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Flagship Reps

Posted: Sat Jan 14, 2017 10:04 pm
by Bonnan
Say good by to a dedicated rep unless you have 5M or greater in the account. 1M is no longer enough as they are raising the bar.
Just another notch down in customer service.

Re: Flafship Reps

Posted: Sat Jan 14, 2017 10:09 pm
by rob
Reference?

Re: Flafship Reps

Posted: Sat Jan 14, 2017 10:23 pm
by RudyS
Notice from Vanguard yesterday. But I didn't see anything about that $5MM. I will now have a Flagship group answer the phone. No big deal, mostly my guy wasn't immediately available so I spoke with whomever. Occasionally I got a new guy who was replaced before I ever even called.

Re: Flafship Reps

Posted: Sat Jan 14, 2017 10:26 pm
by The Wizard
Flagship, not flafship...

Re: Flafship Reps

Posted: Sat Jan 14, 2017 10:35 pm
by indexfundfan
From email:
We want to make you aware of a change to how you'll interact with Flagship Services. Within the next few weeks, you’ll have direct access to a team of Flagship representatives rather than working exclusively with your assigned representative. You'll still receive the same level of service you've come to expect from our reps ...

Re: Flafship Reps

Posted: Sat Jan 14, 2017 10:42 pm
by PFInterest
What is a flafship?

Re: Flafship Reps

Posted: Sat Jan 14, 2017 10:52 pm
by The Wizard
PFInterest wrote:What is a flafship?
I'm not sure, but it's not worth paying an extra twenty-five cents a month for.
Admiral shares in everything is just fine...

Re: Flafship Reps

Posted: Sat Jan 14, 2017 10:59 pm
by rob
.....you’ll have direct access to a team of Flagship representatives rather than working exclusively with your assigned representative
lol - I love the implication that it's better for you while taking away something..... I would love some honesty for a change. Does seem like another step in the benefit inflation... I guess this huge market is causing too many people to qualify.

Re: Flafship Reps

Posted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 12:02 am
by The Wizard
rob wrote:
.....you’ll have direct access to a team of Flagship representatives rather than working exclusively with your assigned representative
lol - I love the implication that it's better for you while taking away something..... I would love some honesty for a change. Does seem like another step in the benefit inflation... I guess this huge market is causing too many people to qualify.
What are they taking away?
Are you losing 0.10% in Expense Ratio or something?
Or free turbo tax?
Or is it totally intangible?

Re: Flafship Reps

Posted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 12:18 am
by brad.clarkston
More than likely with the amount of growth the company has had in the last 5 years the old reps are swamped so they hired new guys they just can't trust by themselves yet so they put them all in a pool and the new learns on the run from the old.

Happens all the time in IT (my field).

Re: Flafship Reps

Posted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 12:22 am
by William4u
I hope I don't lose the nice professional photo of my rep on my vanguard front page. :happy

Re: Flagship Reps

Posted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 12:41 am
by JamesSFO
Hmm, I've not received any such notice. I still have my rep. There was an Aug 2016 thread on another forum about a similar message

http://www.early-retirement.org/forums/ ... 82937.html

So maybe they are doing this selectively?

Re: Flafship Reps

Posted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 12:43 am
by JamesSFO
Also Vanguard's web page is still saying personal rep for flagship

http://www.early-retirement.org/forums/ ... 82937.html

EDIT: Actually it no longer is specifically saying one specific Flagship rep...

Re: Flafship Reps

Posted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 12:49 am
by William4u
I still have my rep. Maybe we will get a group photo on our front page if and when we get a group of reps.

It is all rather silly for me, since I never call my rep. If I have questions I get good answers here.

Re: Flafship Reps

Posted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 1:27 am
by Prokofiev
I wont miss my Flagship rep. But I will miss the free TurboTax I have received for the past 10(?) years. The only real perk of Flagship.

Deleted

Posted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 2:17 am
by letsgobobby
Deleted

Re: Flafship Reps

Posted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 2:35 am
by Phineas J. Whoopee
I speak only for myself.

In terms of my relationship with Vanguard, and what they provide and how I value it, I'm happy with the services they offer everybody. Voyager, which one gets if household Vanguard assets held directly with them as opposed to through somebody else like a 401(k) administrator are at least $50,000, would provide slightly more convenience, but that's it.

The Voyager Super Duper Select enhancement wouldn't help me at all. The same goes for Flagship. Flagship Super Duper Select would help me no more than First Lord of the Admiralty and Mr. McNabb will spend all afternoon detailing your car by hand.

Others may appreciate and use the services. Some might revel in the prestige. If I told anybody which level I'm at it would be nothing other than bragging negative bragging self-aggrandizement self-deprecation an unjustified claim of moral superiority.

Vanguard status as a humble vegetable, that grows in the ground, meets my needs.

On the other hand, owning enough assets to qualify for Vanguard First Lord of the Admiralty Super Duper Select would help me a lot.

PJW

Re: Flafship Reps

Posted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 2:36 am
by FIREchief
So, reconciling several threads, it sounds like now instead of a specific rep not answering your call, it will be a whole team of reps not answering your call. :twisted:

Re: Flafship Reps

Posted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 4:11 am
by nalor511
I will not miss my flagship rep. I really, really, really miss the free tax software. I'm not sure I trust creditKarma with my tax data. Bring it back Vanguard!

Re: Flafship Reps

Posted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 5:13 am
by sambb
wow, unbelievable how bad it is getting at vanguard.

Re: Flafship Reps

Posted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 5:42 am
by trasmuss
I haven't received any notice yet but if the change is correct it won't bother me. I do feel it will make a difference to some, however. My sister enjoys having one rep. call her every year to make annual recommendations on asset allocation and RMD amounts. Talking to someone different (with perhaps different ideas) each year will be a reduction of services.

Being a skeptic I wonder if the change may be a way to encourage more people to go with their new personal advisor service? Perhaps too many people were using their Flagship Rep. as a substitute.

Re: Flagship Reps

Posted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 6:39 am
by HueyLD
I think Vanguard is getting so BIG now that it no longer cares about any customer with asset levels below $5 million. Maybe Vanguard just wants to run off all such pathetic small investors because they are nothing but money losers and pain in the neck.

Where is Saint Bogle when we need him?

Re: Flafship Reps

Posted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 7:25 am
by StevieG72
You have Bogleheads, who needs Flagship reps?

Low ER is the name of the game, Vangaurd can save on payroll and pass those savings on to us via lower ER's.

I am at Jon Boat level, but at least I have oars!

Re: Flafship Reps

Posted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 8:10 am
by Tycoon
Given my Flagship representatives change with the wind, I might as well have a team. I have yet to find value with this service.

Re: Flafship Reps

Posted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 8:16 am
by Quark
Bonnan wrote:Say good by to a dedicated rep unless you have 5M or greater in the account. 1M is no longer enough as they are raising the bar.
Just another notch down in customer service.
I don't see mention of a dedicated rep for above $5mm, just a relationship team. https://investor.vanguard.com/wealth-management/

As others have written, it probably doesn't matter.

Re: Flafship Reps

Posted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 8:20 am
by Sidney
sambb wrote:wow, unbelievable how bad it is getting at vanguard.
How often do you speak with your Flagship rep? Twice in last ten years for me.

Re: Flafship Reps

Posted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 8:27 am
by TheGreyingDuke
I have been flagship for years, not a big deal, certainly not a case of:
sambb wrote:wow, unbelievable how bad it is getting at vanguard.
The only time I think it helped was when I was in China for a year and my rep reimbursed me for some FedEx documents I had to send in to complete some matters for an estate for which I was personal representative.

Re: Flafship Reps

Posted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 8:29 am
by rob
The Wizard wrote: What are they taking away?
Are you losing 0.10% in Expense Ratio or something?
Or free turbo tax?
Or is it totally intangible?
In the past there were real benefits... For example, talking to a CFP on topics but that has already been cut in an effort to juice more dollars out of people with the AUM charges. Unlike most here, my rep has been the same and is decently knowledgable. I find the "team" (i.e. some random rep) less knowledgable and the general nbr truly hopeless. I only call when I have something that is not working (lost rollover, missing txn etc.), so having a specific person instead of allowing the random person run around has value to me.

Re: Flafship Reps

Posted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 8:33 am
by afan
I am not sure I have ever spoken with my flagship rep. On the rare occasions that I call I talk to whoever answers the phone. I always get a message that my rep is unavailable. Who cares? I have no idea who it is anyway.

But I care about low prices. How about two tiers? Basic level -deal with whoever at rock bottom prices. For a higher price you get your own rep. I know which one I would pick.

Re: Flafship Reps

Posted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 8:34 am
by cherijoh
Bonnan wrote:Say good by to a dedicated rep unless you have 5M or greater in the account. 1M is no longer enough as they are raising the bar.
Just another notch down in customer service.
How often did you talk to your specific flagship rep anyway? I think the move a few years ago to lower the minimum account values to get Admiral shares on index funds was far more material - and a benefit to far more investors. I am certainly willing to sacrifice an individual contact point for a rotating team as long as I get the rock-bottom expense ratios that VG offers.

Re: Flafship Reps

Posted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 8:34 am
by Quark
rob wrote:...In the past there were real benefits... For example, talking to a CFP on topics but that has already been cut...
I've found this board more knowledgeable and astute than any Vanguard CFP. What have you gotten from their CFPs that you couldn't get here?

Re: Flafship Reps

Posted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 8:37 am
by afan
I have tried the consultation with a CFP enough out of curiosity to think I have a good sample. Much more knowledgeable sources are available here on Bogleheads.

For free, the CFP access is worth what I am paying for it. I would not pay one basis point in expense ratio for the service.

Re: Flafship Reps

Posted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 8:49 am
by beyou
My perspective is that anytime a need can't be satisfied by an online interaction, that is a failing. I would rather they fix and improve the website and save money on CSRs.

Re: Flafship Reps

Posted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 9:11 am
by peppers
I watched a Vanguard broadcast discussion with CEO Bill McNabb and CIO Tim Buckley last night. Mr. McNabb stated that in 2016 Vanguard received close to 10 million phone calls. He went on to say that Vanguard was in the process of hiring 1700 new employees.

We'll have to see how this will all play out.

Re: Flafship Reps

Posted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 9:13 am
by stan1
Vanguard's website has been optimized over 20+ years now and just about everything that needs to be done is self-explanatory and requests through their website are mostly reliable and accurate. That's good and for me has mostly eliminated the need to interact with a person at Vanguard.

I do agree it is frustrating to have to dial into a call center when there is a problem and each time talk to a different phone rep who is only empowered to type into a ticketing system. My designated Flagship rep has never been available when I have called. I found the call center rep did not capture our conversation accurately or did not know additional information was needed. Instead of calling me to ask questions Vanguard waited for me to call back to ask for status several times until it got elevated in priority. That was frustrating. It's been a few years since I've had a problem that required human intervention but once my problem got elevated to someone who understood it and could work it I got his/her phone number and was able to interact directly.

Re: Flagship Reps

Posted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 9:20 am
by cherijoh
HueyLD wrote:I think Vanguard is getting so BIG now that it no longer cares about any customer with asset levels below $5 million. Maybe Vanguard just wants to run off all such pathetic small investors because they are nothing but money losers and pain in the neck.
Excuse me, but that statement is totally unsubstantiated. You can get rock bottom ERs (i.e., Admiral shares) with only $10K in an index fund. That is a far cry from $5 Million.

Re: Flagship Reps

Posted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 9:39 am
by LadyGeek
The Wizard wrote:Flagship, not flafship...
I fixed it, thanks.

Re: Flagship Reps

Posted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 10:32 am
by cinghiale
Thus far, no one has mentioned that you can always talk with your Flagship representative if you make an appointment. With just one day's lead time, I have found that my rep always has at least one time slot available. If something is more urgent, I can take my chances and talk with whichever rep is available. With so many Vanguard clients and with the online appointment reservation system, doesn't it make sense that your Flagship rep isn't just sitting there drumming his or her fingers on the desk, waiting for your particular call?

Re: Flagship Reps

Posted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 10:44 am
by jebmke
cinghiale wrote:Thus far, no one has mentioned that you can always talk with your Flagship representative if you make an appointment.
This is what I do. I also try to schedule time sensitive transactions (like a ROTH conversion) with enough recovery time to enable me to reach them by phone if I need to do some corrective action. So, I don't leave my ROTH conversion to the last week of December. If I am donating shares to my DAF, I don't wait until the last week before their cutoff.

Re: Flagship Reps

Posted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 11:37 am
by Geologist
I’m more interested in having continuity when I have an issue than in having a single representative listed as the “contact.” However, my need for contacts are rare enough and turnover in the assigned rep has been frequent enough that some have come and gone without our having any interaction.

As with others, I have contacted my representative to make an appointment or by secure email most of the time. That works better than a cold call that understandably might arrive when the rep is busy.

Dealing with Vanguard has its annoyances (but this is true of every financial institution with which I do business). The nature of Flagship reps is not one of them.

Re: Flagship Reps

Posted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 11:48 am
by jebmke
My contacts have always been non-urgent. I try to summarize "on paper" my issue and questions and attach a PDF to my request for an appointment. That way, the rep has time to do some homework. I have some questions this year about consolidating and re-titling some accounts. I'll do the same - type it up, create a PDF and attach it to an secure email. This can save time. One time we had some specific issues around an inherited IRA so the rep arranged for their IRA specialist to be available for the call. We handled the whole issue with one 20 minute call.

Re: Flafship Reps

Posted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 1:04 pm
by furwut
Prokofiev wrote:I wont miss my Flagship rep. But I will miss the free TurboTax I have received for the past 10(?) years. The only real perk of Flagship.
I think that's gone now anyway isn't it?

I wonder if Vanguard hasn't used its pool of experienced Flagship Advisors to fulfill its need for Personal Service Advisors. Like others above I'd rely more on the group wisdom of this forum in addition to or in lieu of that of the current Vanguard advisors.

Re: Flafship Reps

Posted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 1:08 pm
by House Blend
Quark wrote:
rob wrote:...In the past there were real benefits... For example, talking to a CFP on topics but that has already been cut...
I've found this board more knowledgeable and astute than any Vanguard CFP. What have you gotten from their CFPs that you couldn't get here?
I haven't used the CFP service. However,...

Some people may be more willing to share income details, state of residence, age, profession, employer (for details about what's available in their 401(k)) with a CFP than in a public semi-anonymous forum.

Re: Flagship Reps

Posted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 1:16 pm
by HueyLD
For those who use the appointment method currently to access dedicated reps: you will likely lose that privilege once you no longer have one specifically assigned to you. Of course the new system does not apply to Flagship Select customers.

Re: Flagship Reps

Posted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 1:21 pm
by House Blend
HueyLD wrote:For those who use the appointment method currently to access dedicated reps: you will likely lose that privilege once you no longer have one specifically assigned to you. Of course the new system does not apply to Flagship Select customers.
FWIW, the email I received about this last week said
If at any time you'd like to have an assigned representative again, please let us know.
Seems to me that folks who want to keep their rep can continue to do so. Unclear to me whether this is a grandfathering situation--perhaps new arrivals to Flagship won't get this option?

Re: Flafship Reps

Posted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 1:28 pm
by rob
House Blend wrote:
Quark wrote:
rob wrote:...In the past there were real benefits... For example, talking to a CFP on topics but that has already been cut...
I've found this board more knowledgeable and astute than any Vanguard CFP. What have you gotten from their CFPs that you couldn't get here?
I haven't used the CFP service. However,...

Some people may be more willing to share income details, state of residence, age, profession, employer (for details about what's available in their 401(k)) with a CFP than in a public semi-anonymous forum.
Yeah.... I used them a couple of time when I already was pretty certain about the answer but wanted a confirmation and a second check without the hassle of making up stuff for a public forum (I know you can request a 2nd id here for specific questions but still).

Re: Flagship Reps

Posted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 1:33 pm
by Nicolas
I am Flagship level and it means nothing to me. I liked the free Turbotax but that's already been gone for awhile. To me it's a nonevent.

Re: Flagship Reps

Posted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 6:36 pm
by Phineas J. Whoopee
HueyLD wrote:For those who use the appointment method currently to access dedicated reps: you will likely lose that privilege once you no longer have one specifically assigned to you. Of course the new system does not apply to Flagship Select customers.
Now I get it. The definition of rich and privileged is anyone whose net worth is substantially greater than mine.
PJW

Re: Flafship Reps

Posted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 6:51 pm
by Mel Lindauer
Prokofiev wrote:I wont miss my Flagship rep. But I will miss the free TurboTax I have received for the past 10(?) years. The only real perk of Flagship.
Based on the comments on this thread, you're not alone in missing the free TurboTax. Add my name to that list, too.

Re: Flafship Reps

Posted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 7:02 pm
by brad.clarkston
Mel Lindauer wrote:
Prokofiev wrote:I wont miss my Flagship rep. But I will miss the free TurboTax I have received for the past 10(?) years. The only real perk of Flagship.
Based on the comments on this thread, you're not alone in missing the free TurboTax. Add my name to that list, too.
I just have to stir the pot here a bit ...
I got my free Premier copy over at Fidelity as a Premium Services customer ($250k+) not Private ($1mil club) ;)