Tuesday, July 8, 2008

ACAS: New(ish) Name, Old Symbol

Here's a serious non-event.

I called my broker curious about this line on my online account summary where it said I had a bunch of shares of some outfit going by the symbol "N/A". I thought hey, that's pretty clever. I mean, with all the irrelevant crap you see on the news these days, N/A has got to be the bull play of the century.


It turns out that American Capital Strategies Ltd. is renaming itself American Capital Ltd. and changing its CUSIP while leaving its ticker the same,[1] so TD Ameritrade predicts its online service will continue to botch its claims about my account contents for about a week. So the account value on the summary page, and the daily change summaries, and all that stuff will be out of date as options expirations approaches Friday. Maybe the database engineers should work out how to do failover back to the old CUSIP to catch it as it changes and not lose accurate account reports.

This isn't the first time TD Ameritrade's records have been scrambled on the back-end. Through a relationship with CCH Inc., TD Ameritrade™ offers a feature with the optimistic name GainsKeeper® -- a relationship that apparently causes your January 2009 call options with a strike price of 250 to become call options with a strike price of 320 when the symbol converts from a LEAP to a regular short-term options symbol. For the record, I never bought January 320 Mastercard calls. I have 250s, and a single Hail-Mary 350 contract bought with part of the profits from an earlier options position exit. GainsKeeper lies.

So basically I can't trust the reports generated by TD Ameritrade for anything serious like taxes. I have to rely on my own records, which sadly TD Ameritrade hasn't obsoleted.

[1] You read it here first!!

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