Simple transaction - partial transfer of IRA from Vanguard to T. Rowe Price - sell Vanguard fund shares on one end, wire, open new TRP fund on other end. What could possibly go wrong?
T. Rowe Price insisted on walking me through their form. So I was assured everything was good to go. Emailed it in. Three business days later(!), TRP lets me know that got the form. 2-3 more days until it faxes it to Vanguard. Vanguard promptly sells the indicated dollar amount, wires the money to TRP.
TRP sits on the wire for a day, then rejects the IRA purchase and wires the money back to Vanguard. TRP doesn't tell me this. The next business day (three business days after the VG shares were sold), I call TRP. "Oh, you were buying into a closed fund, and we don't allow that except by transferring money from another TRP account. We'll see if we can fix it without more paperwork."
On the Vanguard side, there's this money sitting in Vanguard's generic HSBC bank account and no record linking my IRA to that money. (Does Vanguard think that TRP is sending it a gift?) With the reverse wire number (that I had to ask TRP for), Vanguard is able to locate the cash. Vanguard asks me what to do with it. That's TRP's problem. I'm not going to touch IRA money that is supposed to be trustee-to-trustee.
TRP resends the IRA transfer request to Vanguard, so Vanguard sells more shares and leaves the cash (still not identified as my money) untouched. TRP gets the new proceeds, uses it to purchase a TRP MMF in my IRA, and same day transfers the cash from the MMF to the target fund. TRP never realizes that there was a double sale and the cash is still in limbo.
I notify TRP. It works with Vanguard to repurchase shares (rather than replace the number sold). Fortunately the market has gone down so I expect to wind up with more shares. Dumb luck. This was last Thursday. TRP told me it anticipated Vanguard to execute on Friday. Nothing. Finally went through yesterday.