Considering switch from Vanguard to eTrade...pros, cons and other input?

Have a question about your personal investments? No matter how simple or complex, you can ask it here.
User avatar
Topic Author
galawdawg
Posts: 1435
Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2017 12:59 pm
Location: Georgia

Considering switch from Vanguard to eTrade...pros, cons and other input?

Post by galawdawg »

Hello all,

My apologies in advance for the lengthy post!

My wife and I (newlyweds at the time) started our investing with Vanguard almost thirty years ago after hearing Jack Bogle speak and having an opportunity to meet and chat with him. We have been with Vanguard ever since and find ourselves reluctantly exploring moving our investments away from Vanguard to another provider after becoming less and less satisfied with Vanguard (the firm, not the funds).

For example, they have steadily eroded away the Flagship benefits starting with ending the availability of free/discounted tax software, dropping the annual financial plan by a CFP, discontinuing Vanguard Advantage (just months after we switched all of our banking to the Advantage account to simplify our now retired life), switching away from a dedicated Flagship representative to a "call center" type operation and finally greeting me at log-in with an annoying pop-up soliciting me to sign up for PAS only to put an obnoxious PAS banner ad at the top of the initial screen. The website has been unreliable and yesterday it took three tries and twenty minutes to finally execute a single, simple transfer of some funds from our money market to our checking account (which would have been entirely unnecessary when we had the Vanguard Advantage account).

So over the past six months, we have explored other brokerages (Fidelity, Schwab, Merrill Edge, TD Ameritrade and eTrade) looking for the ability to continue to hold Vanguard funds (mutual funds preferred), no-cost or low cost trades of those funds, a no-cost cash management account with decent interest rates, strong customer service, and a robust website for reviewing portfolio activity and smooth trouble-free execution of transactions. We are now considering moving our portfolio from Vanguard to eTrade. After doing significant online research and speaking with a local eTrade representative, here is what I understand about eTrade:
  • The Vanguard mutual funds in our portfolio (VTSAX and VBTLX) and the money market fund (VMFXX) have no transaction fees or commissions at eTrade (unlike all of the others we considered). That means we can transfer those over to eTrade in kind with no time out of the market and we can buy or sell them at no cost. If that is the case, I don't see any advantage to holding those funds at Vanguard rather than eTrade. At other brokerages, we would either pay a substantial transaction fee to buy or sell a Vanguard mutual fund OR we'd have to convert each mutual fund to the equivalent ETF at Vanguard, then transfer, then possibly pay a commission to buy or sell (at Fidelity at least). We prefer to keep VTSAX and VBTLX rather than convert to VTI and BND.
  • eTrade offers a no-cost cash management account with free online billpay, free unlimited check writing, and free ATM transactions with unlimited ATM fee refunds. While the linked sweep account has a low interest rate (.01%-.035%) they also offer a savings account with higher interest rates (1.7% currently) as well as Vanguard money market accounts (no commission, no transaction fee) where cash can be held and moved into the sweep account as needed for CMA transactions.
  • eTrade has three trading platforms (two web and one PC) and two mobile apps which are highly rated and include robust research and investment strategy tools, back testing, etc. With our portfolio size, those are all available at no-cost.
  • eTrade offers a nice account opening bonus and unlike some other brokerages, will consider the total amount transferred over (combining my IRA, my wife's IRA and our joint taxable account) to calculate the account bonus (which is $2,500 for a transfer of $1 million or more). Others offer no cash bonus or will only offer one bonus per account holder (so a bonus for me for my IRA, a bonus for my wife for her IRA and nothing for the joint account meaning about half the bonus offered by eTrade).
  • eTrade has been highly rated for customer service. I sent website inquiries to all of the brokerages we considered. A representative at eTrade answered all of my questions within an hour of my email and provided a direct phone and email for any additional questions I might have. Others either never responded, provided incomplete information or directed me to call the 800 number with questions. We made appointments to meet with representatives at local offices. The eTrade representative was the most helpful and seemed most interested in earning our business (even suggesting we only transfer over $1 million initially to get their maximum bonus then moving the rest in twelve months when we would qualify for additional bonus money).

    (The Merrill representative "forgot" about our appointment which we learned after we had already waited fifteen minutes past our appointment time! The same person who greeted us when we arrived came out to say "sorry, he went to lunch but I just reached him and he said he'd be back in about thirty minutes, can you come back?" :o My reply: "Sorry, no. If this is how you seek to earn the business of a prospective million dollar plus client, I can't imagine the service we'd get if we actually invested with you.")

In summary, I don't see any downside to holding our investments (entirely in VTSAX, VBTLX and VMFXX) at eTrade rather than Vanguard. But, having been with VG exclusively for almost thirty years, we want to be sure this is a wise move before we commit.

Can those who have experience with eTrade chime in with the good, bad or otherwise? Thoughts from others about the advisability of such a move are also appreciated!

Thanks!
Last edited by galawdawg on Tue Oct 01, 2019 4:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
bloom2708
Posts: 8263
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2014 2:08 pm
Location: Fargo, ND

Re: Considering switch from Vanguard to eTrade...pros, cons and other input?

Post by bloom2708 »

Stay with Vanguard. Don't just do something. Stand there.

If you follow some plan, you don't trade much at all. No need to. Free trades are gimmicks.

Stillness.
"We are here to provoke thoughtfulness, not agree with you." Unknown Boglehead
User avatar
Topic Author
galawdawg
Posts: 1435
Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2017 12:59 pm
Location: Georgia

Re: Considering switch from Vanguard to eTrade...pros, cons and other input?

Post by galawdawg »

bloom2708 wrote: Tue Oct 01, 2019 4:41 pm Stay with Vanguard. Don't just do something. Stand there.

If you follow some plan, you don't trade much at all. No need to. Free trades are gimmicks.

Stillness.
Thanks for your feedback. While I buy and sell "infrequently", as a retiree I do have occasion to sell from taxable when I have use for those funds for travel, home improvement, replacement vehicles, and such. I also prefer to stay "fully invested" so I do keep dividends from VTSAX in VMFXX and then transfer them out as desired. We will eventually also need to start taking RMDs which obviously involves transactions from our IRA accounts. So we do want to avoid transaction costs.

Can you elaborate on why you believe we should stay with Vanguard? Do you see shortcomings in my thought process or disadvantages to a move away from Vanguard (the firm, not the funds)?
bloom2708
Posts: 8263
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2014 2:08 pm
Location: Fargo, ND

Re: Considering switch from Vanguard to eTrade...pros, cons and other input?

Post by bloom2708 »

galawdawg wrote: Tue Oct 01, 2019 4:53 pm
bloom2708 wrote: Tue Oct 01, 2019 4:41 pm Stay with Vanguard. Don't just do something. Stand there.

If you follow some plan, you don't trade much at all. No need to. Free trades are gimmicks.

Stillness.
Thanks for your feedback. While I buy and sell "infrequently", as a retiree I do have occasion to sell from taxable when I have use for those funds for travel, home improvement, replacement vehicles, and such. I also prefer to stay "fully invested" so I do keep dividends from VTSAX in VMFXX and then transfer them out as desired. We will eventually also need to start taking RMDs which obviously involves transactions from our IRA accounts. So we do want to avoid transaction costs.

Can you elaborate on why you believe we should stay with Vanguard? Do you see shortcomings in my thought process or disadvantages to a move away from Vanguard (the firm, not the funds)?
Vanguard funds are owned by the funds. eTrade is a for profit company. They may not always offer Vanguard funds trade free. They may up fees.

I just don't see a reason to do it. If you want Vanguard funds, own them at Vanguard. Maybe others will convince me I'm wrong. If you were at eTrade I'd recommend you move to Vanguard or Fidelity or Schwab based on the funds you wanted to own.
"We are here to provoke thoughtfulness, not agree with you." Unknown Boglehead
aristotelian
Posts: 8276
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2017 8:05 pm

Re: Considering switch from Vanguard to eTrade...pros, cons and other input?

Post by aristotelian »

I have nothing against eTrade but you haven't really given a compelling reason to leave Vanguard. Their web interface isnt the best but you can do whatever you need to do. It is true, they offer few perks to make you feel special but that is part of their low cost business model.
Jack FFR1846
Posts: 12828
Joined: Tue Dec 31, 2013 7:05 am
Location: 26 miles, 385 yards west of Copley Square

Re: Considering switch from Vanguard to eTrade...pros, cons and other input?

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

My ESPPs and RSUs are through eTrade and their site is nearly as clunky as Vanguard's. 80% of it feels like marketing to me. I much prefer TDAmeritrade as the most useful site and Schwab as the easiest to navigate. Third for me is Fidelity because of its linking of accounts on one page and the ability to find all the info I'm looking for with some effort.

I left Vanguard and transferred to TDAmeritrade where I hold VTI and VEA ETFs.
Bogle: Smart Beta is stupid
123
Posts: 6532
Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2012 3:55 pm

Re: Considering switch from Vanguard to eTrade...pros, cons and other input?

Post by 123 »

The "erosion" of services at Vanguard is just a reflection of the trends toward greater automation and self-sufficiency.

We don't have a current connection to eTrade but we've had accounts there some years ago. We didn't leave because of any disadvantage there, we just wanted to consolidate at Fidelity, Schwab, and Vanguard.

I would test out life at eTrade by moving one account, perhaps a retirement account, and see how it works for you before moving everything. I'd be cautious about moving a taxable account. Before such a move be sure you have adequate documentation of the cost basis of all your holdings (covered and non-covered) in case something is disrupted in the move of taxable assets.

My main qualm with a potential move to eTrade is how long they will last as an independent broker. They won't fail but they may get absorbed/merged by another brokerage at some point and then there could be a lot of changes.
The closest helping hand is at the end of your own arm.
User avatar
Wiggums
Posts: 2960
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2019 8:02 am

Re: Considering switch from Vanguard to eTrade...pros, cons and other input?

Post by Wiggums »

Charles Schwab said Tuesday that it is ending commissions for online trading in U.S. stocks, exchange-traded funds and options, the culmination of a yearslong fee battle in the brokerage industry.

Whatever you decide, you might want to open an account with some new money or a small amount to verify that you like the user interface, customer support, etc.

I have accounts with the three big guys. There are things that I like and dislike about each. I buy and hold, so I don’t run into many issues.

If these brokers continue to lower costs (race to the bottom), I’d almost expect a merger that involves the smaller brokers just to grab customers. This is obviously pure speculation on my part.

Good luck to you.
Katietsu
Posts: 4099
Joined: Sun Sep 22, 2013 1:48 am

Re: Considering switch from Vanguard to eTrade...pros, cons and other input?

Post by Katietsu »

I think your reasoning is fine. I have not used the cash management account but have held IRA’s and brokerage accounts there. I like their mobile app a lot and don’t have a problem with their website. (I hated TD Ameritrade’s app and never got used to their website though I know others have felt differently.)

I was able to get a better rate for the sweep account through my account manager somehow. So you might ask about that.

At some point in the future your Vanguard funds could easily no longer be transaction free with E*TRADE. So you would need that this might be a temporary move. On the other hand, if it works well for you know and you are getting $2500+ for your trouble, it could still be the right choice.
Last edited by Katietsu on Tue Oct 01, 2019 6:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Pomegranate
Posts: 381
Joined: Mon Oct 01, 2018 4:42 pm

Re: Considering switch from Vanguard to eTrade...pros, cons and other input?

Post by Pomegranate »

bloom2708 wrote: Tue Oct 01, 2019 5:09 pm
galawdawg wrote: Tue Oct 01, 2019 4:53 pm
bloom2708 wrote: Tue Oct 01, 2019 4:41 pm Stay with Vanguard. Don't just do something. Stand there.

If you follow some plan, you don't trade much at all. No need to. Free trades are gimmicks.

Stillness.
Thanks for your feedback. While I buy and sell "infrequently", as a retiree I do have occasion to sell from taxable when I have use for those funds for travel, home improvement, replacement vehicles, and such. I also prefer to stay "fully invested" so I do keep dividends from VTSAX in VMFXX and then transfer them out as desired. We will eventually also need to start taking RMDs which obviously involves transactions from our IRA accounts. So we do want to avoid transaction costs.

Can you elaborate on why you believe we should stay with Vanguard? Do you see shortcomings in my thought process or disadvantages to a move away from Vanguard (the firm, not the funds)?

I just don't see a reason to do it. If you want Vanguard funds, own them at Vanguard.
Why? I own Vanguard funds through ML to get better cashback from BoA CCs :sharebeer
User avatar
bluquark
Posts: 1184
Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2018 2:30 pm

Re: Considering switch from Vanguard to eTrade...pros, cons and other input?

Post by bluquark »

123 wrote: Tue Oct 01, 2019 5:51 pm My main qualm with a potential move to eTrade is how long they will last as an independent broker. They won't fail but they may get absorbed/merged by another brokerage at some point and then there could be a lot of changes.
Agreed.

OP, the main thing that got you frustrated with Vanguard is that you adopted VanguardAdvantage at a time when it had already proven itself to be unpopular with the average Vanguard customer. (I myself considered VanguardAdvantage last year and ruled out the idea because it had a musty, unmaintained smell.) Adopting a minor platform like eTrade that clearly didn't get as popular as they hoped would be making essentially the same mistake again. If you want your financial life to be easy and well-supported, then choose popular, mainstream services.

It sounds like cash management is your main demand. I'd suggest considering Schwab for their Investor Checking service, which they are heavily investing in and promoting.
70/30 portfolio | Equity: global market weight | Bonds: 20% long-term munis - 10% LEMB
User avatar
F150HD
Posts: 3303
Joined: Fri Sep 18, 2015 7:49 pm

Re: Considering switch from Vanguard to eTrade...pros, cons and other input?

Post by F150HD »

ETrade interface is far superior for stocks, basis etc. If you're buy and hold, VG is great. If you're looking to trade actively, an ET account may be for you.
Long is the way and hard, that out of Hell leads up to light.
User avatar
Topic Author
galawdawg
Posts: 1435
Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2017 12:59 pm
Location: Georgia

Re: Considering switch from Vanguard to eTrade...pros, cons and other input?

Post by galawdawg »

Thanks all for the feedback! Here are a few follow-up questions and thoughts...
bloom2708 wrote: Tue Oct 01, 2019 5:09 pm Vanguard funds are owned by the funds. eTrade is a for profit company. They may not always offer Vanguard funds trade free. They may up fees.
Vanguard says that "As a client-owner, you own the funds that own Vanguard." So if I keep my shares of Vanguard funds but am serviced by E*Trade, rather than Vanguard Brokerage Service (VBS), don't I still accrue all the benefits of owning shares of Vanguard mutual funds (including ownership of VBS) with the added advantages of an account at E*Trade? And since VTSAX (which I hold) holds about $283,293,971 worth of E*Trade shares, should I be concerned that E*Trade is a publicly traded for profit company? I'm not arguing with what you are saying, just trying to understand how the ownership structure of E*Trade vs. Vanguard Brokerage Services should factor into my thought process.
aristotelian wrote: Tue Oct 01, 2019 5:21 pm I have nothing against eTrade but you haven't really given a compelling reason to leave Vanguard. Their web interface isnt the best but you can do whatever you need to do. It is true, they offer few perks to make you feel special but that is part of their low cost business model.
I was already writing a novel, so I didn't include all of the other customer services hiccups I've experienced over the past few years at Vanguard. For one example, we received absolutely no help from the "rollover specialists" at VG when trying to setup a TPA rollover from my wife's TIAA retirement account to VG (TIAA kept sending the wrong paperwork to us and when we reached out to VG initiate the rollover, they pretty much said we were on our own). We finally got it worked out with TIAA after several weeks time and several hours of effort. Also, now that we are retired we find that having a cash management account is important to us. Vanguard no longer offers one. Then you add in the website issues....
Jack FFR1846 wrote: Tue Oct 01, 2019 5:26 pm My ESPPs and RSUs are through eTrade and their site is nearly as clunky as Vanguard's. 80% of it feels like marketing to me....I left Vanguard and transferred to TDAmeritrade where I hold VTI and VEA ETFs.
Have you used the desktop platform, Power E*Trade, on your E*Trade account? I wonder how well that works compared to your experience with the web platform. We looked at TD Ameritrade but prefer to keep the Vanguard mutual funds so I understand we would pay a $49.99 fee for each transaction! While they did offer a %600 cash bonus, that would pay for just twelve mutual fund transactions. Hard to swallow that fee.
123 wrote: Tue Oct 01, 2019 5:51 pm ...I would test out life at eTrade by moving one account, perhaps a retirement account, and see how it works for you before moving everything...
Wiggums wrote: Tue Oct 01, 2019 5:54 pm Whatever you decide, you might want to open an account with some new money or a small amount to verify that you like the user interface, customer support, etc.
:oops: Not sure why I didn't think of that. Great idea, thanks for the suggestion of a "test drive" before I go all in...
Katietsu wrote: Tue Oct 01, 2019 6:00 pm I think your reasoning is fine. I have not used the cash management account but have held IRA’s and brokerage accounts there. I like their mobile app a lot and don’t have a problem with their website...
I was able to get a better rate for the sweep account through my account manager somehow. So you might ask about that.
At some point in the future your Vanguard funds could easily no longer be transaction free with E*TRADE. So you would need that this might be a temporary move. On the other hand, if it works well for you know and you are getting $2500+ for your trouble, it could still be the right choice.
Thanks. I'll inquire about a better rate on the sweep account as a self-directed investor (they do offer a higher rate for AUM fee clients). If I move to E*Trade and changes do come in the future, I can always move back to Vanguard, consider it a lesson learned, and enjoy the $2,500 account opening bonus (less the $75 full transfer out fee).
bluquark wrote: Tue Oct 01, 2019 6:48 pm OP, the main thing that got you frustrated with Vanguard is that you adopted VanguardAdvantage at a time when it had already proven itself to be unpopular with the average Vanguard customer...Adopting a minor platform like eTrade that clearly didn't get as popular as they hoped would be making essentially the same mistake again. If you want your financial life to be easy and well-supported, then choose popular, mainstream services.

It sounds like cash management is your main demand. I'd suggest considering Schwab for their Investor Checking service, which they are heavily investing in and promoting.
Discontinuing VanguardAdvantage was certainly the motivating factor that caused us to begin exploring a move away from Vanguard Brokerage Services. But, that came on the heels of other complaints/concerns/issues we've experienced. Fidelity and Schwab both offer very robust cash management features, but both have hefty transaction fees on Vanguard mutual funds. If I could hold those mutual funds without transaction fees, they would be the top two contenders. Perhaps I need to see if the move to zero commission trades by Schwab will make its way to transaction fees on Vanguard mutual funds. I had not really considered how well E*Trade handles their cash management accounts (I focused on the benefits and any costs) so as others have suggested, I may want to initially open an account with a modest sum and include a "trial run" of how they handle online billpay, check writing, ATM transactions and such before moving lock, stock and barrel.

Clearly, there are advantages and disadvantages with all brokerage firms and their services, fund offerings and fees. I am trying to weigh those to make a wise decision that will hopefully be borne out for the long-term. But, when I experience ongoing or serious issues with a business and the business turns a deaf ear to my concerns (as Vanguard has done), I vote with my feet. I feel as though Vanguard has gotten so large that even Flagship customers are considered insignificant to them. I got better service and had better experiences with Vanguard when I had less than $10,000 there and Jack was captain of the vessel!
bradinsky
Posts: 266
Joined: Sat Jul 21, 2018 6:32 am

Re: Considering switch from Vanguard to eTrade...pros, cons and other input?

Post by bradinsky »

Our accounts are at Schwab & we hold Vanguard funds there. If you are a buy & hold investor, and purchase funds in large amounts, say $50K, IMO the $49.95 fee is inconsequential.
User avatar
beyou
Posts: 3360
Joined: Sat Feb 27, 2010 3:57 pm
Location: Northeastern US

Re: Considering switch from Vanguard to eTrade...pros, cons and other input?

Post by beyou »

I will contradict the trend here. I have had Vanguard accounts for about 20 years and Etrade maybe 15 years, concurrently.

Vanguard was opened due to a prior employer using them for their 401k.

Etrade opened due to current employer stock plan (needed to pick from a list including Etrade, Schwab and other high cost options).

I am glad my former employer introduced me to Vanguard, what a great 401k plan they had and that was ahead of it's time, 15 years ago.
Most 401ks back then were high cost, not mine.

I am glad I chose Etrade for my current employers stock plan. No experience with Schwab, but my experience with Etrade has been
just fantastic. They have superb customer service. That said, I had been happy with Vanguard with my personal Flagship rep.
Have not had to contact either firm frequently but when I did, both gave excellent service to me (and I am a complainer by nature).

Etrade does have a great integrated cash management platform, with ATM debit card, online bill pay, checks, but of course little interest if you leave much of a balance. That was the one nice thing about Vang Advantage, but I never went for that, feeling I didn't need it and I thought it not that great to begin with. They had no free ATM unless you lived near PNC, which helped very few Vanguard customers. Etrade has a national ATM fee rebate deal. As a broker, I have had no issues, though commissions are a bit higher than my Vanguard Flagship ( mostly free at Vanguard, not free at Etrade). The recent addition of Vanguard fee free funds really makes Etrade even more attractive. You wont find alot of Etrade fans on this site, but their service is just fantastic. I would have no hesitancy to recommend them. I have thought myself about doing what you are doing, at some point.

The one comment I do agree with above, if the free fund trading is the main incentive, I would agree with the above poster, that this can change at any time. That said, if service is your main gripe, you will be happy with Etrade.
User avatar
Topic Author
galawdawg
Posts: 1435
Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2017 12:59 pm
Location: Georgia

Re: Considering switch from Vanguard to eTrade...pros, cons and other input?

Post by galawdawg »

bradinsky wrote: Tue Oct 01, 2019 7:45 pm Our accounts are at Schwab & we hold Vanguard funds there. If you are a buy & hold investor, and purchase funds in large amounts, say $50K, IMO the $49.95 fee is inconsequential.
Thanks. We're early retired, so since we are no longer in the accumulation phase, I suppose we'd be considered "hold & sell" investors! Our transactions aren't in such large amounts and it appears that if we rebalance at Schwab (for example from VTSAX to VBTLX in an IRA), we'd pay a $49.99 transaction fee to sell shares of VTSAX and another $49.99 transaction fee to buy shares of VBTLX. Even with very infrequent activity, that could quickly add up to hundreds of dollars a year. As Jack Bogle frequently said, "costs matter".
Jack FFR1846
Posts: 12828
Joined: Tue Dec 31, 2013 7:05 am
Location: 26 miles, 385 yards west of Copley Square

Re: Considering switch from Vanguard to eTrade...pros, cons and other input?

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

galawdawg wrote: Tue Oct 01, 2019 7:33 pm
Jack FFR1846 wrote: Tue Oct 01, 2019 5:26 pm My ESPPs and RSUs are through eTrade and their site is nearly as clunky as Vanguard's. 80% of it feels like marketing to me....I left Vanguard and transferred to TDAmeritrade where I hold VTI and VEA ETFs.
Have you used the desktop platform, Power E*Trade, on your E*Trade account? I wonder how well that works compared to your experience with the web platform. We looked at TD Ameritrade but prefer to keep the Vanguard mutual funds so I understand we would pay a $49.99 fee for each transaction! While they did offer a %600 cash bonus, that would pay for just twelve mutual fund transactions. Hard to swallow that fee.
I don't know what this all means. I use a laptop with monitors. I don't know what Power etrade is.

WRT TDAmeritrade, I did collect the $600 to move over about $300k.

I converted my Vanguard mutual fund to an ETF and moved it to TDAmeritrade. With the newest zero fee trade announcement, I can now buy more if I want.
Bogle: Smart Beta is stupid
User avatar
Topic Author
galawdawg
Posts: 1435
Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2017 12:59 pm
Location: Georgia

Re: Considering switch from Vanguard to eTrade...pros, cons and other input?

Post by galawdawg »

beyou wrote: Tue Oct 01, 2019 8:09 pm ...The one comment I do agree with above, if the free fund trading is the main incentive, I would agree with the above poster, that this can change at any time. That said, if service is your main gripe, you will be happy with Etrade.
Thanks for sharing your experience with E*Trade. What E*Trade platform do you use? When I worked, I did automatic investing and automatic reinvesting of dividends and I primarily used the Vanguard website to download statements and view the activity to post in Microsoft Money. However, since I retired, my activity is no longer automated as I only move funds out from VMFXX "as needed" for irregular or non-recurring expenses (my pension covers our regular living expenses) or sell shares of VTSAX and buy VMFXX to replenish our "cash" holdings, particularly during market peaks, so I can maintain our desired standard of living without having to sell shares during a down market. I also periodically rebalance in our IRA accounts to maintain something close to our current overall desired 80/20 allocation (we hold VBTLX only in our IRA accounts). So I am interested in how well E*Trade handles transactions, how smooth their platforms function and have no interest in paying transaction fees and commissions to accomplish my investing and spending objectives. So yes, free trading is a consideration but isn't causing this contemplated change as I don't pay commissions or transaction fees now.

Problems with Vanguard client service, the increasingly frequent website issues, and the elimination of virtually all of the services and benefits previously offered to Flagship members (without a corresponding reduction in expense ratios of the mutual funds) are the main issues spurring us to consider this move.
User avatar
beyou
Posts: 3360
Joined: Sat Feb 27, 2010 3:57 pm
Location: Northeastern US

Re: Considering switch from Vanguard to eTrade...pros, cons and other input?

Post by beyou »

galawdawg wrote: Tue Oct 01, 2019 8:42 pm
beyou wrote: Tue Oct 01, 2019 8:09 pm ...The one comment I do agree with above, if the free fund trading is the main incentive, I would agree with the above poster, that this can change at any time. That said, if service is your main gripe, you will be happy with Etrade.
Thanks for sharing your experience with E*Trade. What E*Trade platform do you use? When I worked, I did automatic investing and automatic reinvesting of dividends and I primarily used the Vanguard website to download statements and view the activity to post in Microsoft Money. However, since I retired, my activity is no longer automated as I only move funds out from VMFXX "as needed" for irregular or non-recurring expenses (my pension covers our regular living expenses) or sell shares of VTSAX and buy VMFXX to replenish our "cash" holdings, particularly during market peaks, so I can maintain our desired standard of living without having to sell shares during a down market. I also periodically rebalance in our IRA accounts to maintain something close to our current overall desired 80/20 allocation (we hold VBTLX only in our IRA accounts). So I am interested in how well E*Trade handles transactions, how smooth their platforms function and have no interest in paying transaction fees and commissions to accomplish my investing and spending objectives. So yes, free trading is a consideration but isn't causing this contemplated change as I don't pay commissions or transaction fees now.

Problems with Vanguard client service, the increasingly frequent website issues, and the elimination of virtually all of the services and benefits previously offered to Flagship members (without a corresponding reduction in expense ratios of the mutual funds) are the main issues spurring us to consider this move.
I stopped using Quicken and dont do a great deal of trading. The little trading I do is easy on both websites. I do see a problem on the Vanguard website tonight that is annoying (no price on stocks, no market values). I also contacted Etrade tonight about a concern, got a competent person immediately who was helpful and satisfied my concern. Contacted them maybe 3 times this year, always answer quickly and competently.

I use etrade iphone app and website, both are easy.
I find the Vanguard app terrible and deleted off my phone. Have not used Quicken in years to download, can’t comment on that for either.
Last edited by beyou on Tue Oct 01, 2019 9:02 pm, edited 2 times in total.
User avatar
Topic Author
galawdawg
Posts: 1435
Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2017 12:59 pm
Location: Georgia

Re: Considering switch from Vanguard to eTrade...pros, cons and other input?

Post by galawdawg »

Jack FFR1846 wrote: Tue Oct 01, 2019 8:20 pm
galawdawg wrote: Tue Oct 01, 2019 7:33 pm Have you used the desktop platform, Power E*Trade, on your E*Trade account? I wonder how well that works compared to your experience with the web platform....
I don't know what this all means. I use a laptop with monitors. I don't know what Power etrade is.
If I understand correctly from my online research, E*Trade has their basic web or app based platform as well as Power E*Trade (which appears to be downloadable to a PC or available online or as an app), which offers more available research, along with additional features and investing tools, such as backtesting, hat aren't available on their basic platform. it looks like Power E*Trade is only available if you have $250,000 in your account or execute thirty trades per quarter. Again, this is what I have gleaned from my research...
User avatar
beyou
Posts: 3360
Joined: Sat Feb 27, 2010 3:57 pm
Location: Northeastern US

Re: Considering switch from Vanguard to eTrade...pros, cons and other input?

Post by beyou »

If you buy and hold mutual funds you don’t need a day trader application.
User avatar
Topic Author
galawdawg
Posts: 1435
Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2017 12:59 pm
Location: Georgia

Re: Considering switch from Vanguard to eTrade...pros, cons and other input?

Post by galawdawg »

beyou wrote: Tue Oct 01, 2019 9:00 pm I stopped using Quicken and dont do a great deal of trading. The little trading I do is easy on both websites. I do see a problem on the Vanguard website tonight that is annoying (no price on stocks, no market values). I also contacted Etrade tonight about a concern, got a competent person immediately who was helpful and satisfied my concern. Contacted them maybe 3 times this year, always answer quickly and competently.

I use etrade iphone app and website, both are easy.
I find the Vanguard app terrible and deleted off my phone. Have not used Quicken in years to download, can’t comment on that for either.
I still use Microsoft Money and have since 1991. Since Microsoft ended support for MS Money in 2009, I've had to enter transactions manually (which I generally did anyway) and also update prices manually. I tried Quicken a few times and just wasn't happy with it.

It seems that Vanguard should put some of the money it has been spending on marketing (or money it has saved by cutting services and benefits) towards creating and supporting a functioning web platform instead of the current buggy one. Spending twenty minutes due to website problems to execute one very simple transaction that involves a few mouse clicks, selecting from a drop down list, entering an amount and clicking "submit" is ridiculous. I suppose I should be grateful I was able to eventually complete the transaction. :|
Thanks again for the feedback.
User avatar
beyou
Posts: 3360
Joined: Sat Feb 27, 2010 3:57 pm
Location: Northeastern US

Re: Considering switch from Vanguard to eTrade...pros, cons and other input?

Post by beyou »

Vanguard has indeed lowered the ER of most funds over the years. You will pay more for Etrade but will get better service.
GuyInFL
Posts: 320
Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2016 7:17 pm

Re: Considering switch from Vanguard to eTrade...pros, cons and other input?

Post by GuyInFL »

galawdawg wrote: Tue Oct 01, 2019 7:33 pm Have you used the desktop platform, Power E*Trade, on your E*Trade account? I wonder how well that works compared to your experience with the web platform....
I've used E*Trade for 25 years and have been satisfied. It works well with Quicken. I downloaded Power Etrade once but don't trade enough to use it. I generally use the web site for my trades. I do like the 2 factor authentication key fob.
HEDGEFUNDIE
Posts: 4801
Joined: Sun Oct 22, 2017 2:06 pm

Re: Considering switch from Vanguard to eTrade...pros, cons and other input?

Post by HEDGEFUNDIE »

bluquark wrote: Tue Oct 01, 2019 6:48 pm
123 wrote: Tue Oct 01, 2019 5:51 pm My main qualm with a potential move to eTrade is how long they will last as an independent broker. They won't fail but they may get absorbed/merged by another brokerage at some point and then there could be a lot of changes.
Agreed.

OP, the main thing that got you frustrated with Vanguard is that you adopted VanguardAdvantage at a time when it had already proven itself to be unpopular with the average Vanguard customer. (I myself considered VanguardAdvantage last year and ruled out the idea because it had a musty, unmaintained smell.) Adopting a minor platform like eTrade that clearly didn't get as popular as they hoped would be making essentially the same mistake again. If you want your financial life to be easy and well-supported, then choose popular, mainstream services.

It sounds like cash management is your main demand. I'd suggest considering Schwab for their Investor Checking service, which they are heavily investing in and promoting.
ETrade is a S&P 500 company with 5M retail accounts and $61B in assets. And it was founded in 1982, just 7 years after Vanguard.

It may or may not be the best option for OP, but "minor platform" it most definitely is not.
User avatar
Topic Author
galawdawg
Posts: 1435
Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2017 12:59 pm
Location: Georgia

Re: Considering switch from Vanguard to eTrade...pros, cons and other input?

Post by galawdawg »

beyou wrote: Tue Oct 01, 2019 9:03 pm If you buy and hold mutual funds you don’t need a day trader application.
Agree, no need for a day trader application. A well-functioning, reliable platform that executes transactions properly and smoothly, correctly displays portfolio holdings and account activity, enables easy download of confirmation and statements, and that is fairly easy to navigate is what I require. Any other "bells and whistles" are optional! I wondered whether a downloadable stand-alone application provided a better experience than what another poster shared about their experience with the E*Trade website.
Last edited by galawdawg on Tue Oct 01, 2019 9:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Nate79
Posts: 6543
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2016 6:24 pm
Location: Delaware

Re: Considering switch from Vanguard to eTrade...pros, cons and other input?

Post by Nate79 »

I would leave Vanguard in a heartbeat because that's what we did, moving mostly to Schwab but also etrade to get a bonus. Very happy with the move and would do it again if needed.
ARoseByAnyOtherName
Posts: 1000
Joined: Wed Apr 26, 2017 12:03 am

Re: Considering switch from Vanguard to eTrade...pros, cons and other input?

Post by ARoseByAnyOtherName »

I think your reasoning and analysis of the situation is very solid. I don’t at all understand those who slavishly choose to not understand your points or who parrot “stay the course”. I encourage you to take the advice of the poster who suggested opening a set of E*TRADE accounts with a small amount of money as a trial. Nothing like experiencing it for yourself!

I would recommend Fidelity to you (I am a longtime happy Private Client customer) if you held Vanguard ETFs instead of mutual funds, or were interested in converting the funds into ETF (if such a thing is even possible, I’m not sure).

I have an E*TRADE account due to my workplace and it seems fine to me. I use it for limited selling, transferring money out, and scooping up relevant tax documents and other paperwork. It works fine for those uses, no complaints.

Best of luck!
User avatar
Topic Author
galawdawg
Posts: 1435
Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2017 12:59 pm
Location: Georgia

Re: Considering switch from Vanguard to eTrade...pros, cons and other input?

Post by galawdawg »

beyou wrote: Tue Oct 01, 2019 9:18 pm You will pay more for Etrade but will get better service.
If I keep my current Vanguard mutual fund holdings, which I understand currently have no transaction fees and no commissions at E*Trade, in what way will I pay more? Am I overlooking or misunderstanding some E*Trade fees? Thanks!
Ferdinand2014
Posts: 1741
Joined: Mon Dec 17, 2018 6:49 pm

Re: Considering switch from Vanguard to eTrade...pros, cons and other input?

Post by Ferdinand2014 »

galawdawg wrote: Tue Oct 01, 2019 4:27 pm Hello all,

My apologies in advance for the lengthy post!

My wife and I (newlyweds at the time) started our investing with Vanguard almost thirty years ago after hearing Jack Bogle speak and having an opportunity to meet and chat with him. We have been with Vanguard ever since and find ourselves reluctantly exploring moving our investments away from Vanguard to another provider after becoming less and less satisfied with Vanguard (the firm, not the funds).

For example, they have steadily eroded away the Flagship benefits starting with ending the availability of free/discounted tax software, dropping the annual financial plan by a CFP, discontinuing Vanguard Advantage (just months after we switched all of our banking to the Advantage account to simplify our now retired life), switching away from a dedicated Flagship representative to a "call center" type operation and finally greeting me at log-in with an annoying pop-up soliciting me to sign up for PAS only to put an obnoxious PAS banner ad at the top of the initial screen. The website has been unreliable and yesterday it took three tries and twenty minutes to finally execute a single, simple transfer of some funds from our money market to our checking account (which would have been entirely unnecessary when we had the Vanguard Advantage account).

So over the past six months, we have explored other brokerages (Fidelity, Schwab, Merrill Edge, TD Ameritrade and eTrade) looking for the ability to continue to hold Vanguard funds (mutual funds preferred), no-cost or low cost trades of those funds, a no-cost cash management account with decent interest rates, strong customer service, and a robust website for reviewing portfolio activity and smooth trouble-free execution of transactions. We are now considering moving our portfolio from Vanguard to eTrade. After doing significant online research and speaking with a local eTrade representative, here is what I understand about eTrade:
  • The Vanguard mutual funds in our portfolio (VTSAX and VBTLX) and the money market fund (VMFXX) have no transaction fees or commissions at eTrade (unlike all of the others we considered). That means we can transfer those over to eTrade in kind with no time out of the market and we can buy or sell them at no cost. If that is the case, I don't see any advantage to holding those funds at Vanguard rather than eTrade. At other brokerages, we would either pay a substantial transaction fee to buy or sell a Vanguard mutual fund OR we'd have to convert each mutual fund to the equivalent ETF at Vanguard, then transfer, then possibly pay a commission to buy or sell (at Fidelity at least). We prefer to keep VTSAX and VBTLX rather than convert to VTI and BND.
  • eTrade offers a no-cost cash management account with free online billpay, free unlimited check writing, and free ATM transactions with unlimited ATM fee refunds. While the linked sweep account has a low interest rate (.01%-.035%) they also offer a savings account with higher interest rates (1.7% currently) as well as Vanguard money market accounts (no commission, no transaction fee) where cash can be held and moved into the sweep account as needed for CMA transactions.
  • eTrade has three trading platforms (two web and one PC) and two mobile apps which are highly rated and include robust research and investment strategy tools, back testing, etc. With our portfolio size, those are all available at no-cost.
  • eTrade offers a nice account opening bonus and unlike some other brokerages, will consider the total amount transferred over (combining my IRA, my wife's IRA and our joint taxable account) to calculate the account bonus (which is $2,500 for a transfer of $1 million or more). Others offer no cash bonus or will only offer one bonus per account holder (so a bonus for me for my IRA, a bonus for my wife for her IRA and nothing for the joint account meaning about half the bonus offered by eTrade).
  • eTrade has been highly rated for customer service. I sent website inquiries to all of the brokerages we considered. A representative at eTrade answered all of my questions within an hour of my email and provided a direct phone and email for any additional questions I might have. Others either never responded, provided incomplete information or directed me to call the 800 number with questions. We made appointments to meet with representatives at local offices. The eTrade representative was the most helpful and seemed most interested in earning our business (even suggesting we only transfer over $1 million initially to get their maximum bonus then moving the rest in twelve months when we would qualify for additional bonus money).

    (The Merrill representative "forgot" about our appointment which we learned after we had already waited fifteen minutes past our appointment time! The same person who greeted us when we arrived came out to say "sorry, he went to lunch but I just reached him and he said he'd be back in about thirty minutes, can you come back?" :o My reply: "Sorry, no. If this is how you seek to earn the business of a prospective million dollar plus client, I can't imagine the service we'd get if we actually invested with you.")

In summary, I don't see any downside to holding our investments (entirely in VTSAX, VBTLX and VMFXX) at eTrade rather than Vanguard. But, having been with VG exclusively for almost thirty years, we want to be sure this is a wise move before we commit.

Can those who have experience with eTrade chime in with the good, bad or otherwise? Thoughts from others about the advisability of such a move are also appreciated!

Thanks!
I believe Fidelity would charge $75 for purchases, but would be free for redemption, rebalance and reinvesting dividends. It may be free with a transfer in kind. Call the customer service number. They are available 24/7 and are usually very helpful. I have had Fidelity for 21 years and have been very happy with there customer service and products.
“You only find out who is swimming naked when the tide goes out.“ — Warren Buffett
User avatar
Topic Author
galawdawg
Posts: 1435
Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2017 12:59 pm
Location: Georgia

Re: Considering switch from Vanguard to eTrade...pros, cons and other input?

Post by galawdawg »

Ferdinand2014 wrote: Tue Oct 01, 2019 9:51 pm I believe Fidelity would charge $75 for purchases, but would be free for redemption, rebalance and reinvesting dividends. It may be free with a transfer in kind. Call the customer service number. They are available 24/7 and are usually very helpful. I have had Fidelity for 21 years and have been very happy with there customer service and products.

Thanks! It appears from the fee schedule (https://www.fidelity.com/bin-public/060 ... hedule.pdf) that you are correct about no transaction fees on our mutual fund holdings when shares are sold. I'll call Fidelity tomorrow and check on fees involved in rebalancing (which would seem to logically apply to the purchase component of the rebalance, but perhaps not) and confirm on having no fee to sell and for transfer in-kind from VG. If indeed there are no fees involving in the transfer or in rebalancing between VTSAX and VBTLX, that would make a difference.
User avatar
beyou
Posts: 3360
Joined: Sat Feb 27, 2010 3:57 pm
Location: Northeastern US

Re: Considering switch from Vanguard to eTrade...pros, cons and other input?

Post by beyou »

galawdawg wrote: Tue Oct 01, 2019 9:46 pm
beyou wrote: Tue Oct 01, 2019 9:18 pm You will pay more for Etrade but will get better service.
If I keep my current Vanguard mutual fund holdings, which I understand currently have no transaction fees and no commissions at E*Trade, in what way will I pay more? Am I overlooking or misunderstanding some E*Trade fees? Thanks!
No interest on cash. High rates on Vanguard mmkt funds as your sweep. For now many funds are no trans fee, but the list changes over time. Will always be free to trade Vanguard funds at Vanguard. All Vanguard funds are free at Vanguard, SOME are currently free at Etrade. If you ever change your mind on etf, Vanguard is cheaper. If you will keep little in cash, no major costs, but as you used Vang Advantage, usually that means cash balances.

Personally I am happy to have both, and can easily transfer cash back and forth as needed, electronically.
If I consolidated, would have a tough time picking which one.
baliktad
Posts: 86
Joined: Sun Mar 26, 2017 12:13 pm

Re: Considering switch from Vanguard to eTrade...pros, cons and other input?

Post by baliktad »

galawdawg wrote: Tue Oct 01, 2019 10:08 pm
Ferdinand2014 wrote: Tue Oct 01, 2019 9:51 pm I believe Fidelity would charge $75 for purchases, but would be free for redemption, rebalance and reinvesting dividends. It may be free with a transfer in kind. Call the customer service number. They are available 24/7 and are usually very helpful. I have had Fidelity for 21 years and have been very happy with there customer service and products.

Thanks! It appears from the fee schedule (https://www.fidelity.com/bin-public/060 ... hedule.pdf) that you are correct about no transaction fees on our mutual fund holdings when shares are sold. I'll call Fidelity tomorrow and check on fees involved in rebalancing (which would seem to logically apply to the purchase component of the rebalance, but perhaps not) and confirm on having no fee to sell and for transfer in-kind from VG. If indeed there are no fees involving in the transfer or in rebalancing between VTSAX and VBTLX, that would make a difference.
I performed a similar transfer in-kind to Fidelity. The short version is:

- transfer into Fidelity is free
- selling is Free
- reinvesting dividends is free
- buying (adding more money to the mutual fund position) costs $75 per transaction, however, if you arrange for an automatic investment to occur, the cost is only $5 to buy. Automatic investments are only available for funds which you already hold at Fidelity, so once you transfer the V* funds to Fidelity, you can buy more for $5 by scheduling in advance.

There is no such thing as a rebalancing transaction. There is only selling and buying. If your rebalancing requires selling one position and buying another, that is 2 separate transactions, with costs as per above.
usagi
Posts: 273
Joined: Wed Jun 05, 2019 1:08 am

Re: Considering switch from Vanguard to eTrade...pros, cons and other input?

Post by usagi »

I applaud your decision to leave Vanguard. I have never experienced such 4th rate customer service and incompetence before. They are at the absolute bottom of any financial firm I have dealt with in the 38 years I have been investing. One caveat, I am only flagship so maybe the service is better when you have over 5 million with them?

I have nothing against E-trade and no experience with them. However I would not get to hung up on Vanguard funds, several places now have lower cost offerings and you can sell that at Fido for free.

I just wanted to mention, if you went with Fidelity you would get either an assigned Rep who is a CFP (I have had the same one for 9 years now) from a local office and would come in as Private Client(higher level CSRs for remote work. My experience has been the service is stellar. You are also higher in the queue for calls and on-line chat. Maybe that is worth something to you, maybe it is not. Generally if you ask, your assigned rep can give you free trades. I suspect with Schwab eliminating commissions that Fido will follow. And my gut tells me E-trade will merge eventually as consolidation will happen due to the need for economies of scale.

Good luck, I think you are making a wise decision. In my opinion the problem with Vanguard is its endemic culture: they view customer interactions a an expense they must minimize.
User avatar
Topic Author
galawdawg
Posts: 1435
Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2017 12:59 pm
Location: Georgia

Re: Considering switch from Vanguard to eTrade...pros, cons and other input?

Post by galawdawg »

baliktad wrote: Tue Oct 01, 2019 11:43 pm I performed a similar transfer in-kind to Fidelity. The short version is:

- transfer into Fidelity is free
- selling is Free
- reinvesting dividends is free
- buying (adding more money to the mutual fund position) costs $75 per transaction, however, if you arrange for an automatic investment to occur, the cost is only $5 to buy. Automatic investments are only available for funds which you already hold at Fidelity, so once you transfer the V* funds to Fidelity, you can buy more for $5 by scheduling in advance.

There is no such thing as a rebalancing transaction. There is only selling and buying. If your rebalancing requires selling one position and buying another, that is 2 separate transactions, with costs as per above.
Yes, as I suspected and confirmed with Fidelity this morning, there is a cost to rebalance between VTSAX and VBTLX but only when the appropriate shares are purchased. I may want to consider Fidelity again as I could substitute the equivalent Fidelity index funds as appropriate when rebalancing to avoid the purchase transaction fee but otherwise keep the Vanguard funds. Except as needed to rebalance, I don't anticipate making many purchases. Additional food for thought!

Thanks.
Direwolf14
Posts: 47
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2018 1:40 pm

Re: Considering switch from Vanguard to eTrade...pros, cons and other input?

Post by Direwolf14 »

galawdawg wrote: Wed Oct 02, 2019 7:33 am
baliktad wrote: Tue Oct 01, 2019 11:43 pm I performed a similar transfer in-kind to Fidelity. The short version is:

- transfer into Fidelity is free
- selling is Free
- reinvesting dividends is free
- buying (adding more money to the mutual fund position) costs $75 per transaction, however, if you arrange for an automatic investment to occur, the cost is only $5 to buy. Automatic investments are only available for funds which you already hold at Fidelity, so once you transfer the V* funds to Fidelity, you can buy more for $5 by scheduling in advance.

There is no such thing as a rebalancing transaction. There is only selling and buying. If your rebalancing requires selling one position and buying another, that is 2 separate transactions, with costs as per above.
Yes, as I suspected and confirmed with Fidelity this morning, there is a cost to rebalance between VTSAX and VBTLX but only when the appropriate shares are purchased. I may want to consider Fidelity again as I could substitute the equivalent Fidelity index funds as appropriate when rebalancing to avoid the purchase transaction fee but otherwise keep the Vanguard funds. Except as needed to rebalance, I don't anticipate making many purchases. Additional food for thought!

Thanks.
Schwab is also free to redeem all mutual funds and the purchase fee is $49.95 for non-NTF funds. However, many posters have stated that Schwab will allow one family of non-NTF funds to be purchased for free for account balances greater than 250k. I cannot personally confirm that statement, but it couldn't hurt to ask a Schwab rep. Vanguard mutual funds do have a 3pm order cutoff time at Schwab, though. Personally, I converted all stock funds to ETF's before leaving Vanguard, but I did keep the bonds as mutual funds.
User avatar
beyou
Posts: 3360
Joined: Sat Feb 27, 2010 3:57 pm
Location: Northeastern US

Re: Considering switch from Vanguard to eTrade...pros, cons and other input?

Post by beyou »

Now that Etrade has free etf/stock trading, the move looks even better. Can use some st bond fund instead of leave cash, and trade in/out all you want !
User avatar
beyou
Posts: 3360
Joined: Sat Feb 27, 2010 3:57 pm
Location: Northeastern US

Re: Considering switch from Vanguard to eTrade...pros, cons and other input?

Post by beyou »

Looking at the free NTF Vanguard funds, some Admiral, some Investor shares at higher er, most missing. One of my key funds in taxable etrade has investor and i have admiral. Not sure if they will take a transfer and if they did, would be costly to sell/rebalance. No etf equivalent (state muni). So while I LOVE etrade customer service it would cost me to move. If I could go all ETF, then etrade would make great sense, since now commission free.

Note these firms will hound you, Etrade included, to buy managed account services at higher fees, but Vang is doing that now. Difference, popup adds at Vang, phone calls from Etrade. I dont answer their 1-2 x/year phone calls.
penumbra
Posts: 311
Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2007 2:42 am

Re: Considering switch from Vanguard to eTrade...pros, cons and other input?

Post by penumbra »

usagi wrote: Wed Oct 02, 2019 2:01 am I applaud your decision to leave Vanguard. I have never experienced such 4th rate customer service and incompetence before. They are at the absolute bottom of any financial firm I have dealt with in the 38 years I have been investing. One caveat, I am only flagship so maybe the service is better when you have over 5 million with them?

I'm Flagship Select: no difference in customer experience.
Fidelity has been stellar over decades of experience. Can't think of a bad thing to say. Just wonderful!!!
usagi
Posts: 273
Joined: Wed Jun 05, 2019 1:08 am

Re: Considering switch from Vanguard to eTrade...pros, cons and other input?

Post by usagi »

penumbra wrote: Wed Oct 02, 2019 11:52 pm
usagi wrote: Wed Oct 02, 2019 2:01 am I applaud your decision to leave Vanguard. I have never experienced such 4th rate customer service and incompetence before. They are at the absolute bottom of any financial firm I have dealt with in the 38 years I have been investing. One caveat, I am only flagship so maybe the service is better when you have over 5 million with them?

I'm Flagship Select: no difference in customer experience.
Fidelity has been stellar over decades of experience. Can't think of a bad thing to say. Just wonderful!!!
I'll just say, "Flagship Select", in my eyes that is an accomplishment, sort of at the outer limit of what a working stiff can hope to accumulate with a live below your means and invest the different philosophy. Impressive.
WorldWanderer
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Apr 18, 2019 3:40 pm

Re: Considering switch from Vanguard to eTrade...pros, cons and other input?

Post by WorldWanderer »

As a buy and hold investor (fire) I would not have any concern about going to Etrade. I transferred a $1m account from Vanguard to E-Trade. They had advertised a $3,000 bonus, but I was surprised that they had a short-term bonus for $4k available. If you have this type of account balance simply call them first, as they are open to negotiation for new clients. (This required a 12-month commitment, which is no big deal to me). Best wishes.
World Wanderer
User avatar
Topic Author
galawdawg
Posts: 1435
Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2017 12:59 pm
Location: Georgia

Re: Considering switch from Vanguard to eTrade...pros, cons and other input?

Post by galawdawg »

Thanks again all for the feedback!

I reached out to Vanguard earlier this week to inquire whether there is any plan in the short or long term to offer cash management features, to express my disappointment with the recent website glitches and to convey that I have no desire to see the large Vanguard PAS banner ad that began appearing again EVERY TIME I log in. Once again, I have to scroll down below the ad to see any of my account information.

Image

I received a curt reply almost forty-eight hours later that "At this time, Vanguard has no plans to add a Cash Management Account to our investment options" and "We apologize for any inconvenience you may have experienced during this transitional period. Please know that your feedback is important to Vanguard, and I have forwarded your thoughts to the appropriate area." I can't help but wonder if the "appropriate area" is the deleted messages folder!

On the other hand, the folks at the E*Trade local branch have been responsive with replies to my emailed inquiries usually within an hour or two and a phone call to the direct line is either answered promptly or I receive a returned call within an hour. Fidelity did provide responsive information when I called the other day, but I had to jump through some hoops on their menu system. So far, the folks at E*Trade have been the best at demonstrating that they want to earn my business.

I'm going to open an E*Trade account and initially fund it with a modest amount to give the features a try. Their website and mobile app both seem to be easier to navigate and more robust that the Vanguard website and mobile app. Since I can buy, hold and sell Vanguard mutual funds (and ETFs) at no cost at E*Trade with the added benefit of cash management features and a $2,500 initial cash bonus if I move over $1 million (and the possibility of another $1,200 bonus if I later move over another $500k or more), I don't see any downside to E*Trade at this point. I'll update the post periodically after the trial run and again if I fully transition so that others can have the benefit of my experiences, good, bad or otherwise!
User avatar
Topic Author
galawdawg
Posts: 1435
Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2017 12:59 pm
Location: Georgia

Re: Considering switch from Vanguard to eTrade...pros, cons and other input?

Post by galawdawg »

WorldWanderer wrote: Thu Oct 03, 2019 7:49 am As a buy and hold investor (fire) I would not have any concern about going to Etrade. I transferred a $1m account from Vanguard to E-Trade. They had advertised a $3,000 bonus, but I was surprised that they had a short-term bonus for $4k available. If you have this type of account balance simply call them first, as they are open to negotiation for new clients. (This required a 12-month commitment, which is no big deal to me). Best wishes.
World Wanderer
Thanks! How long ago did they offer you that cash bonus? I'll check when I meet with them (which will be in about two weeks due to my travel schedule) to see if they can "sweeten the pot".

Even if we have to move our portfolio in two stages to maximize our bonus, that doesn't present a problem and would probably be best. We need to keep my wife's IRA at Vanguard open for a few months anyway since she gets a TIAA rollover TPA every January into her Vanguard IRA. We can set up a different receiving brokerage with TIAA for future TPA rollovers, but given the issues we had setting up the TPA rollover initially, I'd want to confirm that the January TPA rollover is received by E*Trade and not Vanguard before we close out the Vanguard account. I can only imagine the problems we would experience if we closed her IRA at Vanguard only to have TIAA try to send the rollover funds to that closed account... :shock:
Nowizard
Posts: 3062
Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2007 5:33 pm

Re: Considering switch from Vanguard to eTrade...pros, cons and other input?

Post by Nowizard »

If satisfied with the investment results, determine whether your dissatisfaction is primarily with changes in perks that have been eliminated over time or significant difficulty with real-time trades or other actions. If the former, you might well have experienced similar changes over thirty years with any company, and you will experience at least occasional hiccups with a new one. We asked the same questions and decided to stay.

Tim
WorldWanderer
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Apr 18, 2019 3:40 pm

Re: Considering switch from Vanguard to eTrade...pros, cons and other input?

Post by WorldWanderer »

galawdawg wrote: Thu Oct 03, 2019 8:16 am
WorldWanderer wrote: Thu Oct 03, 2019 7:49 am As a buy and hold investor (fire) I would not have any concern about going to Etrade. I transferred a $1m account from Vanguard to E-Trade. They had advertised a $3,000 bonus, but I was surprised that they had a short-term bonus for $4k available. If you have this type of account balance simply call them first, as they are open to negotiation for new clients. (This required a 12-month commitment, which is no big deal to me). Best wishes.
World Wanderer
Thanks! How long ago did they offer you that cash bonus? I'll check when I meet with them (which will be in about two weeks due to my travel schedule) to see if they can "sweeten the pot".

Even if we have to move our portfolio in two stages to maximize our bonus, that doesn't present a problem and would probably be best. We need to keep my wife's IRA at Vanguard open for a few months anyway since she gets a TIAA rollover TPA every January into her Vanguard IRA. We can set up a different receiving brokerage with TIAA for future TPA rollovers, but given the issues we had setting up the TPA rollover initially, I'd want to confirm that the January TPA rollover is received by E*Trade and not Vanguard before we close out the Vanguard account. I can only imagine the problems we would experience if we closed her IRA at Vanguard only to have TIAA try to send the rollover funds to that closed account... :shock:
$4k bonus was in May. I received another offer August 1 for an additional $3k for another like transfer. PM me if you'd like the contact info.
World Wanderer
User avatar
colodane
Posts: 86
Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2018 11:32 pm

Re: Considering switch from Vanguard to eTrade...pros, cons and other input?

Post by colodane »

10 or 20 years ago, eTrade was a viable option for active traders in individual stocks. I was there and did that and got the Tee Shirt.

As I've aged (matured?), I no longer hold individual stocks and seldom change my holdings. Any changes to my portfolio I make now are cost-free at Vanguard.

Take this for what it's worth, but I would suggest celebrating the investment selection and fee structures that are now available at Vanguard and other low-cost institutions.
User avatar
HanSolo
Posts: 138
Joined: Thu Jul 19, 2012 3:18 am

Re: Considering switch from Vanguard to eTrade...pros, cons and other input?

Post by HanSolo »

beyou wrote: Tue Oct 01, 2019 8:09 pm Etrade has a national ATM fee rebate deal.
Schwab has one that's fee-free worldwide, so that's good if you travel internationally. But I don't suppose you'll get a hefty sign-up bonus.
123 wrote: Tue Oct 01, 2019 5:51 pm My main qualm with a potential move to eTrade is how long they will last as an independent broker. They won't fail but they may get absorbed/merged by another brokerage at some point and then there could be a lot of changes.
Wiggums wrote: Tue Oct 01, 2019 5:54 pm Charles Schwab said Tuesday that it is ending commissions for online trading in U.S. stocks, exchange-traded funds and options, the culmination of a yearslong fee battle in the brokerage industry.

...

If these brokers continue to lower costs (race to the bottom), I’d almost expect a merger that involves the smaller brokers just to grab customers. This is obviously pure speculation on my part.
Some analyst is already speculating as much (the possibility of Etrade getting acquired, possibly by TD):
https://www.barrons.com/articles/what-z ... 1570127193

My perception is that customer service and website operations are going downhill pretty much everywhere nowadays, especially as companies get bigger (Citi comes to mind here). If there's still any company that gets it right, well, enjoy it while it lasts.

I've been with Vanguard a long time and will probably stay, at least because I like a lot of funds that probably won't transport well (Wellesley Income, etc.). And I'm fairly confident that Vanguard is the least likely place to impose adverse fee structures (now and in the future) for owning Vanguard mutual funds.

I also had Vanguard Advantage but didn't use it all that much (mainly just automatic monthly credit card bill payment). So my plan is to keep Vanguard for investments, and transfer funds to a bank account as needed (well in advance of the actual need, ideally). That means I shouldn't need to use Vanguard customer service, or even the website, all that often.

Good luck with whatever you decide.
User avatar
beyou
Posts: 3360
Joined: Sat Feb 27, 2010 3:57 pm
Location: Northeastern US

Re: Considering switch from Vanguard to eTrade...pros, cons and other input?

Post by beyou »

I agree with comment about cust scv in general,
Citi among the worst. But etrade continues to give me excellent service with a tiny acct (most of assets at Vanguard).
Holden42
Posts: 17
Joined: Sun Oct 20, 2019 9:49 am

Re: Considering switch from Vanguard to eTrade...pros, cons and other input?

Post by Holden42 »

I'm considering the same move, Vanguard over to Etrade to hold ETFs, funds, plus open also a cash management account at Etrade. For what it's worth, I've used the Etrade platform and have been a customer for 10+ years and have been very happy. Stocks, options, ESPP, IRA. Now with $0 trade commissions, not sure of reason to stay with Vanguard.
mortfree
Posts: 2447
Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2016 7:06 pm

Re: Considering switch from Vanguard to eTrade...pros, cons and other input?

Post by mortfree »

E*Trade will email you offers to sign up for their managed investment program. Free for a certain period of time.

Maybe if you access vanguard or E*Trade via an app you won’t be bombarded with ads. That’s how I typically access my accounts.

I have investments with both of these companies as well as Fidelity.
Post Reply