[GNC] Trial Balance Issue with Fund Merger

Lisa Rowell lisa.gives.in at gmail.com
Wed Sep 1 08:27:34 EDT 2021

On 8/31/2021 9:41 PM, John Ralls wrote:
>> On Aug 31, 2021, at 8:32 PM, Lisa Rowell <lisa.gives.in at gmail.com> wrote:
>> I'm working my way through my account history after a massive GnuCash import, straightening out issues with missing realized capital gains/losses and came across an event that I can't figure out how to properly handle.
>> I held shares of a fund called Spartan 500 Index Investor Class (FSMKX) which merged with Spartan US Equity Index Investor Class (FUSEX) at some odd rate around 1:0.513. When I did the import, I ended up with an account for FSMKX and an account for FUSEX and a manually entered exchange transaction which did a sell of FSMKX shares and a buy of FUSEX shares with no share price. This got everything balanced out as far as share counts go, but now I'm finding it's showing up as being not correct in the Trial Balance. It looks to me like the exchange is being interpreted as if an actual sell event had taken place.
>> Can GnuCash properly account for this? The case in the manual's More Complex Merger example is a bit different because the example stock continued to trade under the same symbol, so that solution doesn't map well. I found a past mailing list thread that said that the proper way to account for this is as a sell transaction of the going away fund and a buy transaction of the fund that lives on with an accompanying Realized Gain transaction. This doesn't seem right to me though since I didn't sell the shares and did not realize a gain and I don't even have prices for the time of the merger. In my way of looking at it, the gain calculation should come at the time of sale and be based on purchase price of the various share amounts, and not at the time of the merger, since that maps to the tax view of things where I live.
>> I understand that GnuCash wouldn't be able to calculate the realized gains post merger, and I'm ok with doing that in a  side spreadsheet, but am more looking for a way around the bogus realized gain entry at the time of merger just to make the Trial Balance happy.
> If you're not too compulsive and since this is presumably ancient history in a personal book one simple way to deal with it would be to pretend that you bought the FUSEX in the first place and ignore the FSMKX, but that might be a little painful if you have a bunch of reinvested FSMKX dividend transactions that you'd also need to change.
> I've handled similar situations in the past by doing a simple transfer transaction between the two accounts, as in CR FSMKX 513 and DR FUSEX 1000. As long as there's no currency component to the transaction it shouldn't create a trading imbalance in the book currency.
> Regards,
> John Ralls

That solution was what worked for me for share transfers between 
brokerages, where the commodity was the same, but when I changed 
commodities it somehow shows up as a mismatch in the Trial Balance. I 
don't have a share price for the shares in either split so, in theory it 
shouldn't involve the book currency at all. I don't get it at all.

I'm sure it's this transaction since the balances match on the previous 
day and the only other transaction on this date is a paycheck deposit in 
the book currency that's no where near the amount of the imbalance. The 
transaction is in the image attached, that's what you're advocating, right?


Lisa R.

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