I participate in my company’s employee stock purchase plan. You
contribute to the plan a small amount every paycheck and at the end of a
quarter or whatever that amount of money goes to purchasing a block of
company shares at a discount rate. It’s a pretty good way to go.
The problem is that the shares automatically get dumped into an ETrade
account (actually, an “OptionsLink” account - sort of like an ETrade
account, owned by ETrade, but more geared toward stock options and
things). Now, I’m not a big stock trader. I’m not comfortable with
moving electronic sums of money around willy-nilly, particularly since I
have so little money to actually move. To that end, I have an account at
a stock broker that I’m comfortable with, where the service is a little
more personal and the experience is generally friendlier.
Every time I get stocks through the purchase plan, I send a fax over to
ETrade to have them transferred to my other account. In the past this
has only taken three or four business days.
This time, I asked for the stock to be transferred over, and two
business days later, the stock no longer showed up in my ETrade account.
I went to the web site for my other broker and… it wasn’t there,
I waited a couple more business days and checked again. Still no stock
It’s been eight business days, maybe more, since I asked for the
transfer. My stock’s not been received by my other brokerage, and it’s
not on ETrade’s site. I’m starting to get concerned.
I called ETrade and after navigating an impossible phone tree and
sitting on hold for an interminable amount of time, it turns out that
ETrade’s process is a bit more involved and lengthy than I’d like, and
God forbid they tell me about it. What they end up doing is transferring
the stock out of OptionsLink and into a straight ETrade brokerage
account (an account that I don’t even look at, let alone use). That
takes several business days. Then they initiate the transfer from the
brokerage account at ETrade to the one at my regular broker. That, too,
takes several business days.
We’ve gotten as far as getting the stock into the ETrade brokerage
account and my other broker has been contacted to expect to receive the
shares in my account there. I should have something in the next -
according to the telephone help lady - five to seven business days.
Which would bring this process to about 15 business days, or three
Earth weeks just to get some stinking stock transferred. Why so
difficult? Setting up a wire transfer between bank accounts takes no
time flat compared to that. What’s the problem here? And how come I have
to fax my request over to someone there and I can’t just electronically
initiate the transfer through the web site?
They should make two web interfaces for electronic stock trading. One
for the novice user (me) and one for the advanced user (day traders). I
want to buy, sell, and transfer to another account. That’s it! I don’t
need all these fancy real-time analysis madubers and high-tech tracking
whatsits. Big fonts, big buttons, simple interface. Maybe I’m
stock-retarded. Or maybe I just want a simple experience, the same way
the users of the applications I write expect.