For the past several years I've purchased a savings bond and some stock for my son for his birthday and for Christmas.
Perhaps a year ago the Bureau of the Public Debt stopped issuing paper savings bonds; new bonds are now just electrons on a computer somewhere. I decided to stop purchasing bonds and put that additional money towards stocks.
I bank with Major California Bank. It used to be that I could go online, transfer money from my account to my son's savings account, and then transfer that same sum from his savings account to his brokerage account, from which I would purchase stock. Then, a couple years ago, they put a new hitch in the process--I couldn't transfer the money from his savings to his brokerage account online, I had to call them and they would conduct that transfer. Odd and inefficient, but not exceedingly difficult.
My son's birthday is coming up so yesterday I called MCB to transfer the money to his brokerage account. They said they couldn't do that, the accounts aren't the "right type". After much discussion, I was able to understand their bottom line--due to types of accounts my son's accounts are, as well as the types mine are, there is no possible way at this time to put money into his brokerage account. At all. It would take both of us going into a branch and filling out a form in order to turn his savings account into the type that would then allow us to transfer money from there into his brokerage account.
MCB was kind enough to email me this form in response to my complaint, but they didn't answer my question: what has changed, and why? Why can I no longer do what I used to be able to do? Why is there no way to put money into his brokerage account today?
So now it's no savings bonds or stock. Silver prices have plummeted recently, I think I'll go spend that money on silver bullion.
Update, 7/11/13: After a couple emails with the bank I've learned that it *isn't* a new law mandating this, it's the bank's own "compliance department". Attorneys sit around just thinking up crap like this.