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Any Experience? - Vanguard Customer Service When Transferring Accounts from Large Brokerage Firm

Posted: Mon Aug 06, 2018 9:21 am
by DarrenJF
Hi - first time user here. Thanks in advance to everyone here for any help / advice. Im considering moving all my accounts from Northwestern Mutual to Vanguard. My recent research has revealed some poor reviews regarding the customer service at Vanguard when trying to transfer accounts from other brokerage firms. Does anyone here have any advice to smooth the process, or any recent experience in this matter. Thank you. Darren.

Re: Any Experience? - Vanguard Customer Service When Transferring Accounts from Large Brokerage Firm

Posted: Mon Aug 06, 2018 12:10 pm
by Housedoc
I qualified for flagship at VG when I moved to them. I was assigned a rep for the transfer and was kept up to date on each step. No problems. This was about 4yrs ago. No complaints still. I am not a heavy trader so while some say VG website lacking, I have been satisfied with exchanges and limit orders.

Re: Any Experience? - Vanguard Customer Service When Transferring Accounts from Large Brokerage Firm

Posted: Mon Aug 06, 2018 12:11 pm
by David Jay
I don't know the particular issues in the reviews you may have read, but a few thoughts:

1. Always work with the brokerage that is receiving your transfer. They are the motivated party (i.e. They want your assets!). The other brokerage, not so much.

2. Have printed statements of the accounts in front of you when you call. There may be issues about transfers "in-kind", etc. Having the actual fund names and account descriptions in front of you can be very helpful, especially if there are multiple accounts (taxable, Roth, Rollover, etc.)

Re: Any Experience? - Vanguard Customer Service When Transferring Accounts from Large Brokerage Firm

Posted: Mon Aug 06, 2018 12:28 pm
by cadreamer2015
I transferred mid 6 figures from Merrill Edge to Vanguard about a year ago. It was a transfer in kind of a Vanguard fund. I dealt with my Vanguard Flagship rep who handed me off to the person who set up the transfer. No problems at all. So I’d start off with talking with someone at Vanguard.

Re: Any Experience? - Vanguard Customer Service When Transferring Accounts from Large Brokerage Firm

Posted: Mon Aug 06, 2018 12:31 pm
by daheld
I transferred a Rollover IRA and Roth IRA from Fidelity to Vanguard probably 4 years ago. Since then, I've gotten married and my wife have opened a joint brokerage account and use Vanguard Personal Adviser Services. No complaints here about any of it.

Re: Any Experience? - Vanguard Customer Service When Transferring Accounts from Large Brokerage Firm

Posted: Mon Aug 06, 2018 12:31 pm
by jpohio
I transferred my assets from Merrill Lynch to VG about 1 1/2 years ago. Had multiple IRA’s, taxable accounts and two trusts. Worked with a rep, was kept informed every step of the way, and process was completed flawlessly.

Re: Any Experience? - Vanguard Customer Service When Transferring Accounts from Large Brokerage Firm

Posted: Mon Aug 06, 2018 1:02 pm
by mhalley
Remember that no company is perfect and occasional mistakes happen. This is a mostly vanguard oriented forum, so you will see mostly vanguard posts. If you google schwab sucks or fidelity sucks tda sucks etc etc you will see plenty of bad reviews of those brokerages. Also remember that people are more likely to post negative experiences than positive ones. My last transfer to Vanguard was over 20 years ago and went perfectly and I continue to be a satisfied customer.

Re: Any Experience? - Vanguard Customer Service When Transferring Accounts from Large Brokerage Firm

Posted: Mon Aug 06, 2018 1:47 pm
by AllieTB1323
I moved inherited cash from Hartford to Vanguard. Vanguard said it would take two to four weeks. From start to finish the transfer took ten days. It helped I had an existing VG taxable account, time, and a fax machine. :D

Re: Any Experience? - Vanguard Customer Service When Transferring Accounts from Large Brokerage Firm

Posted: Mon Aug 06, 2018 2:04 pm
by BigJohn
I moved an account from Wells to VG about a year ago without issue. Agree with comments above about how to make sure it goes smoothly. I'd add that sending them a secure email on their site (not from your personal email account) in advance with an attached pdf of the account statement may ease the process as well. When I talked to the person assigned, he/she had already looked it over and was ready to talk about what could and could not transfer in-kind.

Re: Any Experience? - Vanguard Customer Service When Transferring Accounts from Large Brokerage Firm

Posted: Mon Aug 06, 2018 2:13 pm
by mindboggling
A couple of years ago I had a Roth IRA at Vanguard. I transferred it to Fidelity based on stories I heard about poor customer service at Vanguard. Recently, I transferred it back to Vanguard in the interest of simplicity (most of my life savings are with Vanguard). I was able to do it completely online without talking to a Vanguard rep at all. No problems whatsoever. But as another poster has said, have the firm receiving the funds pull them. Fidelity did charge me $50 to close the account. I understand this policy may have changed recently. Bad timing...story of my life.

Re: Any Experience? - Vanguard Customer Service When Transferring Accounts from Large Brokerage Firm

Posted: Mon Aug 06, 2018 2:15 pm
by El Greco
It took 6 weeks to move a small Roth Ira from Janus to Vanguard. This was about a year ago. I could not transfer funds in kind, so I had to go to cash, and money stayed out of the market for 6 weeks while Vanguard dithered around making the transfer. It took several phone calls and emails to straighten things out, plus I had to go to a cooperating bank to get a Medallion signature. In contrast, I transferred my wife's Janus Roth IRA in kind to Fidelity. It took less than 48 hours. Your experience may vary.

Re: Any Experience? - Vanguard Customer Service When Transferring Accounts from Large Brokerage Firm

Posted: Mon Aug 06, 2018 2:24 pm
by tomd37
How does the role Northwestern Mutual come into play here? While Vanguard will "pull" the funds, Northwestern Mutual has to process that request and I would think their action (or inaction) could delay an otherwise quick transfer. Some people might think Vanguard was at fault if there is a delay.

Re: Any Experience? - Vanguard Customer Service When Transferring Accounts from Large Brokerage Firm

Posted: Mon Aug 06, 2018 2:45 pm
by David Jay
DarrenJF wrote:
Mon Aug 06, 2018 9:21 am
Vanguard Customer Service When Transferring Accounts from Large Brokerage Firm
Just as an observation, Vanguard has 50 times the AUM of Northwestern (5 trillion versus 100 billion).

In fact, just one fund, Vanguard Total Stock index fund (including all share classes) is 7 times larger than all assets at Northwestern.

Re: Any Experience? - Vanguard Customer Service When Transferring Accounts from Large Brokerage Firm

Posted: Mon Aug 06, 2018 3:18 pm
by bloom2708
In the past 3 months I helped my parents move north of $1.2 million from EJ to Vanguard.

We were assigned a flagship rep. We worked with him on 2-3 different occasions. The first call went through each account and check assets for transfer ability. We identified accounts or assets that would not transfer.

We then typed a letter with clear/firm instructions to sell and had my parents sign. The previous advisor called to confirm and talk them out of it. My parents were firm and referred to the letter. It made it easy for them to stay the course. You may not need this. My parents needed mechanisms to assist with parting from their advisor who would scold them at times. (He was "very, very disappointed...")

Once the assets were liquidated we then initiated all the transfers. It took about 1 week for the items to show up. The cost basis followed a few days later. One additional transfer from a few accounts happened after some interest/dividends hit EJ.

We re-invested funds that were liquidated and have been matching gains and losses to slowly simplify the mess that was created. The goal is to get down to 1 to 3 funds max in each account.

Overall Vanguard was top notch. They are already saving $800/month in Advisory fees and higher expense ratios. I have some additional funds to sell with gains, but we are waiting until 2019 to split the gain harvesting up.

Have good information about each account and take notes. It will go just fine and you will be very happy with the results.

Re: Any Experience? - Vanguard Customer Service When Transferring Accounts from Large Brokerage Firm

Posted: Mon Aug 06, 2018 3:34 pm
by GerryL
As with any significant transaction:
Keep notes of who you speak with, dates, what they tell you.
Repeat to rep what you understand (what you wrote down) to make sure you are both in agreement as to what was said.
You likely will not have any problems, but the notes will help just in case something doesn't go according to plan.

And as someone already noted: Initiate the transfer with the receiving firm, in this case Vanguard.

I have on 3 occasions had large sums transferred from employer accounts at Fidelity to Vanguard. Fidelity would not transfer the $$ directly to VG; they would only send me a check made out to my VG IRA and I had to mail the check to VG. The first time, the VG rep offered me a FedEx pre-paid envelope to forward the check. The next 2 times they didn't offer, but I asked and was sent the prepaid envelopes. All 3 transfers went smoothly, although it is very unnerving to see your originating account reduced to nothing while you wait for a check to show up in your mail box and finally the $$ appear in the VG account.

Re: Any Experience? - Vanguard Customer Service When Transferring Accounts from Large Brokerage Firm

Posted: Mon Aug 06, 2018 3:42 pm
by nasrullah
DarrenJF wrote:
Mon Aug 06, 2018 9:21 am
Hi - first time user here. Thanks in advance to everyone here for any help / advice. Im considering moving all my accounts from Northwestern Mutual to Vanguard. My recent research has revealed some poor reviews regarding the customer service at Vanguard when trying to transfer accounts from other brokerage firms. Does anyone here have any advice to smooth the process, or any recent experience in this matter. Thank you. Darren.
I moved to Vanguard earlier this year - specifically transfer from Wealthfront with hundreds of holdings. The process itself was straightforward and I had no issues with cost basis information coming across properly. My only complaint for the process was the lack of certainty around the timeline. Admittedly nothing that Vanguard was in control of, I just found the communication around this less than I would have liked.

Re: Any Experience? - Vanguard Customer Service When Transferring Accounts from Large Brokerage Firm

Posted: Mon Aug 06, 2018 4:02 pm
by bertilak
I have transferred MANY accounts to Vanguard as I moved my several accounts there and periodically took over management of various older relatives' investment accounts. There were brokerage accounts, IRAs (traditional, Roth and inherited) and a trust. Some of this involved odd-ball assets (e.g. non-traded REITS, mortgage backed securities, MLPs).

I always dealt with Vanguard and only involved the originating institution at Vanguard's direction (three-way phone calls set up by Vanguard).

There were never any problems.

Re: Any Experience? - Vanguard Customer Service When Transferring Accounts from Large Brokerage Firm

Posted: Mon Aug 06, 2018 4:31 pm
by bondsr4me
As part of my goal to simplify, earlier today I started a full ACAT from Schwab to Vanguard of my IRA and my wife’s IRA.

Both ACAT’s were done online at VG.

The estimated time for completion is 5 to 7 days.

I’ll advise when completed.

I still have a taxable brokerage account at Schwab.

I’ll do that next.

Don

Re: Any Experience? - Vanguard Customer Service When Transferring Accounts from Large Brokerage Firm

Posted: Mon Aug 06, 2018 7:09 pm
by DarrenJF
Housedoc wrote:
Mon Aug 06, 2018 12:10 pm
I qualified for flagship at VG when I moved to them. I was assigned a rep for the transfer and was kept up to date on each step. No problems. This was about 4yrs ago. No complaints still. I am not a heavy trader so while some say VG website lacking, I have been satisfied with exchanges and limit orders.
Thank you! This is very helpful. Are flagship services free even if you are not using VG advisory services? Example - you are buying and managing your own holdings.....is so what services come with the flagship qualification? I think I will qualify for flagship status Thank you.

Re: Any Experience? - Vanguard Customer Service When Transferring Accounts from Large Brokerage Firm

Posted: Mon Aug 06, 2018 11:52 pm
by Eagle33
DarrenJF wrote:
Mon Aug 06, 2018 7:09 pm
Are flagship services free even if you are not using VG advisory services? Example - you are buying and managing your own holdings.....is so what services come with the flagship qualification? I think I will qualify for flagship status Thank you.
See summary of benefits for each $ level at this link.
https://investor.vanguard.com/investing ... t-a-glance

Levels are based on total VG funds. I moved from Voyager to Flagship after the transfer, but VG assigned Flagship transfer specialist rep to oversee my transfer. I was later assigned my Flagship Representative.