Downloading Cost Basis from Merrill Lynch

When I update my accounts from Merrill Lynch, the cost basis doesn’t seem to download correctly. Anyone else run into this or know how to fix it? Thanks for any help.

Answers

  • John_in_NC
    John_in_NC SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    Hi, Ashes:

    Cost Basis is not a value that downloads from a brokerage house. It is calculated based on the cost of all your underlying transactions for that security in your account.

    If you don't have all of your transaction history, then your cost basis will be off for the missing data. 

    If you have a placeholder such as Add Transactions at the beginning of your investment account, then you do have the ability to add the cost there for the missing lots. But, you will have to do the legwork to figure out what the basis is you must enter to make the final amount jive with what ML reports. 

    All your currently downloading transactions will have the correct basis as Quicken can see the Buys, reinvests, etc.
  • Ashes
    Ashes Member ✭✭
    Hi,
    Thanks for the reply. All my monthly statements have the cost basis in them, but are in PDF form. They do have a Quicken data download option, but it doesn’t seem to include the cost basis info in the statements. I was hoping there was some way to get that info from Merrill Lynch through a request or something that other people have tried. Figured I’d take a shot and see if I got an answer like, “Yeah, you need to file a request with Department A and fill out form B...etc.”
    I was hoping to avoid having to do everything manually, but it looks like that’s what I’m going to have to do.
  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    @Ashes  As John says, basis is a calculated value, not something that is downloaded from a financial institution to Quicken. If you have paperwork from Merrill Lynch going back to when you started tracking your accounts in Quicken, and those statements show your cost basis at that time, it may be very easy to edit the Add Shares placeholder transactions at the beginning of your Quicken history to get your basis correct in Quicken at that time -- and it should track forward correctly thereafter. 
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • Ashes
    Ashes Member ✭✭
    Yeah, I know, I have the docs with the info, but it’s for around 150 stocks with multiple dates on the cost basis. So, it’s a lot of manual work. If there was a way to auto add it from a document that would have been perfect. I’ll just have to bit the bullet and plan on spending some time to get it done.
  • John_in_NC
    John_in_NC SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    No, there isn't a way to auto add/download as Quicken doesn't import this value-it calculates based off your transx.

    I know 150 appears to be a daunting number of securities, but, I think you could knock that out in a night. You likely aren't dealing with individual lots, so I suspect you simply have to go into the opening balance Add Transactions for each security and enter the cost there. 

    You might wish to use the Basis as reported from the website versus paper statements as that will be more up to date. 

  • clip340
    clip340 Member
    Most investment firms report the number of Reinvestment Shares and the Cost Basis of those shares in a single transaction, which Quicken easily updates. However, Merrill Lynch reports the number of reinvestment shares as one transaction, and the cost of those shares (cost basis) in a second transaction. Quicken records the shares from the first transaction, but fails to add the second transaction to the Cost Basis of those shares. Thus the Cost Bases of the investment is NEVER ACCURATE IN QUICKEN.
  • Mark1104
    Mark1104 Member ✭✭✭✭
    @ashes - you may consider 'why' it is important to replicate the cost basis information in Quicken.

    if any of these securities are in IRA's, why does it matter? 
    if any of these secruities are in non-qual brokerage accounts, ML already has the information required for IRS reporting. 
    if any of these lots are from prior to 2011, those MAY BE important to determine which to sell.  But if you don't see yourself selling these for a long, long time (if ever), then you may not care either. 

    I just find that maintaing cost basis in Quicken has been a redundant  exercise since the IRS requires brokerage firms to maintain it.  Prior to 2011 that wasn't true.  
  • Ashes
    Ashes Member ✭✭
    I know why I need this which was why I was asking if anyone knew how to do this. I wasn’t asking for advice on why, but how.
  • Ashes
    Ashes Member ✭✭
    > @clip340 said:
    > Most investment firms report the number of Reinvestment Shares and the Cost Basis of those shares in a single transaction, which Quicken easily updates. However, Merrill Lynch reports the number of reinvestment shares as one transaction, and the cost of those shares (cost basis) in a second transaction. Quicken records the shares from the first transaction, but fails to add the second transaction to the Cost Basis of those shares. Thus the Cost Bases of the investment is NEVER ACCURATE IN QUICKEN.

    Yeah, unfortunately, I figure this out fairly quickly and ended up using different software to get the info I needed into the organization I had to do. It was jumping through some hoops, but it only requires about a hour or two of work once a month. It’s Merrill Lynch making life difficult for people. They do have the cost basis as both a combined shares transaction and as individual ones, but only in their pdf statements, not in any downloadable data. So, it makes it impossible to import it.
  • NotACPA
    NotACPA SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    Ashes said:
    I know why I need this which was why I was asking if anyone knew how to do this. I wasn’t asking for advice on why, but how.

    The very first reply that you received answered that ... it can't be done.
    IF you've downloaded each and every BUY, SELL and REINV transaction, then the cost basis is included in those transactions.
    If you haven't downloaded each, then your only option is manual input.
    Q user since DOS version 5
    Now running Quicken Windows Subscription, Home & Business
    Retired "Certified Information Systems Auditor" & Bank Audit VP
  • Ashes
    Ashes Member ✭✭
    > @NotACPA said:
    > The very first reply that you received answered that ... it can't be done.IF you've downloaded each and every BUY, SELL and REINV transaction, then the cost basis is included in those transactions.If you haven't downloaded each, then your only option is manual input.

    Yes and as I responded in my second reply, I acknowledge that and was hoping that someone had also this problem, contacted ML and was able to request the info in a useful data format. They could then pass the info on how to raise a request for this info. Anytime I’ve had to deal with a nontech company I’ve always found it easier to get what I need if I can tell them exactly what I need.
  • NotACPA
    NotACPA SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    What you don't seem to understand is that there's no provision in the OFX/QFX specs for downloading a cost basis value OTHER than thru a buy/reinv/etc.
    IT SIMPLY CAN'T BE DONE.
    Q user since DOS version 5
    Now running Quicken Windows Subscription, Home & Business
    Retired "Certified Information Systems Auditor" & Bank Audit VP
  • Ashes
    Ashes Member ✭✭
    > @NotACPA said:
    > What you don't seem to understand is that there's no provision in the OFX/QFX specs for downloading a cost basis value OTHER than thru a buy/reinv/etc.IT SIMPLY CAN'T BE DONE.

    What you don’t seem to understand is that this was an 8 month old question, I already accepted that Quicken won’t do what I wanted, and I moved on from Quicken to other software that did what I needed done.
    As for ML, I still wanted to see if there was a way to get the cost basis from a statement, which was available as a pdf, in another data form (even an Excel file would have worked). Answer to that, in case anyone else was wondering, you can’t as they do not allow their downloadable data to include that info. The tech people I was dealing with over there heavily implied it was a security reason for this, but wouldn’t elaborate. I used a different piece of software to get the info out of the pdf and then export what I wanted.
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