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Why Is There a Negative Cash Balance in My Investment Account

I am using Q 26.21 for Windows, but this problem has been around for quite a while. In my Morgan Stanley Investment accounts, the Holdings page shows a negative number for Cash (in the top section with the number of shares. In the Account Status section, the Security Value, Cash Balance, and Total Market Value are all wrong (with the last two growing more and more negative over time). The Linked Cash Balance number is correct. The net effect of this is that Quicken is not telling me how much money I have in my accounts any more! I have verified that all transactions are properly recorded in the transaction registers. ANy thoughts?

Answers

  • Boatnmaniac
    Boatnmaniac SuperUser ✭✭✭✭
    I'm guessing that it has to do with how cash is held and reported to Quicken by Morgan Stanley. 
    Go to Account Register > upper right Gear icon > Reconcile Shares.  Does the popup state that the shares in Quicken and as reported by the FI are in agreement or does it show there is disagreement and which security(ies) are shown there?  Also, what is the value of that disagreement?
    Go to Account Register > Cash Balance (lower right corner) > Click on the blue underlined amount shown.  Does is show the cash in Quicken and as reported by the FI are in agreement or does it show they are different?  If they are different, what is the amount of that difference?
    (QW Premier Subscription: R32.12 on Windows 10)
  • Jim Shiffrin
    Jim Shiffrin Member ✭✭
    Reconcile Shares - in agreement.
    Cash Register balance is correct.
    I just did a Validate/Repair - Validate File. It found a number of issues with missing categories, but did not change this negative balance issue.
  • Boatnmaniac
    Boatnmaniac SuperUser ✭✭✭✭
    Jim Shiffrin - So the Cash Balance in Quicken and as reported (downloaded) by the FI are in agreement that it is a negative balance?
    If that is the case then there is something significantly wrong in what Morgan Stanley is downloading to Quicken.  I've never heard of an investment company downloading a negative balance.
    When is the last time you reconciled your account?  And did you do that with a paper statement or....?

    (QW Premier Subscription: R32.12 on Windows 10)
  • Jim Shiffrin
    Jim Shiffrin Member ✭✭
    No, the cash balance in the Quicken Morgan Stanley Cash account matches the (POSITIVE) cash balance at Morgan Stanley. My issue is with the number shown at the bottom of the Holdings section. It correctly shows all of my holdings, then the last line in that section, labelled "Cash", shows $-141,773. This number is then added to (subtracted from) the sum of the other values, leaving me with an apparent negative total!
  • Boatnmaniac
    Boatnmaniac SuperUser ✭✭✭✭
    Ah, so your cash is being held in a linked checking account instead of being included in the securities transactions register, right? 
    How is cash being held at Morgan Stanley?  In a traditional sweep account (kind of like a savings account) or in a money market mutual fund (sometimes referred to by other brokerages as a "Core Fund" or "Settlement Fund")?
    (QW Premier Subscription: R32.12 on Windows 10)
  • Jim Shiffrin
    Jim Shiffrin Member ✭✭
    I do indeed have a linked Checking account in Quicken. Its balance exactly matches what MS says I have in their "BANK DEPOSIT PROGRAM | MORGAN STANLEY BANK NA" line. It also matches the amount on the Investment account in the Ending Balance on the main page, and in the Linked Cash Balance on the Account Holdings popup. The only problem is the ridiculously huge negative number shown as "Cash" in the top part of that page, and the different (also very large) negative number in the "Cash Balance" line in the Account Status section.
  • GeoffG
    GeoffG SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    I don't use a linked checking account, but assume an investment checking account is similar to a bank checking account. If you go to the first line of the register, typically it will state Opening Balance with an amount. The amount is listed under withdraw or deposit. Is this the amount you are out of balance by? Could this simply be changing from one to the other?
    user since '92 | Quicken Windows Premier - Subscription | Windows 10 Pro version 20H2
  • Jim Shiffrin
    Jim Shiffrin Member ✭✭
    No. The initial balance in the linked cash (chcking) account is correct, and the final balance is correct (matches what Morgan Stanley says I have. My problem is with the Holdings page in the Investment Account.
  • q_lurker
    q_lurker SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    ... ANy thoughts?
    My first thought: You cited the Holdings page.  Does a Portfolio view show the same thing?  (It should.)  

    Second thought:  I would edit the "As of" date back in time.  At the beginning of the account history, do the values correctly align?  As you advance from that point, can you identify when they begin to diverge?  Can you relate that divergence by date or by amount to actual transactions in your records?

    I took the step of converting my main investment account to a linked cash account.  The balance converted over correctly and is consistent across the actual accounts, the Holdings view and portfolio views.  That is not a download transactions account or a MS account, though I don't consider that a factor.  


  • Jim Shiffrin
    Jim Shiffrin Member ✭✭
    Actually I thought of that. The balance is fine as of 1 Mar 2013, and is off by a few hundred on 1 Apr 2013, then get worse from there. I do not see anything wrong with any of the Apr 2013 transactions. I guess I can just live with it, since it's been going on for seven years now!
  • Boatnmaniac
    Boatnmaniac SuperUser ✭✭✭✭
    @Jim Shiffrin - Do you show a holding for "BANK DEPOSIT PROGRAM | MORGAN STANLEY BANK NA" in Quicken?  Since you show a cash balance in your linked checking, you should not also be seeing a holding for "BANK DEPOSIT PROGRAM | MORGAN STANLEY BANK NA: in your securities list.  It should be non-existent in your holdings.
    How the investment account cash is reported in Quicken is actually a pretty common issue.  It seems that every brokerage holds and transacts cash and then reports it to Quicken in different ways and that confuses Quicken.  In my case (with Fidelity), the cash is held in a "Core" money market fund.  Fidelity downloads that as a security holding as well as downloads that as a cash balance.  To make matters worse, cash swept into the Core fund from Dividends, Interest and other securities sells is not downloaded as a Core fund buy transaction but when I place an order for another security a Core fund sell transaction to fund the other security buy occurs.  This resulted in my account holdings in Quicken being way out of balance.  The fix for me (and as others have reported in Community) is to eliminate the Core fund or sweep security from the account holdings.  But you need to be careful in how you do that since simply deleting those transactions for that Core fund or sweep security might introduce new account balance issues if not done correctly.
    (QW Premier Subscription: R32.12 on Windows 10)
  • Jim Shiffrin
    Jim Shiffrin Member ✭✭
    No, there is no holding for BANK DEPOSIT in Quicken.
  • Boatnmaniac
    Boatnmaniac SuperUser ✭✭✭✭
    OK.  Let's look at something else.  I found a discussion that occurred in Dec 2019.  The issue sounds to me like it might be similar to what you describe.  In that case, it appears it was at least in large part caused by placeholders that were either unresolved or resolved incorrectly.  Here's the thread if you want to read it:  https://community.quicken.com/discussion/comment/20048727#Comment_20048727.
    (QW Premier Subscription: R32.12 on Windows 10)
  • Jim Shiffrin
    Jim Shiffrin Member ✭✭
    No placeholders. Thanks for helping me look into this, but please do not spend any more time on it. I've lived with the errors since 2013, and I maintain a separate spreadsheet with quarterly balances in all my accounts, using the correct cash values.
  • Boatnmaniac
    Boatnmaniac SuperUser ✭✭✭✭
    edited May 2020
    Thanks for getting back to me.  Investment accounts reconciliation/troubleshooting can sometimes be a difficult, time consuming and frustrating process.  Lord knows I've had my share of them in the past.
    I'll leave you with two final comments/suggestions: 
    • While I understand the benefit for having a linked separate checking account for investment accounts in my experience it can also make investment account balance issues troubleshooting more difficult.  If at some point you do want to spend additional time trying to troubleshoot your issue you might want to consider saving a copy of your Quicken file under a different name so you can play with the new name file and not have to be concerned with it affecting your main Quicken file.  Then in the new name file go to Account Details and check "No" for "Show cash in a checking account."  If you then find transaction issues in it, make note of them so you can later make the corrections in your main file.
    • Since you download from your broker, avoid making manual transaction entries whenever possible.  Doing both increases the risk of something going wrong.
    Good luck!
    (QW Premier Subscription: R32.12 on Windows 10)
  • Jim Shiffrin
    Jim Shiffrin Member ✭✭
    So just to see what would happen, I removed the Linked Cash accounts for my IRA's and one of my two taxable accounts. In every case, QUicken gave an error message after a long time - "This account includes transactions that cannot be automatically transferred to a linked checking account" - even though I was not transferring anything TO a linked account! In each case the new cash balance for the account was exactly double what the incorrect amount had been beforehand. Rather than dig through many years of transactions, I simply added a Buy or Sell of .001 shares of a stock I no longer hold in each of the accounts with a price that made the final cash balance exactly what Morgan Stanley says it should be.

    Now, I am reluctant to do this on my main investment account because I actually do use this account to write physical or electronic checks from time to time. I will just leave that one alone.

    Thanks again for your help.
  • Boatnmaniac
    Boatnmaniac SuperUser ✭✭✭✭
    And now you know one of the reasons why I no longer use linked checking accounts.
    (QW Premier Subscription: R32.12 on Windows 10)
  • NotACPA
    NotACPA SuperUser, Windows Beta Beta
    I use an LCA for both my taxable brokerage account and my wife's taxable brokerage account.  And they work quite well for us.  In both cases, it's our primary checking account.
    My understanding is that the ONLY way that an LCA can exist for retirement type accounts is if those account were imported from MS Money.
    SO, you might go back to the earliest creation of this account in Q and see if there's something screwy there.
    Q user since DOS version 5
    Now running Quicken Windows Subscription,  Home & Business
    Retired "Certified Information Systems Auditor" & Bank Audit VP
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