Advice needed regarding changing Vanguard Flagship rep

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mkc
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Advice needed regarding changing Vanguard Flagship rep

Post by mkc » Tue Aug 13, 2013 5:42 pm

We've been VG Voyager Select clients for over 15 years, moved some other funds to them some months ago and reached Flagship status. Our assigned rep was quite helpful, had a pretty substantial career working in the finance industry, and we were satisfied with her.

Today we received an e-mail that we have a new Flagship rep, the prior one having moved on from Vanguard. No issue with that, but simple LinkedIn research shows our new rep has very little experience in the financial industry (or really any for that matter, 2009 graduate, worked at the mall and at a bar/restaurant prior to joining Vanguard 2 years ago). We don't see this as a good fit for us; we prefer someone with a stronger financial services background. (Quite frankly, I'm surprised as I would not expect such an inexperienced person to be handling Flagship clients)

Has anyone initiated a Flagship rep change from their end? If so, we would appreciate insight into the best way to approach this with Vanguard.

Michelle

tibbitts
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Re: Advice needed regarding changing Vanguard Flagship rep

Post by tibbitts » Tue Aug 13, 2013 6:08 pm

All you have to do is ask. If you want, I'll email my rep and ask him to swap with yours. I have absolutely no knowledge of my rep's background, and I don't think I've ever contacted him, or his predecessor, so certainly no complaints about him.

Just out of curiosity, a 2009 graduate with what degree, from where?

Paul

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William4u
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Re: Advice needed regarding changing Vanguard Flagship rep

Post by William4u » Tue Aug 13, 2013 7:07 pm

It is easy to get another rep. Just ask.

livesoft
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Re: Advice needed regarding changing Vanguard Flagship rep

Post by livesoft » Tue Aug 13, 2013 7:13 pm

How many folks have requested a CV or resumé showing the qualifications of their flagship rep?
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Boglenaut
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Re: Advice needed regarding changing Vanguard Flagship rep

Post by Boglenaut » Tue Aug 13, 2013 7:31 pm

Are you sure the LinkedIn guy is your new rep?

mkc
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Re: Advice needed regarding changing Vanguard Flagship rep

Post by mkc » Tue Aug 13, 2013 8:22 pm

Boglenaut wrote:Are you sure the LinkedIn guy is your new rep?


Yes - the name/Vanguard info on her profile matches.

tibbitts wrote:Just out of curiosity, a 2009 graduate with what degree, from where?


BA Government from a small, liberal arts college.

I know as a Boglehead we aren't using our Flagship rep for financial guidance, but I did the web search to get a feel for her background and was surprised that she has so little experience. Maybe it's lack of understanding on my part. It certainly could be - I've managed all our investing myself since our initial meetings with an employer-provided PWC advisor 15 years ago (who helped me set us up as essentially Bogleheads back then). I had expected a Flagship rep to have had more (some) background/years in the financial industry (and at Vanguard), so I was surprised by all this.

Do I misunderstand the role of a Flagship rep? Our previous rep had close to 15 years in some form of financial industry role and I was comfortable discussing our financial situation, goals, etc. with her. I don't feel the same way with the new person.

Thanks for the continued insight,

Michelle

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Re: Advice needed regarding changing Vanguard Flagship rep

Post by livesoft » Tue Aug 13, 2013 8:26 pm

I understand what you are writing. How can I talk to someone about saving for children's college and withdrawals from an IRA if they are only just out of college, have no kids, and are years away from withdrawing from an IRA? They might have the book smarts and know what their other clients are doing, but I just don't know.
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Rushmore
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Re: Advice needed regarding changing Vanguard Flagship rep

Post by Rushmore » Tue Aug 13, 2013 8:31 pm

Couple of observations:

1. Vanguard has lots and lots of Flagship clients. It's really not that special a status at Vanguard, without diminishing your financial achievement of $1M, of course. As a result, unhappily, Vanguard does not have a "Seal Team 6" set of reps to deal with Flagship clients.

2. Vanguard has been growing like crazy. When money is flying in the door, the firm simply has to throw bodies -- often young, inexperienced ones -- to keep the trains running on time.

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SpringMan
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Re: Advice needed regarding changing Vanguard Flagship rep

Post by SpringMan » Tue Aug 13, 2013 8:40 pm

Financial advice is usually provided by a Vanguard Certified Financial Planner, not your Flagship rep. Your Flagship rep can coordinate and facilitate but does not give deep dive advice. I would give him/her a chance before requesting a change.
Best Wishes, SpringMan

tibbitts
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Re: Advice needed regarding changing Vanguard Flagship rep

Post by tibbitts » Tue Aug 13, 2013 9:17 pm

I think that a couple of years experience at VG is probably sufficient to help customers navigate the VG "system", which is probably what reps are supposed to do: basically connect you with resources that can serve your needs or solve your problems. So, not knowing the specific person involved, I'd be satisfied with a 2009 college grad who'd been with VG for two years.

I'd even be ok with that person as a planner, although it's unlikely someone with that background would have had an opportunity to complete the CFP requirements yet, so they'd probably not be in that position. Everybody has to start somewhere.

Paul

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joe8d
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Re: Advice needed regarding changing Vanguard Flagship rep

Post by joe8d » Tue Aug 13, 2013 9:22 pm

Rushmore wrote:Couple of observations:

1. Vanguard has lots and lots of Flagship clients. It's really not that special a status at Vanguard, without diminishing your financial achievement of $1M, of course. As a result, unhappily, Vanguard does not have a "Seal Team 6" set of reps to deal with Flagship clients.

2. Vanguard has been growing like crazy. When money is flying in the door, the firm simply has to throw bodies -- often young, inexperienced ones -- to keep the trains running on time.


Yes, They probably work from a standized "FAQ" list.
All the Best, | Joe

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Mel Lindauer
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Re: Advice needed regarding changing Vanguard Flagship rep

Post by Mel Lindauer » Tue Aug 13, 2013 9:48 pm

You're just as likely to talk to my Flagship Rep or any of the others when you call. If your rep is busy, the call goes into the pool where the next available rep handles your call. I had one excellent rep for many years before she retired, but I rarely spoke to her because the pool reps handled my situation whenever she was busy or on vacation. As others have pointed out, they're not there to give financial advice, but rather to facilitate your needs.
Best Regards - Mel | | Semper Fi

JD
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Re: Advice needed regarding changing Vanguard Flagship rep

Post by JD » Tue Aug 13, 2013 9:55 pm

We started moving some of our assets to Vanguard around 2008 and last year we did qualify to the “Flagship” status. I contacted Vanguard rep to inquire about something that was not related to flagship status but during the conversation, I mentioned that we do qualify for that status and the rep said that she will put some request to move us higher ☺
2 or 3 days latter we were flagship member! We had about 2 calls from our rep; he left his name and number in the answer machine and he followed up with two emails.

To this date, we did not respond to him and we have no idea about his credentials and years of experience. That does not mean we know it all but at this time, we see no need to ask him for anything. However, we may in the future decide to contact him and if we do, it will be by email.

lwfitzge
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Re: Advice needed regarding changing Vanguard Flagship rep

Post by lwfitzge » Tue Aug 13, 2013 10:03 pm

I view my flagship rep simply as customer service rep ( not a financial expert/advisor) assigned to a more focused pool of clients to provide a higher service level or a "sense" of greater exclusivity (yep, think marketing, not finance). The CFP is for financial advice.

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Re: Advice needed regarding changing Vanguard Flagship rep

Post by jon-nyc » Wed Aug 14, 2013 1:07 am

If my experience is typical, just wait 6 months and they'll swap her out.

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kramer
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Re: Advice needed regarding changing Vanguard Flagship rep

Post by kramer » Wed Aug 14, 2013 3:25 am

Talking to my rep is pretty much a once-in-a-decade event.

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Sheepdog
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Re: Advice needed regarding changing Vanguard Flagship rep

Post by Sheepdog » Wed Aug 14, 2013 6:04 am

Out of curiosity. How often and why does someone need to talk a rep? I never talk to anyone, well almost never, and that is when someone has called me. If I need special information or have a problem, which is no more than once or twice a year, if that, it is handled by secure email.
People should not say everything they think. They should think about everything they say.

slick_dealer_05
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Re: Advice needed regarding changing Vanguard Flagship rep

Post by slick_dealer_05 » Wed Aug 14, 2013 6:29 am

OP, What do you do with your rep? How often do you talk to them?
Do you also check the linkedin profiles of your air hostesses when you fly business class?

You make it sound as if you are going out on a date with your Flagship rep !

In the past 5 years, I have spoken with my Flagship rep once.
I don't care who is my rep as I can manage almost everything about my account from my web browser.

lwfitzge
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Re: Advice needed regarding changing Vanguard Flagship rep

Post by lwfitzge » Wed Aug 14, 2013 6:32 am

Sheepdog wrote:Out of curiosity. How often and why does someone need to talk a rep? I never talk to anyone, well almost never, and that is when someone has called me. If I need special information or have a problem, which is no more than once or twice a year, if that, it is handled by secure email.


I have used my rep twice in last 2 yrs - for help rolling over old 401ks.

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Dan-Fl
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Re: Advice needed regarding changing Vanguard Flagship rep

Post by Dan-Fl » Wed Aug 14, 2013 7:28 am

Morning All,
I agree with Mel Completely. Rep can't and shouldn't give financial advise. That is not what this person can or should do for you at Vanguard. He/She just helps with the glitches that happen with all the things we do within our accounts. Generally, these folks are good at this and if they can't accomplish my needs refer me to someone who can. Sometimes, they just listen to complaints and try to calms the waters.
Dan-Fl
Last edited by Dan-Fl on Wed Aug 14, 2013 8:27 am, edited 1 time in total.

mkc
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Re: Advice needed regarding changing Vanguard Flagship rep

Post by mkc » Wed Aug 14, 2013 8:03 am

Thanks everyone for clarifying the role of a Flagship rep. I believe our initial call with our previous (first) rep may have lead to our confusion over the role, since she went over her qualifications/experience with us and led a fairly in-depth discussion of our financial mindset and goals. We also had a number of communications (both phone and e-mail) since we were moving several tax-deferred accounts to VG and going through our first VG CFP financial plan. From the responses here I now understand more of the actual function of a Flagship rep and what we should expect.

neoptolemus412
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Re: Advice needed regarding changing Vanguard Flagship rep

Post by neoptolemus412 » Wed Aug 14, 2013 8:38 am

VG's business strategy entails keeping costs at a minimum. Wonder how they continually beat industry ERs for index/mutual funds? It's not magic. They operate their corporate structure at cost. The main cost being human capital. It's not a secret they pay on the lower spectrum of the industry & do not offer high level advisory fees to retail investors. They offer low cost mutual funds, index funds, & ETFs that don't require a ton of explanation. It's one of the few downsides of investing with them on the retail side. The fundamental belief of index investing is investors do not need the cost of an advisor to give them stock tips or make major decisions. This is the trade-off one pays for low ERs.

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