such promotions every quarter, and taking advantage of a promotion in one quarter did not prevent taking advantage of one for another quarter. Thus, you could bring several million over in half million dollar batches to maximize bonuses.
The $500 for $50,000 is generous.
The schedule is:


Thanks for sharing. Generous bonus tiers, indeed :slight_smile:

Their investing website does look very bare bones. Hopefully they expand their web operations to handle investments. I’ve had a few checking accounts with Citi over the years, all opened online, and had generally positive experiences.


That they had no way to make cash withdrawals except by phone sounds bare bones to me. I did learn you could set up your cash sweep to transfer dividends to your checking account, solving this problem. I was told withdrawing dividends this way did not mean you wuld not get the bonus even if it took the value of the account below the specified amount.,

From personal experience, you can get no service at branches if a self directed customers, other than possibly use of their phone to call their call centers. As a Gold Client I got a personal banker (well dressed), but he was unaware of this offer and told me there were none. Their branches are oriented to selling managed accounts (apparent when I wondered in seeking service.

However, if a buy and hold investor this need not be a major problem.

If you do take one of these offers you may become a Gold Client (or a Priority one). With direct deposit and automated transfer to your saving account you can earn CITI points worth perhaps $8.50 per month.

This status also gets fees waived for having the brokerage account. If you take their generous offer for bringing in $50,000 and the market declines, you may find a monthly fee for keeping the account.

If you plan on keeping funds there just long enough to qualify for the bonus and then keeping the account open to receive your bonus, you may be hit with a fee. It does appear you could deposit $200,000 for the $1,000 bonus, and then after three months removed perhaps $140,000 of that, and then after that a few more months transfer the account elsewhere (hoping the new firm picks up their account closing fee).


That’s incredible. I wonder if you could double dip the $500 for 50k, by transfering an IRA and a taxable account. Why not just keep the investments there?


The main cause for concern IMO is that the account opening and bonus confirmation presumably must be done by phone or in person (if there is a branch near you, which there isn’t for me), since this isn’t on a website. Citi is the type of firm where you want confirmation of everything – especially bonus terms – in writing.


An update on my new account experience with Ally:

After trying to setup ACH transfer accounts I found out that they have a daily ACH max of $30,000 and horrible funds availabiltiy policies, for example:
"Withdrawals of ACH deposits via check, wire or Account Transfer may only be made after 60 calendar days from the date of deposit. " (Why Ally ACH Sucks)

Customer service sucked as well (at least via chat, I tried calling, but waited on hold 10 minutes before I hung up).

Ally makes it really hard to get your money back, so I didn’t think it was worth it… even with their promo.


Attempt to open new CITI account for their bonus failed. They asked various financial questions about assets and such which I presumed was the usual know your customer procedure. This included the salary before I retired. However, the agent noted my total IRAs were large relatively to the last salary. Although what I have is explained by a high saving rate plus luck and skill in investing it, they were unwilling to open the new account needed for the promotion, and unable to apply the promotion to the existing brokerage account.

In my case where virtually all my records were lost in the Katrina flood, and I have done business with a large number of brokerage firms over perhaps half a century, it is very hard to prove all my wealth is legally acquired (although it is). The legal principle that are presumed guilty until proven otherwise is violated by this sort of inquiry that CITI is conducting (under government pressure I am sure).

Of course, it is highly unlikely that such inquiries will really prevent any money laundering or such, since bad guys will almost certainly lie about their wealth. Opening a $200,000 brokerage account by someone retired who is willing to lie about denying being wealthy is unlikely to prove a problem


Thanks for sharing your experience. I’ve been doing the Citi checking bonus ($300-500 bonus for $15k deposited) each year for about four years now, and noticed their wealth/income questions were significantly longer/more detailed/intrusive this year than last year (2017). I had no issues with the online approval, but per your experience, Citi may indeed be paying more attention to and being more conservative with new clients.

Might recommend taking advantage of the ongoing Merrill Edge offer ($1k for $200k in new assets) before it concludes on October 16.


I was told some new rules went into effect Jan 1 this year, so the questions became more invasive.


PNC Investments had a statement that transfers out had to be completed by Oct. 19. the window for getting out before the E*Trade transfer is closed, or closing. They apparently are requiring a “wet” signature (not faxed form).


I did not meet the Capital One dead line. It appears I can wait until the assets are at ETrade, and then start a transfer again. Since transfer usually require copies of statements showing the assets are there, and statements come out at the end of the month, this will create an appreciable delay, and create extra work.

A transfer of IRA assets took a while and the market had declined so that PNC the amount was below what was required for their bonus,. They appear unwilling to base the bonus on the value at the time the transfer was started, with a result that a second transfer will be needed.

It is wise to build in a safety margin for transfer in case the market declines.