• A Step-by-Step Guide For My AST Transfer

    Here’s what happened when I finally decided to transfer my shares to AST.

    It’s important to note that in this post, I’ll be referring to the company as AST. However, they’ve recently changed their name to EQUINITI TRUST COMPANY (EQ), which can be a bit confusing.

    I haven’t been a big fan of E-trade. Especially since they seem to owe me $8,555,865 for my shares that were “Too Late To Cancel,” which, in E-trade’s own words, means the trades executed.

    I struggled with whether I should transfer my shares to AST for months. But the plea from Next Bridge pushed me in the direction of sending them over.

    Just for the record, I have $MMTLP in 3 accounts. My main account was an individual brokerage account at E-trade. This account has now been transfered to AST.

    The second account is a traditional IRA, also at E-trade. Due to the complexities of transferring, this account remains with E-trade at this point.

    For full disclosure, I also have a small amount of shares at Fidelity. They wanted $100 to transfer these shares, so while I intend to do so at some point, I have not done so yet.

    However, I wanted to update the community on my somewhat pleasant experience transferring my shares and how quickly it occurred.

    On April 18, 2024 I called the e-Trade corporate actions telephone number. I do not recommend using the regular number, as in the past, I had been put on endless hold, and the people on the line knew little about Next Bridge or even transferring shares. You end up waiting and being transferred many times when you dial the regular customer service number.

    I spoke to a representative named Robert from the Corporate Action team. After verifying my account, he began to tell me how I could easily initiate the AST transfer online. He did verify with someone that Next Bridge shares were not DRS eligible and I would have to go the paper certificate route.

    I’ve heard some people have successfully gotten the shares DRS’ed (sent electronically), but both my calls with AST and E-Trade said it wasn’t possible. I didn’t want to fight with them and just decided to initiate the transfer as they suggested.

    Community Member BlackWaxFireAxe had posted these handy screenshots in the E-trade DM Group, so it was easy to follow along with what Robert requested I do on the call.

    While these online steps could technically prevent you from having to call E-trade, I had questions about timing, cost, etc., so I decided to phone in.

    The first step is to navigate to the proper menu item:

    Accounts >> Documents >> Forms & Applications

    Request a Stock Certificate >> Submit Online

    Select Account

    Enter Share Amount, Preview and Submit

    That’s it! It was pretty easy. Once this form was submitted, I inquired how I could check on the status of the request. I was told to go to “Customer Service” and then select Message Center to check on the transfer.

    Immediately after submitting, you could check this and see that it was listed as “In Process”.

    One note though, my shares have been transferred for weeks now and it still lists as “In Process” so I am unsure how accurate this indicator is.

    I was also advised by Robert that there would be a $60 fee for the transfer. I accepted that, and they deducted the fee from my account just a few days later.

    I was also told that the paper certificate could take a month or more to arrive and that it would be sent via Fedex Overnight mail, so I could watch out for it.
    Twelve days later, I received my paper certificate from FedEx overnight mail. I was surprised at how quickly it arrived.

    The next step was to get the certificate to AST, so I called them one final time for instructions. This time, when I called, their phone system asked for my social security number, which I punched in.

    Surprisingly, it identified me as a shareholder of Next Bridge and read off my share amount. This made me feel pretty good, knowing that they already knew about my shares. Apparently, the e-Trade transfer initiates some communication with AST.

    When I was able to speak to a Representative at AST, I asked again about the process of mailing in my certificate. She pretty much told me I didn’t have to send it in unless I wanted my shares in “Book Entry Form.” Since that was my goal, I continued to ask my questions.

    I was given the address to send everything to, plus the information I needed to send along with it. I was specifically instructed NOT to sign the back of the certificate and to make a copy of it for myself. I was told that if it was lost in the mail, it could be replaced but it would have been a hassle.

    But this is where I was stopped in place. I had to wait even more.

    The next thing I needed to do was wait until I had an official AST account set up. While I had the certificate from E-trade, there was still no AST account number available to tie it to. The representative initiated a process that later had me receive a physical postal letter from AST that included my all-important account number.

    About a week and a half later, the AST correspondence arrived, complete with my new AST account number. I now had everything I needed to send in my share certificate.

    When sending my certificate, I included a signed letter with my request. Much of the wording for this letter is courtesy of community member Heidi who shared similar text in the E-trade DM group. I copied/pasted and adjusted my message to the below request.

    I sent this letter, along with the physical stock certificate via 2-day Federal Express.

    And because I had an account number from their correspondence, I could now login to the AST website.

    Please note that their site has many different logins. If you try with some of them, you are unable to set up your account. The account you need to create is called “Shareholder Central,” and the login page is here.

    You’ll need to choose “First Time Registration” if you are just setting up your account.

    Before you send in your certificate, and after you’ve completed your initial registration, you’ll notice that your shares are marked as Certificate Shares.

    Once AST received my share certificate via FedEx, probably a few days later, that designation changed to the all-important “Book Shares,” which is what you want.

    And that was it. I was done. My shares from my Individual Brokerage account at E-trade are now officially at AST in book entry form at AST. Hopefully this extra step helps out NBH with their sharecount, or will possibly even give me additional shares of NewCo through the Next Bridge dividend, if that ever gets approved.

    You should receive a postal letter from AST to confirm their receipt of your share certificate.

    It looks like AST will also be sending monthly statements as well.

    I’m still figuring out what to do with my smaller amount of shares at Fidelity, which carries are hefty $100 fee. Plus I have IRA shares I need to figure out.

    But hopefully this guide helped you whether you are at E-trade with your shares or not.

    Ultimately, the decision to transfer shares rests with you. However, it’s worth noting that Next Bridge and Greg McCabe, whose advice I trust, are strongly advocating for this move within the community.

    —- Krucial Mix