Vanguard/Schwab/Fidelity financial consulant

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duckcalldan
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Vanguard/Schwab/Fidelity financial consulant

Post by duckcalldan » Sun Mar 06, 2016 10:16 am

Hi,
I have accounts with all 3 firms and enough assets to have a dedicated financial consultant/client relationship/Flagship representative at each firm. They have each contacted me to say hi and offer any assistance. I'm skeptical by nature but I would love to ask them a few questions as I prepare for early retirement next year (I'm 52). I'm not interested in a portfolio review. I leave that for this forum. But I'd like to contact each of them next week. VG has the majority of my assets and will most likely get my rollover IRA next year.

Any firsthand experience with reps at any of the above firms? Good, bad or ugly? Is Schwab or Fidelity capable of giving advice consistent with a Bogleheads philosophy?

dbr
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Re: Vanguard/Schwab/Fidelity financial consulant

Post by dbr » Sun Mar 06, 2016 10:38 am

Just be sure none of them are trying to sell you into signing up to pay a fee for a client relationship. It is possible Fidelity and Schwab just want to glad hand a new customer, but much more likely they want to sell you on a plan to get some of your money. At the very least they will want to convince you to buy their high cost proprietary funds. Even Vanguard will most likely suggest their PAS plan where you fork over to Vanguard 0.3% of your assets every year. When Fidelity called me I just told them from the beginning that I appreciated the courtesy of a call, that I had no questions or issues, and that it would not be necessary for them to talk to me about anything in the future, and I would call them if I needed something. That worked pretty well.

As far as advice, my view is that one should not be looking for investing advice from a broker or mutual fund company, not even Vanguard.

afan
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Re: Vanguard/Schwab/Fidelity financial consulant

Post by afan » Sun Mar 06, 2016 1:16 pm

I would be a little more charitable. Vanguard has not tried to sell us PAS. A Schwab rep has been very helpful, has mentioned their numerous asset management products, but has not tried to sell them. I keep Fidelity at arms length. When investigating potential trustees, it was clear they would go for active management at high cost. They did try to sell until I made it very clear that the price was several fold, probably an order of magnitude, too high. With the huge gap between what they wanted and what I would pay, they left me alone.

But you don't sound like you need anything from them, so don't worry about what they might pitch.

All three offer broad, cap weighted index funds at near zero costs. If you limit your investments to these, you can do fine with all three firms.

Ask them about convenience features, how to save on commissions and fees, whether they have bundled credit cards, no ATM fee debit cards, etc.
We don't know how to beat the market on a risk-adjusted basis, and we don't know anyone that does know either | --Swedroe | We assume that markets are efficient, that prices are right | --Fama

inbox788
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Re: Vanguard/Schwab/Fidelity financial consulant

Post by inbox788 » Sun Mar 06, 2016 8:15 pm

dbr wrote:When Fidelity called me I just told them from the beginning that I appreciated the courtesy of a call, that I had no questions or issues, and that it would not be necessary for them to talk to me about anything in the future, and I would call them if I needed something. That worked pretty well.

As far as advice, my view is that one should not be looking for investing advice from a broker or mutual fund company, not even Vanguard.
Agree, especially if you're doing fine with BH philosophy.

I wouldn't let them off the hook that easily when they call. Since they made the call, I do have questions and issues. This was another bank, but I ask them why their web site isn't working and tell them about the anxiety problems I have with their web site not being a to access some correct information. I'm looking for a more secure place to put my money. I think they call once a year to checkup and try to sell me on their automatic investing, and I've had 2 or 3 talks with the same person. Come to think of it, it may be more than a year since the last call. I wonder if they didn't like my questions and issues (and lack of making their sales).

If Vanguard called, I'd ask them when they're going to implement two factor authentication and other improvements to their web site. If Fidelity were to call, I'd ask them why their web site was so confusing. The more they call, the more I'd share my questions and issues that needed to be resolved before I signed on to more services. They'll probably explain that it's not their job, but tell them that others not doing their job is getting in the way of them doing theirs. If enough feedback gets around, maybe someone somewhere will decide to act.

LeeMKE
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Re: Vanguard/Schwab/Fidelity financial consulant

Post by LeeMKE » Sun Mar 06, 2016 8:58 pm

I have gotten very good advice from some of the folks at Fidelity, where almost all of our investments reside. Sometimes they ask if I have any uncertainty about handling the portfolio myself, and don't press when I tell them no. I'm always on the lookout for something I've overlooked and welcome another set of eyes on what I'm doing.

For example, a young advisor at Fidelity noticed something I was overlooking, moving IRA to Roth while we were in the 15% bracket. We've had a few years in which I could begin moving funds at lower tax rates than we'll have as soon as DH retires. That will save us a tidy sum, and I was not realizing the opportunity.
The mightiest Oak is just a nut who stayed the course.

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Doc
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Re: Vanguard/Schwab/Fidelity financial consulant

Post by Doc » Mon Mar 07, 2016 9:56 am

dbr wrote:Just be sure none of them are trying to sell you into signing up to pay a fee for a client relationship. It is possible Fidelity and Schwab just want to glad hand a new customer, but much more likely they want to sell you on a plan to get some of your money.
I have a a few "glad hand" experiences from the local Schwab reps. They contact occasionally always with some idea to "take a look at" something or other but have never pushed at selling anything or suggesting that I do something I am not.
A scientist looks for THE answer to a problem, an engineer looks for AN answer and lawyers ONLY have opinions. Investing is not a science.

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CyberBob
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Re: Vanguard/Schwab/Fidelity financial consulant

Post by CyberBob » Mon Mar 07, 2016 10:17 am

inbox788 wrote:If Vanguard called, I'd ask them when they're going to implement two factor authentication...
They already have it, via automated phone call or text.
https://personal.vanguard.com/us/insigh ... ity-092015

inbox788
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Re: Vanguard/Schwab/Fidelity financial consulant

Post by inbox788 » Mon Mar 07, 2016 5:12 pm

CyberBob wrote:
inbox788 wrote:If Vanguard called, I'd ask them when they're going to implement two factor authentication...
They already have it, via automated phone call or text.
https://personal.vanguard.com/us/insigh ... ity-092015
Thanks!

At first, I wondered why you were getting special treatment from Vanguard, but I just signed up, so I'm getting special treatment too. :D
(still not seeing any data aggregation, but it's not on my must have list, and I know they're working on it)
People have been asking for it for years, and I'm surprised it's been out 6 months already, and this is the first time I hear about it, both from Vanguard as well as BH. If there were any announcements, I missed them. How did you find out? Now I'm wondering what else I'm missing out on, but then again, Vanguard isn't a company I want to be bothered with many changes. Once a year telling me they're reducing expense fees is only excitement I'd really want, and they've been great.

Now I have to think of something else to bug them about if/when they call. :mrgreen: Maybe I'll ask them if they fixed the costs basis issue some folks are having.

GoFish
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Re: Vanguard/Schwab/Fidelity financial consulant

Post by GoFish » Mon Mar 07, 2016 7:13 pm

duckcalldan wrote:Any firsthand experience with reps at any of the above firms? Good, bad or ugly? Is Schwab or Fidelity capable of giving advice consistent with a Bogleheads philosophy?
Firsthand experience with Vanguard and Fidelity. Result was I placed more assets with Fidelity, and fewer at Vanguard.

A major factor in our preference for Fidelity was the presence of a brick and mortar location within a reasonable driving distance. DW, who is very bright but not interested in investing, is much more comfortable now that she has met, in person, Plan B should I croak unexpectedly.

I encountered some mild frustrations with Vanguard in initial efforts to get accounts set up and learn about actual levels of service I could expect for different amounts of assets. My impression was/is that VG is experiencing exponential growth and is still playing catch up.

I asked for and received what I believe was generally good advice from my Fidelity rep for the fixed income portion of my portfolio. He did not include enough passive index funds in his recommendation, so I deviated a bit. No surprise there. Caveat emptor.

Been very pleased with Fidelity service. I use about 50/50 FD and VG funds in my FD portfolio. And I keep enough at VG to provide access to admiral shares of a few key funds. Best of both worlds!

Jim

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Doc
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Re: Vanguard/Schwab/Fidelity financial consulant

Post by Doc » Tue Mar 08, 2016 10:19 am

JGG wrote:A major factor in our preference for Fidelity was the presence of a brick and mortar location within a reasonable driving distance. DW, who is very bright but not interested in investing, is much more comfortable now that she has met, in person, Plan B should I croak unexpectedly.
Mrs. Doc had the same concern but was more insistent. She has never been to either of our two local brick and mortar broker's but she could easily find them if the need arose.
A scientist looks for THE answer to a problem, an engineer looks for AN answer and lawyers ONLY have opinions. Investing is not a science.

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rkuklinski
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Re: Vanguard/Schwab/Fidelity financial consulant

Post by rkuklinski » Tue Mar 08, 2016 2:30 pm

Fidelity's reps are a mixed bag when it comes to the knowledge/information that you will find useful. They have extensive training in selling actively managed mutual funds and annuities. If you have questions outside of those focus areas your particular rep may have useful information to offer or they may not.
'Who controls the past' ran the Party slogan, 'controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.'"

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Toons
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Re: Vanguard/Schwab/Fidelity financial consulant

Post by Toons » Tue Mar 08, 2016 3:06 pm

"I'm not interested in a portfolio review. I leave that for this forum."

I like that


:happy
"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee

inbox788
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Re: Vanguard/Schwab/Fidelity financial consulant

Post by inbox788 » Tue Mar 08, 2016 3:44 pm

JGG wrote:A major factor in our preference for Fidelity was the presence of a brick and mortar location within a reasonable driving distance. DW, who is very bright but not interested in investing, is much more comfortable now that she has met, in person, Plan B should I croak unexpectedly.

I encountered some mild frustrations with Vanguard in initial efforts to get accounts set up and learn about actual levels of service I could expect for different amounts of assets. My impression was/is that VG is experiencing exponential growth and is still playing catch up.

I asked for and received what I believe was generally good advice from my Fidelity rep for the fixed income portion of my portfolio. He did not include enough passive index funds in his recommendation, so I deviated a bit. No surprise there. Caveat emptor.

Been very pleased with Fidelity service. I use about 50/50 FD and VG funds in my FD portfolio. And I keep enough at VG to provide access to admiral shares of a few key funds. Best of both worlds!
You can do much worse than Fidelity, but the need to deviate is telling. Don't be surprise that the need continues or increases. They've got to sell their active funds to pay for their bonuses and those brick and mortar locations. Also, AFAIK, the Vanguard adviser services are supposed to be fiduciary, but I don't think the Fidelity advisers are. Haven't dealt with either, but I prefer to leave my loved ones in the hands of Vanguard over Fidelity given a choice, and I think that reduces the chance they get or follow bad advice.

sport
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Re: Vanguard/Schwab/Fidelity financial consulant

Post by sport » Tue Mar 08, 2016 6:12 pm

Doc wrote:
JGG wrote:A major factor in our preference for Fidelity was the presence of a brick and mortar location within a reasonable driving distance. DW, who is very bright but not interested in investing, is much more comfortable now that she has met, in person, Plan B should I croak unexpectedly.
Mrs. Doc had the same concern but was more insistent. She has never been to either of our two local brick and mortar broker's but she could easily find them if the need arose.
If I had a spouse who is "who is very bright but not interested in investing", I would be concerned about leaving them in the "clutches" of Fidelity salespeople. It seems likely that Fidelity would seize every opportunity to move a client from low cost investments to more profitable ones. Fidelity's main goal is to make a profit from their clients.

GoFish
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Re: Vanguard/Schwab/Fidelity financial consulant

Post by GoFish » Tue Mar 08, 2016 6:46 pm

sport wrote: If I had a spouse who is "who is very bright but not interested in investing", I would be concerned about leaving them in the "clutches" of Fidelity salespeople. It seems likely that Fidelity would seize every opportunity to move a client from low cost investments to more profitable ones. Fidelity's main goal is to make a profit from their clients.
Yes, that is always a risk. I chose Fidelity to hold most of our portfolio because, on balance, I thought she would be better served there in my absence. Maximizing investment returns was not my only objective.

If she loses an extra point (gasp) to fees each year it will not affect her lifestyle. If she has to rely on someone she's never met, and can only talk to on the phone, it will definitely increase her stress level. Seems like a good trade-off to me. Others will make a different choice!

Jim

GoFish
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Re: Vanguard/Schwab/Fidelity financial consulant

Post by GoFish » Tue Mar 08, 2016 7:10 pm

inbox788 wrote: You can do much worse than Fidelity, but the need to deviate is telling. Don't be surprise that the need continues or increases. They've got to sell their active funds to pay for their bonuses and those brick and mortar locations. Also, AFAIK, the Vanguard adviser services are supposed to be fiduciary, but I don't think the Fidelity advisers are. Haven't dealt with either, but I prefer to leave my loved ones in the hands of Vanguard over Fidelity given a choice, and I think that reduces the chance they get or follow bad advice.
My Private Client guy at Fidelity is a CFP. As such, he has a fiduciary duty for, at least, financial planning services. For routine investment advice, fiduciary duty becomes a little gray to me. Not sure where the line is. Unrealistic for me to think he will not have some bias towards Fidelity funds. That's part of the deal.

I do know that Fidelity was far, far more responsive in attending to account setup issues. And they have been very responsive to everything that has come up along the way. That has some value, too.

Vanguard is hard to beat for funds. But their ancillary services, in my experience, are not where they should be...at least not yet.

MN Finance
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Re: Vanguard/Schwab/Fidelity financial consulant

Post by MN Finance » Tue Mar 08, 2016 9:27 pm

All three firms pay their advisors with about the same general methodology (Vanguard heavier on salary and lighter on bonus than the other two, but still evaluated similarly.) That's relevant because it means you'll have about the same general experience with each firm, though your experience is massively dependent on the luck of the draw with each advisor you get. Most importantly, even though they need to sell product to keep their jobs, they're in balanced enough systems to be perfectly happy giving you good advice after you tell them you're not buying anything.

dbr
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Re: Vanguard/Schwab/Fidelity financial consulant

Post by dbr » Wed Mar 09, 2016 10:40 am

I wonder if anyone has had a CS or an advisor at Vanguard recommend a non-Vanguard fund rather than a Vanguard choice, as long as we might criticize anyone for recommending their own funds.

Jack FFR1846
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Re: Vanguard/Schwab/Fidelity financial consulant

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Wed Mar 09, 2016 10:48 am

JGG wrote:
inbox788 wrote: My Private Client guy at Fidelity is a CFP. As such, he has a fiduciary duty for, at least, financial planning services.
Are you sure? (I have a private client advisor who gets to call me 3 times a year and I get to tell him that I need nothing from him).

Remember that all Edward Jones salespeople have to pass the CFP. They absolutely don't work in the client's interest. Ever.
Bogle: Smart Beta is stupid

inbox788
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Re: Vanguard/Schwab/Fidelity financial consulant

Post by inbox788 » Wed Mar 09, 2016 12:45 pm

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
JGG wrote:
inbox788 wrote: My Private Client guy at Fidelity is a CFP. As such, he has a fiduciary duty for, at least, financial planning services.
Are you sure? (I have a private client advisor who gets to call me 3 times a year and I get to tell him that I need nothing from him).

Remember that all Edward Jones salespeople have to pass the CFP. They absolutely don't work in the client's interest. Ever.
That was JGG's Fidelity guy, not mine.

I didn't think CFP got elevated to the level of CPA yet. I haven't concluded that CFP is a regulated acronym or that companies can't use the words "certified financial planner" vs "Certified Financial Planner" when they do the certification themselves. Ameriprise sales people are called "Ameriprise financial advisor".
There is no typical salary with the CFP®, as it helps gain client credibility in what is essentially an entrepreneurial position. Income potential is determined by the sales performance of the financial consultant, not by a salary scale.
http://www.investopedia.com/articles/pr ... choose.asp

I'm beginning to think all the talk of making fiduciary requirements isn't going to lead to anything all that useful. I think the wolves will quickly learn to take advantage of the large wiggle room left open for them. So whether reform happens or not, we're still going to have to look out for our own interests. "Trust, but verify"

http://articles.latimes.com/2010/may/23 ... n-20100523

GoFish
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Re: Vanguard/Schwab/Fidelity financial consulant

Post by GoFish » Wed Mar 09, 2016 11:36 pm

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
JGG wrote:
inbox788 wrote: My Private Client guy at Fidelity is a CFP. As such, he has a fiduciary duty for, at least, financial planning services.
Are you sure? (I have a private client advisor who gets to call me 3 times a year and I get to tell him that I need nothing from him).
Not sure. Going by this:

https://www.cfp.net/for-cfp-professiona ... ciary-duty

Jim

traveltoomuch
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Re: Vanguard/Schwab/Fidelity financial consulant

Post by traveltoomuch » Thu Mar 10, 2016 12:05 am

duckcalldan wrote:Is Schwab or Fidelity capable of giving advice consistent with a Bogleheads philosophy?
Yes, but they may conveniently overlook things. Example: they might advocate for rolling an old 401k into an IRA without telling you about the risk of blocking the backdoor Roth option. (Which could be preserved by leaving the 401k intact or rolling it into another 401k.)

And you could get some good tidbits, like the one LeeMKE retold above: "a young advisor at Fidelity noticed something I was overlooking, moving IRA to Roth while we were in the 15% bracket. We've had a few years in which I could begin moving funds at lower tax rates than we'll have as soon as DH retires."

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