Vanguard vs Fidelity representatives

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Dead Man Walking
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Vanguard vs Fidelity representatives

Post by Dead Man Walking » Fri Jul 27, 2018 1:53 am

My wife recently decided to transfer her Roth IRA account from Fidelity to Vanguard. Since she has a Vanguard Roth IRA mutual fund account, she tried to do the transfer via the internet. Transfers via the internet required establishing a new brokerage account which she did not want to do. Consequently, she telephoned Vanguard and was advised to either download the transfer kit or receive it via snail mail. She chose snail mail. When the transfer kit arrived, she had no problem completing the form until she reached the last page. The last page is the signature page. The instructions inform the investor that some custodians require a Medallion signature guarantee. Since she didn't know if Fidelity required a Medallion signature guarantee, she contacted Fidelity to ask if it was required. The Fidelity representative told her to contact Vanguard to determine if it was necessary. He obviously didn't know what his company required. She called Vanguard to determine whether the signature guarantee was required. The rep with whom she spoke checked Vanguard's history with transfers from Fidelity and told her that it didn't appear to be necessary. Since the Fidelity rep wasn't sure if it was required, she secured a Medallion signature guarantee at our bank in order to expedite the transfer. The Vanguard rep made the effort to answer her question by checking the history of transfers from Fidelity. The Fidelity rep didn't know the policy of his company. This post is a response to the posts here that Vanguard representatives are inferior to Fidelity representatives.

DMW o

jjface
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Re: Vanguard vs Fidelity representatives

Post by jjface » Fri Jul 27, 2018 3:11 am

And yet if she was going vanguard to fidelity it would have been super easy. In my experience fidelity are far more competent at transfers. The fact you had to fill out a paper form says it all.

I doubt you can generalise from one event anyway. But yes good to know the vanguard rep was doing a good job.

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Stinky
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Re: Vanguard vs Fidelity representatives

Post by Stinky » Fri Jul 27, 2018 3:28 am

So many interactions like this are based upon the basic competence of the people you are dealing with. Some are very good; some are not so good.

I'm sure that both VG and Fidelity try to train their people to a high level of effectiveness and efficiency. But there are variations in quality of employees within all businesses.

In my experience, I've found many competent people at both firms. And a few not so competent.
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Beehave
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Re: Vanguard vs Fidelity representatives

Post by Beehave » Fri Jul 27, 2018 3:54 am

I've experienced deliberate obfuscation (if not deliberate misinformation) and upselling efforts from Fidelity. I've never experienced anything like this, from Vanguard reps.

A Fidelity rep refused to inform me about mortgage-backed securities in one of their money market funds when there were first stirrings that there might be problems. Instead, he tried to get me to transfer additional funds into Fidelity.

During a late-career job change that was a major upheaval for me, I contacted Vanguard's annuity sales team about whether purchasing an immediate annuity from them would make sense for me at that time. They recommended against it.

For me, there was a big difference in service and intent at key moments. Vanguard was dedicated to looking out for me. The others - - not.

This experience is years old - - Vanguard has not changed. I've not relied on Fidelity since to know whether or not they have changed.

P.S. It ended up that Fido indeed did have mortgage backed securities in that money market fund that they led me to believe was clean of them. The quarterly statement I got months later when the stuff hit the fan was that performance of the Fidelity fund was lower than average because of the mortgage-backed securties held by the fund (it did not break the buck, however). Incidentally, in the same time period, Vanguard's money market quarterly report indicated better-than-average performance and one reason was, paraphrasing the quarterly report, "we didn't own any of that mortgage-backed security junk."

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oldcomputerguy
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Re: Vanguard vs Fidelity representatives

Post by oldcomputerguy » Fri Jul 27, 2018 5:02 am

jjface wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 3:11 am
And yet if she was going vanguard to fidelity it would have been super easy. In my experience fidelity are far more competent at transfers. The fact you had to fill out a paper form says it all.
Some things require a paper form no matter the custodian. To give my wife POA over my IRA at Fidelity, I had to download a paper form, fill it out, and turn it in at a local Fidelity office in person.
"I’ve come around to this: If you’re dumb, surround yourself with smart people; and if you’re smart, surround yourself with smart people who disagree with you." (Aaron Sorkin)

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AtlasShrugged?
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Re: Vanguard vs Fidelity representatives

Post by AtlasShrugged? » Fri Jul 27, 2018 5:56 am

I am a Fidelity customer. I will say that whenever I have called Fidelity, I have received stellar customer service.

In terms of plain vanilla index funds, I really don't think there is much of a difference now between VG, Fidelity or Blackrock. The ERs are more or less the same, the turnover rates are not terribly dissimilar. To me, what else is there to differentiate? Answer: Customer Service.

All things being equal, I stay with Fidelity: It is convenient, nice low ERs, best customer service I have experience in this space (investment companies)
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Re: Vanguard vs Fidelity representatives

Post by bondsr4me » Fri Jul 27, 2018 7:07 am

AtlasShrugged? wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 5:56 am
I am a Fidelity customer. I will say that whenever I have called Fidelity, I have received stellar customer service.

In terms of plain vanilla index funds, I really don't think there is much of a difference now between VG, Fidelity or Blackrock. The ERs are more or less the same, the turnover rates are not terribly dissimilar. To me, what else is there to differentiate? Answer: Customer Service.

All things being equal, I stay with Fidelity: It is convenient, nice low ERs, best customer service I have experience in this space (investment companies)
+1

I agree.
A person can't go wrong with any of Vanguard, Fidelity, or Schwab.
They are all good in their own respects.

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Re: Vanguard vs Fidelity representatives

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Fri Jul 27, 2018 7:18 am

I have transferred from Fidelity to Vanguard once (not the entire account).

I have transferred for myself and my wife something like 8 accounts from other various institutions.

My experiences:

Fidelity to Vanguard, done simply by speaking with Vanguard. Vanguard sent me a snail mail huge packet of forms. I filled them all out, including a paper copy of my Fidelity statement. About ready to send, I received another huge packet of other forms that Vanguard forgot to send. Understandable because I'm sure they don't do more than 1 or 2 of these a year (/sarcasm). I filled in all the forms and sent them in. I cannot remember if I needed anything notarized as my credit union will notarize anything for free. I know I've never had a Royal Crown Medallion Grand Pubah signature guarantee because I've never been required to get one for anyone.

With about 5 of my transfers into Fidelity, I filled in the forms online, attached a statement online, printed out the signature pages only, signed them, scanned them in as a pdf attached to my form online and simply waited until the "from" institution completed the transfer.

With the other transfers to Fidelity, the "from" institution needed hard copy forms signed. I remember none even needing to be notarized. One from New York Life was 19 pages long and extremely confusing. I brought it to a Fidelity brick and mortar store (my only visit to one of these ever) and the counter person filled it out for me and just in case they needed it notarized, they notarized it. They addressed the envelope to send the form to the correct New York Life address and listed the correct Fidelity address on the NYL form. We snail mailed the form and the $3k account transferred to Fidelity some weeks later.
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lukestuckenhymer
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Re: Vanguard vs Fidelity representatives

Post by lukestuckenhymer » Fri Jul 27, 2018 4:48 pm

jjface wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 3:11 am
And yet if she was going vanguard to fidelity it would have been super easy. In my experience fidelity are far more competent at transfers. The fact you had to fill out a paper form says it all.
I did a Fidelity to Vanguard IRA transfer in March. No paper was required.

However, transferring an IRA CD was much harder to transfer to Vanguard. I had to speak with at least three Vanguard reps before they could even get me the right form. Weeks later, it finally culminated with me having to have both brokerages on the phone to verify information and confirm the transfer. Why was this so complicated?

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Re: Vanguard vs Fidelity representatives

Post by arcticpineapplecorp. » Fri Jul 27, 2018 4:54 pm

lukestuckenhymer wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 4:48 pm
jjface wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 3:11 am
And yet if she was going vanguard to fidelity it would have been super easy. In my experience fidelity are far more competent at transfers. The fact you had to fill out a paper form says it all.
I did a Fidelity to Vanguard IRA transfer in March. No paper was required.

However, transferring an IRA CD was much harder to transfer to Vanguard. I had to speak with at least three Vanguard reps before they could even get me the right form. Weeks later, it finally culminated with me having to have both brokerages on the phone to verify information and confirm the transfer. Why was this so complicated?
I had a different experience. A few months ago I helped my mother move her two IRAs (one Trad and one Roth) that were both in CDs but at two different banks (one Trad IRA CD at one bank and one Roth IRA CD at a different bank. Don't ask. I'll never understand why people complicate things the way they do).

Vanguard spent time on the phone with me to make sure I understood all the paperwork they sent. We had to do two separate packets for the two banks and Vanguard checked while I was on the phone with them whether the medallion signature was needed, which Vanguard said it wasn't. And Vanguard was right. Everything went smoothly. Vanguard even told us not to deal with the banks, that Vanguard would take care of everything once they received our paperwork, which they did (take care of everything). We had no discusssions/signatures, etc. with the banks at all. The transfer occurred quicker than we were told. The only snag was my mother made a mistake on one form, crossed it out and didn't think to initial it. So when Vanguard received the paperwork, they couldn't process it and had to resend it to us to complete it again. Otherwise, it was a pleasant experience and I wasn't expecting it to go smoothly, but was pleasantly surprised.
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FIREchief
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Re: Vanguard vs Fidelity representatives

Post by FIREchief » Fri Jul 27, 2018 5:45 pm

Dead Man Walking wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 1:53 am
Since she didn't know if Fidelity required a Medallion signature guarantee, she contacted Fidelity to ask if it was required. The Fidelity representative told her to contact Vanguard to determine if it was necessary. He obviously didn't know what his company required.
I don't believe that the Fidelity rep was incorrect. Since Vanguard was intending to "pull" the funds out of Fidelity, any risk of liability for a fraudulent transaction likely resided on the Vanguard side. It is incumbent on VG to ensure that the person making the request is who they say they are, so that is likely why Fidelity deferred back to Vanguard to answer the question. This is not uncommon.

As others have suggested, the account transfer staff at Fidelity is exceptional, and when working through them things have always worked great. I once had a Fidelity xfer rep call me and get me on a three way conversation with Vanguard because Vanguard was being very stubborn about a transfer out. All the correct forms/signatures were in place; VG just didn't believe that I really wanted to make the transfer out. Why? I have no clue. :confused
I am not a lawyer, accountant or financial advisor. Any advice or suggestions that I may provide shall be considered for entertainment purposes only.

PinotGris
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Re: Vanguard vs Fidelity representatives

Post by PinotGris » Fri Jul 27, 2018 6:14 pm

I have had great experience with every one of reps, save one. They change every year unfortunately but each of them have been efficient, know my accounts and our needs, and super helpful. The one bad experience - he was quickly replaced with an excellent rep.
My experience with Fidelity where my spouse had his 401K (since rolled over to Vanguard, thank you) has left me with total dissatisfaction - trying to sell us stuff we don't need, even after specifically telling them no annuities, and only low cost index funds.
They are not Boglehead friendly for sure.

Scotttheking
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Re: Vanguard vs Fidelity representatives

Post by Scotttheking » Fri Jul 27, 2018 7:00 pm

Dead Man Walking wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 1:53 am
My wife recently decided to transfer her Roth IRA account from Fidelity to Vanguard. Since she has a Vanguard Roth IRA mutual fund account, she tried to do the transfer via the internet. Transfers via the internet required establishing a new brokerage account which she did not want to do. Consequently, she telephoned Vanguard and was advised to either download the transfer kit or receive it via snail mail. She chose snail mail. When the transfer kit arrived, she had no problem completing the form until she reached the last page. The last page is the signature page. The instructions inform the investor that some custodians require a Medallion signature guarantee. Since she didn't know if Fidelity required a Medallion signature guarantee, she contacted Fidelity to ask if it was required. The Fidelity representative told her to contact Vanguard to determine if it was necessary. He obviously didn't know what his company required. She called Vanguard to determine whether the signature guarantee was required. The rep with whom she spoke checked Vanguard's history with transfers from Fidelity and told her that it didn't appear to be necessary. Since the Fidelity rep wasn't sure if it was required, she secured a Medallion signature guarantee at our bank in order to expedite the transfer. The Vanguard rep made the effort to answer her question by checking the history of transfers from Fidelity. The Fidelity rep didn't know the policy of his company. This post is a response to the posts here that Vanguard representatives are inferior to Fidelity representatives.

DMW o
If the paperwork was going to Vanguard, I think Vanguard is the one to answer the signature guarantee question, hence Fidelity telling you to call them. It seems that Fidelity gave you the right answer.

DippityDoo
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Re: Vanguard vs Fidelity representatives

Post by DippityDoo » Fri Jul 27, 2018 7:45 pm

jjface wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 3:11 am
And yet if she was going vanguard to fidelity it would have been super easy.
Yes. I did this recently by initiating a transfer via the Fidelity web site. It was fast and easy.

At Fidelity, I've had only one problem, and it was handled swiftly and to my satisfaction. They were professional and apologetic. At Vanguard, the errors have been too numerous to recount here in a pro-Vanguard forum. I've had both positive and negative encounters with their customer service staff. What I've learned from this is that Vanguard excels in funds and Fidelity excels as a retail brokerage/custodian. I have the best of both worlds holding my Vanguard funds at Fido.

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Dead Man Walking
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Re: Vanguard vs Fidelity representatives

Post by Dead Man Walking » Sat Jul 28, 2018 1:06 am

Scotttheking wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 7:00 pm
If the paperwork was going to Vanguard, I think Vanguard is the one to answer the signature guarantee question, hence Fidelity telling you to call them. It seems that Fidelity gave you the right answer.
The cash was coming from Fidelity to Vanguard. It seems to me that the company releasing my money to another entity would require the signature guarantee.

DMW

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FIREchief
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Re: Vanguard vs Fidelity representatives

Post by FIREchief » Sat Jul 28, 2018 3:11 pm

Dead Man Walking wrote:
Sat Jul 28, 2018 1:06 am
Scotttheking wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 7:00 pm
If the paperwork was going to Vanguard, I think Vanguard is the one to answer the signature guarantee question, hence Fidelity telling you to call them. It seems that Fidelity gave you the right answer.
The cash was coming from Fidelity to Vanguard. It seems to me that the company releasing my money to another entity would require the signature guarantee.

DMW
As several of us have suggested, I believe you are mistaken about that. If you aren't who you say you are, then it will be VG who covers the loss. It is incumbent upon them to confirm your identity.
I am not a lawyer, accountant or financial advisor. Any advice or suggestions that I may provide shall be considered for entertainment purposes only.

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