Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

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tspill
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Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by tspill » Wed Jul 29, 2020 11:25 am

Hi All,

New poster here, so thank you for the consideration. I did review previous posts that were similar so sorry for the duplication if any.

My issue is this: lately (last 12-24 months) Vanguard's service has really deteriorated to the point of causing me to want to leave. I've been at Vanguard for close to 30 years and have virtually all my assets there (IRAs, after tax, etc.) for me, my wife and our joint accounts.

I used to have a designated representative that I could call but they discontinued that option. Regardless, the last couple of people I had were completely useless. I've called for many simple items that you can't do online (e.g., international wire transfer) and had it take days and days to get done correctly.

Recently, I converted all my mutual fund accounts to brokerage accounts at Vanguard's suggestion (mainly because they discontinued mobile check deposits without notice). They completely fouled that up and I lost check writing privileges and my linked banks didn't transfer. I've been trying to fix these issues for weeks and it has me completely pissed.

I got one mea culpa email from an executive liaison who said everything is fixed but call me. I checked and nothing was fixed and she never returned my call. I asked for a Vanguard executive to call me and was told that ain't going to happen.

So, question is this -- who has a good platform I can move to that doesn't charge fees and will get basic service items done efficiently??? I don't need investment advice but I do need service capabilities, good online platform, no cost funds/other options, etc.

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Misenplace
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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by Misenplace » Wed Jul 29, 2020 12:16 pm

Fidelity, Merrill Edge, and Schwab are repeatedly mentioned around here.

I only have experience with Fidelity- their platform is OK. Not a fan of their funds, even their low/no cost funds. Recommend negotiating free trades so you can access VG ETFs.
Here is a thread that might be useful The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by crefwatch » Wed Jul 29, 2020 12:20 pm

I consider Fidelity to be a higher-cost provider than Vanguard. But they do have a lot of branch offices, where you could file POAs and do other things that work better in person. All companies are trying to shave personnel costs. I'd expect Fidelity service to decline over the years as well. I forget the exact number, but something like 97% of Vanguard transactions are completed online. There's a reason for that.

And when it comes down to speaking to a person, sometimes it doesn't help. When I complained about inability to get Vanguard to buy a failed stock (bought by my late mother in law, not by ME!) for $1, they just told me, No, we won't do it. Not even for Voyager.

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Chrono Triggered
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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by Chrono Triggered » Wed Jul 29, 2020 12:25 pm

If you're thinking about Fidelity, give this thread a whirl: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=266538&hilit=overdraft

rich126
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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by rich126 » Wed Jul 29, 2020 12:35 pm

All companies have good/bad days but I plan to move everything out of Vanguard in the near future. I don't see any need for their mutual funds and with the large number of (low cost) ETFs out there (by Vanguard and others) there is no need to be tied to a broker (except in cases with employer's 401Ks).

I've had good experiences with Fidelity and TD. No recent experience with Schwab. If you are doing bill paying, etc. I'd probably recommend Fidelity.

Personally i think Vanguard is struggling to figure out their future. Low cost and zero trade has been copied by most companies, ETFs have mostly rendered mutual funds pointless, and most others have equal, if not better customer service, and other features. I know every time I go to make a stock trade, it seems like the interface is from 20 years ago.

For stocks and stuff I actually prefer TD Ameritrade over Fidelity but it may be due to using it longer.

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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Wed Jul 29, 2020 12:37 pm

Fidelity, eTrade, Merrill Edge, TDAmeritrade, Schwab.
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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by retiredjg » Wed Jul 29, 2020 12:45 pm

If I were going to leave Vanguard, I would go to Fidelity.

I like mutual funds and they have choices that are very close to the Vanguard mutual funds I have. Schwabs mutual fund lineup is weak. I'm not familiar with the others.

Or I'd pay up front and buy a couple of Vanguard mutual funds at Fido - which I think is $50 or $75 each. Last I checked there was no charge for selling Vanguard funds (making withdrawals), only for buying.

rixer
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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by rixer » Wed Jul 29, 2020 12:50 pm

I have been with Schwab for many years. Their customer support has always been top notch and you get a personal consultant that you can always talk to.

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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by Chip » Wed Jul 29, 2020 12:51 pm

I've been at Fidelity for many years. I buy Vanguard ETFs there. Those trades are free. I'm happy with the customer service.

Fidelity would not be a good choice if you own Vanguard mutual funds that don't have an ETF equivalent and you plan to buy more of them, as regular Vanguard funds have a $50 or $75 purchase fee.

I'm also not sure if you can still transfer Admiral shares to Fidelity. You could 10+ years ago but that might have changed.

Vanguard's money market fund rates are generally higher than Fidelity's.

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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by sycamore » Wed Jul 29, 2020 12:51 pm

tspill wrote:
Wed Jul 29, 2020 11:25 am
...
So, question is this -- who has a good platform I can move to that doesn't charge fees and will get basic service items done efficiently??? I don't need investment advice but I do need service capabilities, good online platform, no cost funds/other options, etc.
tspill, welcome to the forum.

There are several big brokerages to consider: Fidelity, E*Trade (being bought by Morgan Stanley), Merrill Edge, Schwab, TD Ameritrade (currently being acquired by Schwab), Interactive Brokers. Also, banks like Chase and Ally offer brokerage accounts.

There are also newer firms like Robinhood and M1 Finance.

I have experience with Fidelity, Schwab, and Merrill Edge. They're all good enough for me. Are they perfect? No. Will their customer service make an egregious mistake someday? It's certainly possible; search around bogleheads.org and you'll see many examples.

Some firms are better than others at delivering useful mobile apps.

My question to you is what do you include in "basic service items" ? IMO, all of the firms let you do "basic" service things online (buy/sell investments, setup new accounts, check statements, get tax forms, etc.) There is a learning curve to climb if you want to be efficient with their website user interface.

Most of those firms let you trade stocks and ETFs with no-commission. Mutual fund trading is different. Some offer free mutual-fund trading of their own funds (Vanguard mutual funds for free at Vanguard, ditto for Fidelity funds at Fidelity, and Schwab funds at Schwab). A few firms have a "No Transaction Fee" supermarket with funds from other providers, usually not including Vanguard funds. If there are specific mutual funds you want with no fees, you'll need to go to each firm and find out.

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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by goodenyou » Wed Jul 29, 2020 12:55 pm

I have Vanguard, Fidelity and Schwab. I like them all for different reasons. Schwab would fit the bill for what you are looking for. Their customer service is excellent. But, then again, I have had no problems with Vanguard.
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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by 02nz » Wed Jul 29, 2020 1:10 pm

tspill wrote:
Wed Jul 29, 2020 11:25 am
So, question is this -- who has a good platform I can move to that doesn't charge fees and will get basic service items done efficiently??? I don't need investment advice but I do need service capabilities, good online platform, no cost funds/other options, etc.
In my experience with Merrill Edge, Fidelity, Schwab, Chase You Invest, and TD Ameritrade, every single one beats Vanguard for customer service and reliability of IT. So pick one and maybe get a bonus for it: https://www.doctorofcredit.com/category ... e-bonuses/

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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by marcopolo » Wed Jul 29, 2020 1:26 pm

Misenplace wrote:
Wed Jul 29, 2020 12:16 pm
Fidelity, Merrill Edge, and Schwab are repeatedly mentioned around here.

I only have experience with Fidelity- their platform is OK. Not a fan of their funds, even their low/no cost funds. Recommend negotiating free trades so you can access VG ETFs.
Here is a thread that might be useful The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses
You don't need to negotiate free trades to access VG ETFs. ALL ETFs are free at Fidelity, and several other brokerages.
Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right.

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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by NBSteel7 » Wed Jul 29, 2020 1:47 pm

Schwab's customer service is excellent. If I ever have any questions regarding my account, they do it with knowledge and in a timely fashion. Sorry to hear about your Vanguard experience. Hope you get what you're looking for soon.

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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by hulburt1 » Wed Jul 29, 2020 3:51 pm

I don't work for Vanguard. But the service a got during my devoiced. It was like she was holding my hand. My wife has 2m with them thanks to me. Sister moved 1m to vanguard she loves them and I'm at 2m I have been with them sense they opened up.
I did ask if they would send me a toaster with the clients I have sent.

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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by galawdawg » Wed Jul 29, 2020 4:05 pm

I moved to E*TRADE after thirty (30) years with Vanguard, also due to a decline in the quality of service, several failures/missteps by Vanguard on what should have been routine matters, and the discontinuation of the VanguardAdvantage service and all Flagship benefits. It has been a great experience, night and day compared to Vanguard Brokerage Services. Same great funds, just a much better brokerage.

One advantage of E*TRADE over the often recommended Fidelity and Schwab is that most Vanguard mutual funds have no transaction fees. Both Fidelity and Schwab charge a transaction fee for each sale of Vanguard mutual funds (whether you sell to rebalance or withdraw funds). If you hold ETFs, there is no transaction fee for those at any of the three. E*TRADE also offers generous bonuses when you transfer your investments.

Any of the major brokerages can help you move your holdings over "in kind" if that brokerage offers those particular Vanguard holdings.

Here is a thread I started last year about my switch: viewtopic.php?t=291658

Good luck wherever you end up!

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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by Alan S. » Wed Jul 29, 2020 4:16 pm

I have accounts at Vanguard, Fidelity, and Schwab, with the most at Schwab.

They are set up such that the VG account requires almost no service and I average about 1 transaction every two years there, making the VG account a classic buy and hold. The other accounts need much more service and they provide it. Problem solved.

I just hope that Schwab can maintain their great service level following the TDA acquisition. Much of VG's issues probably stem from continued rapid growth and that issue might also affect Schwab for a time after the TDA acquisition.

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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by Kookaburra » Wed Jul 29, 2020 4:24 pm

galawdawg wrote:
Wed Jul 29, 2020 4:05 pm
I moved to E*TRADE after thirty (30) years with Vanguard, also due to a decline in the quality of service, several failures/missteps by Vanguard on what should have been routine matters, and the discontinuation of the VanguardAdvantage service and all Flagship benefits. It has been a great experience, night and day compared to Vanguard Brokerage Services. Same great funds, just a much better brokerage.

One advantage of E*TRADE over the often recommended Fidelity and Schwab is that most Vanguard mutual funds have no transaction fees. Both Fidelity and Schwab charge a transaction fee for each sale of Vanguard mutual funds (whether you sell to rebalance or withdraw funds). If you hold ETFs, there is no transaction fee for those at any of the three. E*TRADE also offers generous bonuses when you transfer your investments.
It’ll be interesting to see if E-Trade can resist the temptation to charge fees now that they are being taken over by Morgan Stanley.

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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by JimmyK » Wed Jul 29, 2020 5:26 pm

Substantial customer volume growth has negatively impacted both their brokerage and 401k administration.Vanguard’s business model is under attack as its a race to the bottom in fees. Has Vanguard forgot they are a not-for-profit, or are they striving to be more of a for-profit company? Bottom line, they were complacent, had strong customer growth and fell behind in their digital platform. I had our family’s 401K and brokerage accounts at Vanguard. Vanguard lost our company’s 401k plan (large public company) to Fidelity as they fell behind in all categories of service and fee structures. I still have our large brokerage accounts with Vanguard but you can no longer discuss simple investing and planning concepts with them - completely opposite of what Fidelity offers. I recommend you look elsewhere. One final note, I do not believe in Vanguard’s socialistic pricing fee structure for investment services - it should cost you substantially less for the more money you invest with them. Evan better would be the option of a flat fee rate or hourly charge.

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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by abyan » Wed Jul 29, 2020 5:30 pm

I’ve had a lot of misses with Vanguard customer service over the last 6 years. Not sure if it’s getting worse, but it’s not great to start with. It’s super hit or miss depending who you get. And that’s not acceptable when we’re talking about my money.

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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by backpacker61 » Wed Jul 29, 2020 5:47 pm

One of the primary attractions of using Vanguard to me is their very low cost actively managed tax exempt bond funds, available in a variety of durations.

Before jumping, check if this is something you use or would use for yourself, and what your options are (and their respective costs) on "the other side".
“Now shall I walk or shall I ride? | 'Ride,' Pleasure said; | 'Walk,' Joy replied.” | | ― W.H. Davies

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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by dave1054 » Wed Jul 29, 2020 7:02 pm

Wow. Lot of Vanguard bashing on Bogleheads site. What gives?

I have dealt with Vanguard for 30 plus years without any problems. I also have a smaller Fidelity account. I do not see one web site better than the other. It’s what you get used to.

On almost all similar fixed income funds, Vanguard is the best.

Vanguard has best money market rates although close to zero now.

Vanguard will not up sell like other brokerages and this is a significant issue when the surviving spouse is not financially savvy.

Only reason I use Fidelity is for HSA, and lower minimum donor advised charitable trust. Plus i like their credit card.

So use a combination of brokerages, but I for one will remain a loyal Vanguard fan.

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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by beingzero » Wed Jul 29, 2020 7:11 pm

I recently switched all my accounts to Ally including Checking, Saving, Roth and TIRA. I love their website and UI.
Unless you are an active trader, Its a great interface and good for buying Vanguard ETFs and I really love the fact that it is a nice one stop shop that offers everything.

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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by Gnirk » Wed Jul 29, 2020 7:22 pm

I'm happy with Vanguard, and we (husband, me, and my two daughters) haven't had any issues with their customer service in the past 20 years, and hope we don't. I can always go on-line and make an appointment to speak with my Flagship rep, or send a message and receive a reply the next day. If it's a question she can't answer, she directs me to the person who can. I can take my chances with whomever answers the phone, but I'm more comfortable with my rep. If the Flagship reps go away, then I will reconsider.

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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by anon_investor » Wed Jul 29, 2020 7:28 pm

Gnirk wrote:
Wed Jul 29, 2020 7:22 pm
I'm happy with Vanguard, and we (husband, me, and my two daughters) haven't had any issues with their customer service in the past 20 years, and hope we don't. I can always go on-line and make an appointment to speak with my Flagship rep, or send a message and receive a reply the next day. If it's a question she can't answer, she directs me to the person who can. I can take my chances with whomever answers the phone, but I'm more comfortable with my rep. If the Flagship reps go away, then I will reconsider.
I thought they took away assigned flagship reps?

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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by Brianmcg321 » Wed Jul 29, 2020 7:36 pm

Whenever someone asks me this question I refer them to Fidelity. And I have 90% of my portfolio with Vanguard.

I had a Fidelity 401k and I really liked their interface and their app.

I’ve had no issues with Vanguard, but I will probably transfer everything to Fidelitywhen I retire. Unless something drastically changes at Vanguard.
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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by backpacker61 » Wed Jul 29, 2020 7:38 pm

dave1054 wrote:
Wed Jul 29, 2020 7:02 pm
I have dealt with Vanguard for 30 plus years without any problems. I also have a smaller Fidelity account. I do not see one web site better than the other. It’s what you get used to.
My "theory" (and it's only that), is that Vanguard experienced explosive growth after the PBS 'Frontline' episode called 'The Retirement Gamble', supposedly an "expose" of the financial industry's handling of tax deferred retirement accounts. Following the airing of that episode, many people transferred their retirement savings to Vanguard, which appears to have stumbled pretty badly trying to handle the increase in volume, while trying to continue to maintain or lower investment fees.

I've had a Vanguard account since 1989, so it would take a lot to induce me to move.

At present, I fully expect to die while still having the lion's share of my investments there.
“Now shall I walk or shall I ride? | 'Ride,' Pleasure said; | 'Walk,' Joy replied.” | | ― W.H. Davies

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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by galawdawg » Wed Jul 29, 2020 7:42 pm

JimmyK wrote:
Wed Jul 29, 2020 5:26 pm
...Has Vanguard forgot they are a not-for-profit, or are they striving to be more of a for-profit company?...
Vanguard is "not-for-profit" in name only. I contend that they are a profit company just like Schwab, Fidelity, E*TRADE, et. al. Theoretically, all profits are returned to investors, rather than shareholders. Reality is that a significant portion of the "profits" each year go to some of the most highly compensated executives at Vanguard.

For example, Vanguard reported that as of December 2019, they had $161 billion dollars in assets in Vanguard PAS. When you consider the AUM fee of 0.3%, Vanguard rakes in $483 million per year in Vanguard PAS fees. And at last report, they have approximately 700 Vanguard PAS advisors. According to Glassdoor, the average salary for a Vanguard PAS advisor is $71,000, including bonus and profit sharing, which is a total of just under $50 million for the advisors. If we double that to account for benefits and such, that is still only $100 million. What does Vanguard do with the other $383 million per year? Most long-time Vanguard client-owners realize that these Vanguard PAS advisors perform many of the same services that dedicated Flagship representatives previously performed at no cost for Flagship clients, including an annual Financial Plan by a Vanguard Certified Financial Planner, which was also at no cost. So what Vanguard has done is monetize services formerly provided at no cost to clients with large portfolios and now realizes a substantial profit that thus far has not been passed along to client-owners. I suspect this is one reason that Vanguard refuses to release information on executive compensation to its client-owners.

The Vanguard of the last ten years has cut services and monetized those it has allowed to remain, failed to make needed IT improvements, allowed customer service to deteriorate, turned a deaf ear to concerns and complaints from some of their long-term and HNW clients, and increased profit sharing and compensation for upper-level management and executives. While Vanguard advocates for transparency in composition of boards, governance structures and executive compensation for those companies that the funds hold shares in, Vanguard does not apply the same standards to itself. In short, Vanguard is not the magnanimous investment firm looking out only for you that some make it out to be.

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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by abuss368 » Wed Jul 29, 2020 7:46 pm

We almost never use or need client services.
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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by Trader Joe » Wed Jul 29, 2020 7:50 pm

tspill wrote:
Wed Jul 29, 2020 11:25 am
Hi All,

New poster here, so thank you for the consideration. I did review previous posts that were similar so sorry for the duplication if any.

My issue is this: lately (last 12-24 months) Vanguard's service has really deteriorated to the point of causing me to want to leave. I've been at Vanguard for close to 30 years and have virtually all my assets there (IRAs, after tax, etc.) for me, my wife and our joint accounts.

I used to have a designated representative that I could call but they discontinued that option. Regardless, the last couple of people I had were completely useless. I've called for many simple items that you can't do online (e.g., international wire transfer) and had it take days and days to get done correctly.

Recently, I converted all my mutual fund accounts to brokerage accounts at Vanguard's suggestion (mainly because they discontinued mobile check deposits without notice). They completely fouled that up and I lost check writing privileges and my linked banks didn't transfer. I've been trying to fix these issues for weeks and it has me completely pissed.

I got one mea culpa email from an executive liaison who said everything is fixed but call me. I checked and nothing was fixed and she never returned my call. I asked for a Vanguard executive to call me and was told that ain't going to happen.

So, question is this -- who has a good platform I can move to that doesn't charge fees and will get basic service items done efficiently??? I don't need investment advice but I do need service capabilities, good online platform, no cost funds/other options, etc.
Try Fidelity.

palanzo
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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by palanzo » Wed Jul 29, 2020 7:55 pm

galawdawg wrote:
Wed Jul 29, 2020 7:42 pm
JimmyK wrote:
Wed Jul 29, 2020 5:26 pm
...Has Vanguard forgot they are a not-for-profit, or are they striving to be more of a for-profit company?...
Vanguard is "not-for-profit" in name only. I contend that they are a profit company just like Schwab, Fidelity, E*TRADE, et. al. Theoretically, all profits are returned to investors, rather than shareholders. Reality is that a significant portion of the "profits" each year go to some of the most highly compensated executives at Vanguard.

For example, Vanguard reported that as of December 2019, they had $161 billion dollars in assets in Vanguard PAS. When you consider the AUM fee of 0.3%, Vanguard rakes in $483 million per year in Vanguard PAS fees. And at last report, they have approximately 700 Vanguard PAS advisors. According to Glassdoor, the average salary for a Vanguard PAS advisor is $71,000, including bonus and profit sharing, which is a total of just under $50 million for the advisors. If we double that to account for benefits and such, that is still only $100 million. What does Vanguard do with the other $383 million per year? Most long-time Vanguard client-owners realize that these Vanguard PAS advisors perform many of the same services that dedicated Flagship representatives previously performed at no cost for Flagship clients, including an annual Financial Plan by a Vanguard Certified Financial Planner, which was also at no cost. So what Vanguard has done is monetize services formerly provided at no cost to clients with large portfolios and now realizes a substantial profit that thus far has not been passed along to client-owners. I suspect this is one reason that Vanguard refuses to release information on executive compensation to its client-owners.

The Vanguard of the last ten years has cut services and monetized those it has allowed to remain, failed to make needed IT improvements, allowed customer service to deteriorate, turned a deaf ear to concerns and complaints from some of their long-term and HNW clients, and increased profit sharing and compensation for upper-level management and executives. While Vanguard advocates for transparency in composition of boards, governance structures and executive compensation for those companies that the funds hold shares in, Vanguard does not apply the same standards to itself. In short, Vanguard is not the magnanimous investment firm looking out only for you that some make it out to be.
Vanguard's attitude on their executive compensation is hypocritical. Read their official position on corporate governance and transparency here:

https://pcg.law.harvard.edu/wp-content/ ... nguard.pdf

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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by galawdawg » Wed Jul 29, 2020 8:01 pm

dave1054 wrote:
Wed Jul 29, 2020 7:02 pm
...Vanguard will not up sell like other brokerages...
Are you sure about that?

For months, every time I logged in I was confronted by a Vanguard PAS popup and a large Vanguard PAS banner ad. In order to do anything on the website, even see my holdings, I had to click "X" to close the pop-up (and I have a good pop-up blocker installed) and then had to scroll down below the ad.

Image

I contacted Vanguard by secure message several times asking them NOT to solicit us for PAS and to remove the pop-up and banner ad. I received confirmation we were "opted-out" of marketing, yet the PAS emails continued, sometimes two a week. And while they apologized for the "inconvenience during the transition" they never removed the pop-up or banner ad between my complaints and when we closed our accounts several months later.

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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by 1789 » Wed Jul 29, 2020 8:14 pm

Fidelity is excellent. No complaints
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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by Bama12 » Wed Jul 29, 2020 8:42 pm

Schwab

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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by Actin » Wed Jul 29, 2020 8:44 pm

Vanguard is great until you have a problem, and then it is completely useless.

The best advice I got from this board is to only do basic brokerage accounts with vanguard. Do anything more complicated and all retirement with fidelity.

I had an issue awhile back and the vanguard replies almost seemed like an automated bot.

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BolderBoy
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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by BolderBoy » Wed Jul 29, 2020 8:45 pm

galawdawg wrote:
Wed Jul 29, 2020 7:42 pm
The Vanguard of the last ten years... failed to make needed IT improvements...
I have first hand knowledge that this is not true.
"Never underestimate one's capacity to overestimate one's abilities" - The Dunning-Kruger Effect

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bluquark
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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by bluquark » Wed Jul 29, 2020 8:50 pm

Keep in mind that transferring all your assets away from Vanguard gives Vanguard's bad reps one more huge opportunity to screw up (especially with respect to properly transferring cost basis information, and doing it promptly and transparently). So you're planning to create the problem you want to avoid. On a one-time basis to be sure, but in a bigger bang than anything you would normally do in the next decades.

Personally I think Vanguard has good reliable computer systems for routine tasks and are bad whenever you ask humans to do anything out of the ordinary. There's probably a way to keep using them but never ask them anything weird again. For example, for future international wire transfers, you could first electronically transfer the amount from Vanguard to another bank account under your name, then do the transfer from there. When I needed to do international transfers, I set up an account at XE, a specialist in exactly that.
70/30 portfolio | Equity: global market weight | Bonds: 20% long-term munis - 10% LEMB

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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by rkhusky » Wed Jul 29, 2020 9:15 pm

I have never had a problem with Vanguard, but then I just buy and sell mutual funds. They handled the one outside transaction that I needed just fine. I prefer email/messaging to talking on the phone.

I like their interface, except for the recent efforts to “modernize” it. I don’t need flashy graphics and prefer Vanguard spending money to reduce the number of mouse clicks I need to get things done.

Surveys show that Vanguard gets as high or higher marks as the other brokerages. Other surveys show that Bogleheads are not typical investors and anecdotal stories are not likely to be representative of the average experience.

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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by CodeMaster » Wed Jul 29, 2020 9:18 pm

tspill wrote:
Wed Jul 29, 2020 11:25 am
Hi All,

New poster here, so thank you for the consideration. I did review previous posts that were similar so sorry for the duplication if any.

My issue is this: lately (last 12-24 months) Vanguard's service has really deteriorated to the point of causing me to want to leave. I've been at Vanguard for close to 30 years and have virtually all my assets there (IRAs, after tax, etc.) for me, my wife and our joint accounts.

I used to have a designated representative that I could call but they discontinued that option. Regardless, the last couple of people I had were completely useless. I've called for many simple items that you can't do online (e.g., international wire transfer) and had it take days and days to get done correctly.

Recently, I converted all my mutual fund accounts to brokerage accounts at Vanguard's suggestion (mainly because they discontinued mobile check deposits without notice). They completely fouled that up and I lost check writing privileges and my linked banks didn't transfer. I've been trying to fix these issues for weeks and it has me completely pissed.

I got one mea culpa email from an executive liaison who said everything is fixed but call me. I checked and nothing was fixed and she never returned my call. I asked for a Vanguard executive to call me and was told that ain't going to happen.

So, question is this -- who has a good platform I can move to that doesn't charge fees and will get basic service items done efficiently??? I don't need investment advice but I do need service capabilities, good online platform, no cost funds/other options, etc.
Have to agree, the Vanguard service is really bad recently to my surprise... they were not familiar with anything I needed to ask about, it was total useless waste of time. They used to help educate me when needed, now I feel better off figuring it out on my own or asking here which I did right after the phone call.

I use Fidelity other then Vanguard...

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beyou
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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by beyou » Wed Jul 29, 2020 9:25 pm

OP. Your main complains with Vanguard are with use of banking services. Vanguard is not a bank. I transfer cash to my bank for banking services. Not to say a broker can’t provide good banking. Etrade ran a bank and brokerage for a very long time, they do both well. Vanguard is not trying to compete with banks at all. They barely try to compete as a broker, their main purpose is as a fund, which is ironic that they are phasing out the mutual fund “old” platform and they are only good at mutual funds.

I would consider moving to Etrade someday, have an acct.
Main issue they dont allow some admiral funds where there is no ETF either (muni funds for instance). So I would have to use investor shares at higher ER. You dont get something for nothing.

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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by Index Fan » Wed Jul 29, 2020 9:28 pm

Sorry to hear of your bad experience.

It's been my experience over the decades that good businesses sooner or later stop being good.

I can't think of much left to believe in in this 'race to the bottom' world we find ourselves in.

Best of luck to us all :)
"Optimum est pati quod emendare non possis." | -Seneca

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wander
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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by wander » Wed Jul 29, 2020 9:33 pm

It's your choice to move your money anywhere that meets your need.

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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by Gnirk » Wed Jul 29, 2020 10:33 pm

anon_investor wrote:
Wed Jul 29, 2020 7:28 pm
Gnirk wrote:
Wed Jul 29, 2020 7:22 pm
I'm happy with Vanguard, and we (husband, me, and my two daughters) haven't had any issues with their customer service in the past 20 years, and hope we don't. I can always go on-line and make an appointment to speak with my Flagship rep, or send a message and receive a reply the next day. If it's a question she can't answer, she directs me to the person who can. I can take my chances with whomever answers the phone, but I'm more comfortable with my rep. If the Flagship reps go away, then I will reconsider.
I thought they took away assigned flagship reps?
We still have one.

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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by poppa23 » Wed Jul 29, 2020 10:42 pm

Just went through this.. I had an assigned rep and that was removed. When I called and asked some questions about investments they said "cant answer this anymore we need to manage your account to answer your questions" I moved all my money "multi m portfolio" to schwab. I got a call from Vanguard saying "we failed you " so sorry can you stay /come back. Im very happy with Schwabs platform, website, and so far my portfolio manager who gave me a whole breakdown on there thoughts....so far no regrets..

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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by beyou » Wed Jul 29, 2020 10:47 pm

beyou wrote:
Wed Jul 29, 2020 9:25 pm
OP. Your main complaints with Vanguard are with use of banking services. Vanguard is not a bank. I transfer cash to my bank for banking services. Not to say a broker can’t provide good banking. Etrade ran a bank and brokerage for a very long time, they do both well. Vanguard is not trying to compete with banks at all. They barely try to compete as a broker, their main purpose is as a fund, which is ironic that they are phasing out the mutual fund “old” platform and they are only good at mutual funds.

I would consider moving to Etrade someday, have an acct.
Main issue they dont allow some admiral funds where there is no ETF either (muni funds for instance). So I would have to use investor shares at higher ER. You dont get something for nothing.

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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by drzzzzz » Wed Jul 29, 2020 11:13 pm

Similar situation, 30 plus years with Vanguard, encouraged 5 family members to move accounts there and now I want to move to Fidelity (complicated by some accounts with a large basis that are in Vanguard mutual funds without ETF available). Got an email about taking a survey to see how Vanguard could help me manage the account as I start retirement and the results basically said call the rep who then tried to sell me on PAS. I asked to have someone review my portfolio for tax efficiency and asset placement and they said they don't offer review service any longer since "clients" weren't using it and then weren't following through on it. He offered to see what his superiors could do and the answer was nothing. I asked what my flagship status gets me and he said free trades (which all brokers have now), the option to buy into closed mutual funds, and basically nothing else. He did offer PAS again. I sent off a letter to the CEO Mortimer Buckley, but don't expect to get a reply except for a form letter. We also have acounts at Fidelity and they are much more solicitous of their clients and get things done promptly and try to please instead of pretending to. I am trying to determine the simplest way to move assets over to Fidelity (to avoid expenses or tax consequences) if I don't get a positive response from Vanguard management. I will miss their state specific municipal bond fund and their money market accounts which pay more than Fidelity - so will have to look for alternatives for that ofrjust keep those in the account. So sad, but really frustrated with Vanguard and not just over this issue - have about 7 requests over the years that they couldn't handle without making it a hassle. And I also like that Fidelity has offices and people with expertise that they will transfer you to to discuss issues rather than having more complicated questions routed through a Vanguard rep that goes back and forth with you. Fidelity reps have also given me their direct dial numbers in contrast to Vanguard where you can't even find a number to reach management to provide feedback.

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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by greengrass222 » Thu Jul 30, 2020 12:02 am

I think most of us all have some form of a bad experience with our stock/retirement account. The basic stuff works, but transferring accounts, rollovers, or anything that's not day to day can be a real pain. I personally have had a really good experience with Fidelity and want to move my last Vanguard account to Fidelity. My company's 401k plan allows us to get 1:1 advice from fidelity reps almost any day of the year, and they are very helpful in my experience. However I've also had some dead end phone calls when calling the regular fidelity customer service.

With 30 years of accounts at Vanguard, it's hard to recommend you move everything over. That might cause several weeks of migraines. It sounds like you need some basic banking features. Why not choose a local or brick and mortar bank for stuff like wire transfers? I think it helps a lot to be able to walk into a bank and have someone there do the non-routine transactions.

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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by JimmyK » Thu Jul 30, 2020 12:50 am

Folks it disturbs me from what I heard within my company on Vanguard’s 401k service level (now transitioned to Fidelity) and what I seen myself on my family’s brokerage accounts. This is not just a banking issue, rather it’s a new strategic direction from Vanguard. They have great funds, with most at low cost. But this new pay to play scheme for simple advice appears to go against the grain for Mr. Bogle’s vision. Seems to me cutting folks off on simple questions is a poorly executed strategy by their CEO and his direct reports. For complex issues, make sure the proper specialist is available and charge by the hour, that’s transparent. Hopefully someone from Vanguard acts on these concerns.

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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by Beehave » Thu Jul 30, 2020 7:36 am

dave1054 wrote:
Wed Jul 29, 2020 7:02 pm
Wow. Lot of Vanguard bashing on Bogleheads site. What gives?

I have dealt with Vanguard for 30 plus years without any problems. I also have a smaller Fidelity account. I do not see one web site better than the other. It’s what you get used to.

On almost all similar fixed income funds, Vanguard is the best.

Vanguard has best money market rates although close to zero now.

Vanguard will not up sell like other brokerages and this is a significant issue when the surviving spouse is not financially savvy.

Only reason I use Fidelity is for HSA, and lower minimum donor advised charitable trust. Plus i like their credit card.

So use a combination of brokerages, but I for one will remain a loyal Vanguard fan.
Major +1 from me, especially on this:

"Vanguard will not up sell like other brokerages and this is a significant issue when the surviving spouse is not financially savvy."

My consistent experience with Vanguard is that the people are trustworthy. That matters. A lot. While you are well. While you are declining in ability. When a spouse or relatives take over or inherit.

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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by beyou » Thu Jul 30, 2020 7:57 am

JimmyK wrote:
Thu Jul 30, 2020 12:50 am
Folks it disturbs me from what I heard within my company on Vanguard’s 401k service level (now transitioned to Fidelity) and what I seen myself on my family’s brokerage accounts. This is not just a banking issue, rather it’s a new strategic direction from Vanguard. They have great funds, with most at low cost. But this new pay to play scheme for simple advice appears to go against the grain for Mr. Bogle’s vision. Seems to me cutting folks off on simple questions is a poorly executed strategy by their CEO and his direct reports. For complex issues, make sure the proper specialist is available and charge by the hour, that’s transparent. Hopefully someone from Vanguard acts on these concerns.
I do not agree at all. Administrative/operational staff do not possess the same skills and training as staff that would be helpful for investing/financial planning questions. They need to have a sufficient staff for admin issues to service all clients, so this needs to be built into their product pricing. But many DIY investors do not need and should not pay for advice. The cost of hiring extra staff with this different skillset would be paid for by all if not paid for by the PAS fees.

You can put money into a target date fund, no need for advice. You can get help from Bogleheads. Or you can pay a manager for advice. But if the same person is helping you with advice and admin functions, chances are they are not motivated by or good at one of those tasks. I want to speak to a specialist and not pay for one I don’t need. I wont pay higher fees so all can get free access to a specialist I don’t need. Many came to Vanguard for a budget low cost provider that serves DIY investors. Nothing wrong with extra fees to service clients with needs requiring different, more advanced skills.

And Vanguard is not the only firm with PAS and it’s fees,
Chase You Invest offers free DIY acct or a PAS like advised acct with similar fees like Vanguard PAS. Etrade keeps calling to try and sell me a PAS like product at extra cost. I use their low cost DIY services, but if no longer low cost would close the acct find another catering to DIY investors (at low cost). Bundling in this service would gain some clients maybe, but lose others. Discount brokers and Vanguard have a huge base of DIY customers. They now offer reasonably priced managed accts and you think it should be free ?

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