Vanguard Advertising Mutual Fund to ETF Conversion

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Lucere
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Vanguard Advertising Mutual Fund to ETF Conversion

Post by Lucere » Wed Jun 26, 2019 11:12 am

If you log on to Vanguard recently, the first thing you see is a screen pushing you to convert certain mutual funds (e.g., VTSAX) to their ETF equivalent (e.g., VTI). They're advertising lower ERs (e.g., .03 vs. .04) for the ETF versions, etc. Other than that, what advantage is there to convert to ETFs for the consumer? Similarly, what advantage is there for Vanguard, and why would they want to push this?

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mhc
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Re: Vanguard Advertising Mutual Fund to ETF Conversion

Post by mhc » Wed Jun 26, 2019 11:15 am

How do you know they are pushing this rather than them informing you of a potential benefit?

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Lucere
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Re: Vanguard Advertising Mutual Fund to ETF Conversion

Post by Lucere » Wed Jun 26, 2019 11:21 am

mhc wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 11:15 am
How do you know they are pushing this rather than them informing you of a potential benefit?
It's just how it was framed. For me, they presented me with a pop up that I had to click off of before I was able to proceed to what I wanted to do at that moment (i.e., add another bank account to my account). From a UX/UI perspective, that is indeed pushing because it forces the user to see it and to take an action to not see it. Regardless of whether their intention is simply to inform me of a potential benefit, which it might simply be, that type of information framing always makes me question motives and what is best for all parties involved (as should any investment behavior with any broker).
Last edited by Lucere on Wed Jun 26, 2019 11:22 am, edited 1 time in total.

Silence Dogood
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Re: Vanguard Advertising Mutual Fund to ETF Conversion

Post by Silence Dogood » Wed Jun 26, 2019 11:21 am

I haven't logged on recently, but if Vanguard is doing this it definitely seems like they are trying to "nudge" people in that direction.

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FIREchief
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Re: Vanguard Advertising Mutual Fund to ETF Conversion

Post by FIREchief » Wed Jun 26, 2019 11:24 am

Lucere wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 11:12 am
Other than that, what advantage is there to convert to ETFs for the consumer?
Portability. Whole ETF shares can easily be moved to another custodian if the consumer grows tired of VG's systems and customer service.
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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Re: Vanguard Advertising Mutual Fund to ETF Conversion

Post by Silence Dogood » Wed Jun 26, 2019 11:27 am

I think Vanguard would do itself a favor by being more transparent about what their intentions are. It seems like they try to nudge things in a not-so-subtle way that simply arouses suspicions, rather than just stating the reasons why.

For example, with the switch to brokerage accounts, Vanguard was always very unclear about whether it would be mandatory or not, and even offered SIPC insurance as an "incentive" to switch (which was pretty disingenuous).

Vanguard, do yourself a favor and be more straightforward!

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Re: Vanguard Advertising Mutual Fund to ETF Conversion

Post by bgreat » Wed Jun 26, 2019 11:28 am

Lucere wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 11:12 am
If you log on to Vanguard recently, the first thing you see is a screen pushing you to convert certain mutual funds (e.g., VTSAX) to their ETF equivalent (e.g., VTI). They're advertising lower ERs (e.g., .03 vs. .04) for the ETF versions, etc. Other than that, what advantage is there to convert to ETFs for the consumer? Similarly, what advantage is there for Vanguard, and why would they want to push this?
Cheaper to administer. With funds, the fund operator needs to track ownership and other bookkeeping, perform purchases/sales every day (i.e. more trading costs), etc. With ETF's: bookkeeping is done by the broker, trades are outsourced and probably happen less frequently (see e.g. the unit creation process for ETF's), etc.

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Re: Vanguard Advertising Mutual Fund to ETF Conversion

Post by Lucere » Wed Jun 26, 2019 11:29 am

Silence Dogood wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 11:27 am
I think Vanguard would do itself a favor by being more transparent about what their intentions are. It seems like they try to nudge things in a not-so-subtle way that simply arouses suspicions, rather than just stating the reasons why.

For example, with the switch to brokerage accounts, Vanguard was always very unclear about whether it would be mandatory or not, and even offered SIPC insurance as an "incentive" to switch (which was pretty disingenuous).

Vanguard, do yourself a favor and be more straightforward!
I agree. I remember when they were doing the switch to brokerage accounts. It didn't bother me, because they provided accompanying documents that explained everything clearly if one was inclined to read it. But I also recall a lot of people on here up in arms about it as well, to the point where they went to other brokers instead.

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Re: Vanguard Advertising Mutual Fund to ETF Conversion

Post by livesoft » Wed Jun 26, 2019 11:46 am

Lucere wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 11:12 am
If you log on to Vanguard recently, the first thing you see is a screen pushing you to convert certain mutual funds (e.g., VTSAX) to their ETF equivalent (e.g., VTI). They're advertising lower ERs (e.g., .03 vs. .04) for the ETF versions, etc. Other than that, what advantage is there to convert to ETFs for the consumer? Similarly, what advantage is there for Vanguard, and why would they want to push this?
They are demonstrating that they have fiduciary duty to their clients. If they didn't tell their clients that the clients could get a lower expense ratio investment for the exact same thing, then they could be sued.
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Re: Vanguard Advertising Mutual Fund to ETF Conversion

Post by Vulcan » Wed Jun 26, 2019 11:54 am

livesoft wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 11:46 am
They are demonstrating that they have fiduciary duty to their clients. If they didn't tell their clients that the clients could get a lower expense ratio investment for the exact same thing, then they could be sued.
Leaving Vanguard's motivations aside, I would question whether MF and ETF are the "exact same thing".
They clearly are not.

I do not think anyone eclipsed this classic post from ogd illustrating the difference, so I just refer to it whenever someone asks:

viewtopic.php?t=148757#p2223489
If you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything. ~Ronald Coase

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Re: Vanguard Advertising Mutual Fund to ETF Conversion

Post by livesoft » Wed Jun 26, 2019 11:58 am

OK, maybe it is prelude to raising the expense ratios on the mutual funds? :twisted:
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Re: Vanguard Advertising Mutual Fund to ETF Conversion

Post by schooner » Wed Jun 26, 2019 12:07 pm

I hope someone at Vanguard is reading these threads. I’m very unhappy as a long time customer. And I’d have no problem converting my shares to ETFs... and moving to Schwab and investing in their low cost mutual funds.

It’s so perplexing that Bogleheads of all people would embrace ETFs and joke about raising the expense ratio on mutual funds.

What a sad state of affairs

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Re: Vanguard Advertising Mutual Fund to ETF Conversion

Post by arf30 » Wed Jun 26, 2019 12:57 pm

Is there an online process to do the conversion now, or did the popup ask you to call customer service?

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Re: Vanguard Advertising Mutual Fund to ETF Conversion

Post by Vulcan » Wed Jun 26, 2019 1:01 pm

arf30 wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 12:57 pm
Is there an online process to do the conversion now, or did the popup ask you to call customer service?
There's always been an online process for that.
If you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything. ~Ronald Coase

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Re: Vanguard Advertising Mutual Fund to ETF Conversion

Post by Vulcan » Wed Jun 26, 2019 1:02 pm

schooner wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 12:07 pm
I hope someone at Vanguard is reading these threads. I’m very unhappy as a long time customer. And I’d have no problem converting my shares to ETFs... and moving to Schwab and investing in their low cost mutual funds.

It’s so perplexing that Bogleheads of all people would embrace ETFs and joke about raising the expense ratio on mutual funds.

What a sad state of affairs
What are you unhappy about?
Their MF ERs, and the Admiral shares minimums, are the lowest they've ever been!
If you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything. ~Ronald Coase

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Re: Vanguard Advertising Mutual Fund to ETF Conversion

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Wed Jun 26, 2019 1:04 pm

schooner wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 12:07 pm
I hope someone at Vanguard is reading these threads. I’m very unhappy as a long time customer. And I’d have no problem converting my shares to ETFs... and moving to Schwab and investing in their low cost mutual funds.

It’s so perplexing that Bogleheads of all people would embrace ETFs and joke about raising the expense ratio on mutual funds.

What a sad state of affairs
The Head Boglehead had no issues with investing in broad-based ETFs that followed indexes, and were bought to hold. Why shouldn't a Boglehead embrace his advice?

Any change will shake loose a few people. Collateral damage and all. Businesses need to change over time. Those who don't might not be around as long as they might have been if they had embraced change. A market opportunity missed might cost dearly. For example, consider where Vanguard would be today, had Mr Bogle accepted the gift of ETFs when the new product was first offered to Vanguard.

Vanguard probably lost a few accounts with Fidelity zero funds, and a few accounts by discontinuing VanguardAdvantage, and there will be some leaving because of Vanguard exiting their VA administration activities. Probably some as they push harder for brokerage accounts, and already we have witnessed the wailing and gnashing of teeth when Vanguard lowered some ETF's ERs lower than the equivalent mutual funds Admiral ERs. Could be there be further reductions in ETF ERs? I certainly hope so. In equities portion of portfolio, I'm all in.

Very long-term If enough people move to ETFs, it could be possible mutual funds could see ERs increase. I wouldn't place a penny bet on that happening, but Vanguard has raised mutual funds ERs on occasion. No guarantees to never raise ERs I'm aware of.

The beautiful thing about all this is Vanguard's business plan has resulted in other companies offering pretty good, certainly acceptable substitutes for Vanguard funds/ETFs. Anyone who enjoys lower costs have Vanguard to partially thank. Certainly other firms assisted in the endeavor to lower investment expenses for individual investors.

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Last edited by Broken Man 1999 on Wed Jun 26, 2019 1:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Vanguard Advertising Mutual Fund to ETF Conversion

Post by aristotelian » Wed Jun 26, 2019 1:04 pm

Lucere wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 11:12 am
If you log on to Vanguard recently, the first thing you see is a screen pushing you to convert certain mutual funds (e.g., VTSAX) to their ETF equivalent (e.g., VTI). They're advertising lower ERs (e.g., .03 vs. .04) for the ETF versions, etc. Other than that, what advantage is there to convert to ETFs for the consumer? Similarly, what advantage is there for Vanguard, and why would they want to push this?
I am not seeing this. Got a link? I would be interested in converting some random shares of VIGAX to VUG.

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Re: Vanguard Advertising Mutual Fund to ETF Conversion

Post by stan1 » Wed Jun 26, 2019 1:10 pm

Vulcan wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 1:02 pm
Their MF ERs, and the Admiral shares minimums, are the lowest they've ever been!
I think that's part of the problem for some people. There may still be some people expecting Nordstrom service at Walmart prices. Overall Vanguard's vision isn't to provide the best value or best service. They've chosen to be the lowest cost.

I've tried buying no-brand flavored water at my grocery store. It tastes awful. I buy Lacroix instead (but some flavors still are awful). I pay to upgrade to better seats on an airplane if I don't want a middle seat.

As far as Vanguard goes? I think they would be quite happy if you convert your Vanguard mutual funds to Vanguard ETFs and take them to Schwab. They get the efficiencies of your AUM in their products and can offload customer support to someone else.

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Re: Vanguard Advertising Mutual Fund to ETF Conversion

Post by Lucere » Wed Jun 26, 2019 1:41 pm

aristotelian wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 1:04 pm
Lucere wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 11:12 am
If you log on to Vanguard recently, the first thing you see is a screen pushing you to convert certain mutual funds (e.g., VTSAX) to their ETF equivalent (e.g., VTI). They're advertising lower ERs (e.g., .03 vs. .04) for the ETF versions, etc. Other than that, what advantage is there to convert to ETFs for the consumer? Similarly, what advantage is there for Vanguard, and why would they want to push this?
I am not seeing this. Got a link? I would be interested in converting some random shares of VIGAX to VUG.
I can't post a link to the page, because it's secure once I log in. Here's a link to the image I see (the forum won't let me embed the image):

https://imgur.com/4QF7Daz

Also, there's a link to a pdf in there that I didn't see before. Here's a link to the pdf (not sure if this will work):

https://www.vanguard.com/pdf/etfpdf.pdf ... XX:X:XX:XX

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Re: Vanguard Advertising Mutual Fund to ETF Conversion

Post by JackoC » Wed Jun 26, 2019 2:01 pm

livesoft wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 11:46 am
Lucere wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 11:12 am
If you log on to Vanguard recently, the first thing you see is a screen pushing you to convert certain mutual funds (e.g., VTSAX) to their ETF equivalent (e.g., VTI). They're advertising lower ERs (e.g., .03 vs. .04) for the ETF versions, etc. Other than that, what advantage is there to convert to ETFs for the consumer? Similarly, what advantage is there for Vanguard, and why would they want to push this?
They are demonstrating that they have fiduciary duty to their clients. If they didn't tell their clients that the clients could get a lower expense ratio investment for the exact same thing, then they could be sued.
I agree fundamentally. Legalistically I'm not sure they could be sued for not having some given level of visibility of notices that an ETF's ER is lower than 'convertible' Admiral MF shares. I mean if the info is on the website somewhere even if not popping up specifically when you log on. But I agree, the lower ER could benefit the client so a firm focused on client interest would make sure the client knew that. I'm puzzled why people would immediately assume it's something nefarious rather than that simplest of explanations. Skepticism about product and service providers in a market is appropriate to some extent but can get carried away and being suspicious of Vanguard for such notices would be an example of getting carried away IMO.

Not that doing the conversion would be ideal for *everyone*. But I've concluded for the fund I own which is convertible that I should convert, and will (I should have already: inertia). As with many ETF v MF discussions some posts seem to neglect that Vanguard ETF and MF shares are different claims on the same fund. They do not differ as much (in favor of ETF or MF) as some comparisons of ETF v MF from different fund companies. To the extent they do differ, the only realistic issue I see with Vang ETF's is slightly more hassle, noise (in intraday premium/discount) and potential commissions for new/re-investment trades (though I have essentially unlimited free trades at Vanguard). But since I'm in 'distribution phase', that's not relevant to me. Likewise to the extent I 'rebalance' I also don't do that by selling highly appreciated taxable MF or ETF shares, and that's what my large convertible position is. MF or ETF shares of that Vang fund will just sit there, appreciating I hope, and throw off distributions which I'll spend. A slightly lower ER makes me slightly more money, that's the difference most of the time.

Except, *if* I needed emergency liquidity I could transfer ETF shares to Interactive Brokers and borrow a moderate % of their value at a reasonable interest rate (Vanguard's margin rates aren't as terrible as most retail brokers but still higher than IB's) whereas you can't efficiently borrow against MF shares. That's where the liquidity argument between ETF and MF is sometimes given the wrong way around. ETF's can dip below NAV in a crisis, but you don't have to sell them to generate emergency cash, you can easily borrow against them. With MF's you do practically have to sell to generate emergency cash from them, which is a significant disadvantage if it's appreciated shares in taxable.

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Re: Vanguard Advertising Mutual Fund to ETF Conversion

Post by Vulcan » Wed Jun 26, 2019 2:37 pm

stan1 wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 1:10 pm
As far as Vanguard goes? I think they would be quite happy if you convert your Vanguard mutual funds to Vanguard ETFs and take them to Schwab. They get the efficiencies of your AUM in their products and can offload customer support to someone else.
Would both Vanguard and Schwab count it as AUM in that case?

P.S. You can have my VTWAX when you take it out of my cold dead hands. I've been on the ETF side, and I didn't like how the grass tasted.
If you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything. ~Ronald Coase

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Re: Vanguard Advertising Mutual Fund to ETF Conversion

Post by cheezit » Wed Jun 26, 2019 2:59 pm

Vulcan wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 11:54 am
livesoft wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 11:46 am
They are demonstrating that they have fiduciary duty to their clients. If they didn't tell their clients that the clients could get a lower expense ratio investment for the exact same thing, then they could be sued.
Leaving Vanguard's motivations aside, I would question whether MF and ETF are the "exact same thing".
They clearly are not.
I mean, I get that the purchase process is slightly different, but they are indeed different share classes of the same fund. Are BRK.A and BRK.B different things, too?

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Re: Vanguard Advertising Mutual Fund to ETF Conversion

Post by Vulcan » Wed Jun 26, 2019 3:03 pm

cheezit wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 2:59 pm
Vulcan wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 11:54 am
livesoft wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 11:46 am
They are demonstrating that they have fiduciary duty to their clients. If they didn't tell their clients that the clients could get a lower expense ratio investment for the exact same thing, then they could be sued.
Leaving Vanguard's motivations aside, I would question whether MF and ETF are the "exact same thing".
They clearly are not.
I mean, I get that the purchase process is slightly different, but they are indeed different share classes of the same fund. Are BRK.A and BRK.B different things, too?
It's not that just the process is different. The result is different, too.
You can't buy or redeem ETFs at NAV.
If you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything. ~Ronald Coase

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Re: Vanguard Advertising Mutual Fund to ETF Conversion

Post by vineviz » Wed Jun 26, 2019 3:18 pm

Vulcan wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 3:03 pm
It's not that just the process is different. The result is different, too.
You can't buy or redeem ETFs at NAV.
In truth, you can't actually buy or sell mutual fund shares at NAV either.

And, if you own enough ETF shares, you CAN actually just redeem your ETF shares in kind for the basket of underlying securities. That's as close to "redeeming at NAV" as you can get.
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Re: Vanguard Advertising Mutual Fund to ETF Conversion

Post by Vulcan » Wed Jun 26, 2019 3:26 pm

vineviz wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 3:18 pm
Vulcan wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 3:03 pm
It's not that just the process is different. The result is different, too.
You can't buy or redeem ETFs at NAV.
In truth, you can't actually buy or sell mutual fund shares at NAV either.
Well, yes, for international stocks they will fair-value adjust for closed markets, if that is what you are implying.
And, if you own enough ETF shares, you CAN actually just redeem your ETF shares in kind for the basket of underlying securities. That's as close to "redeeming at NAV" as you can get.
But then you are stuck with the same problem. Actually, more like 10,000 problems;)
If you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything. ~Ronald Coase

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Re: Vanguard Advertising Mutual Fund to ETF Conversion

Post by cheezit » Wed Jun 26, 2019 3:27 pm

Vulcan wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 3:03 pm
cheezit wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 2:59 pm
Vulcan wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 11:54 am
livesoft wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 11:46 am
They are demonstrating that they have fiduciary duty to their clients. If they didn't tell their clients that the clients could get a lower expense ratio investment for the exact same thing, then they could be sued.
Leaving Vanguard's motivations aside, I would question whether MF and ETF are the "exact same thing".
They clearly are not.
I mean, I get that the purchase process is slightly different, but they are indeed different share classes of the same fund. Are BRK.A and BRK.B different things, too?
It's not that just the process is different. The result is different, too.
You can't buy or redeem ETFs at NAV.
While that is true, I don't quite get what difference it makes. I update the family budget spreadsheet with my wife once monthly and figure out what purchases to make to keep our assets inside their allocation bands; this happens in the evening, and thus outside of trading hours. As a result, I have zero price certainty about either the three ETFs we hold nor the one mutual fund; they all could go up or down between decision time and purchase time. Given the spread on the ETFs is miniscule, and the discount/premium to NAV is minimal, the price difference between today's close that I'm looking at in hindsight and tomorrow's price (at about 10:00 for the ETFs, and the market's close for the mutual fund) absolutely blows all the other terms out of the water in terms of adding error.

And that being said, even the most thinly-traded thing I hold (VFQY) purchased in a small lot with a market order has gotten a price improvement every time I've pulled the trigger so far (obviously no guarantee of this going forward). I can get bitten much worse with the intraday price swing between 10:00 and the market close at 4:00 on the mutual fund purchase, and in either case the executed price can be much different than yesterday's closing price that I based my allocation math on.

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Re: Vanguard Advertising Mutual Fund to ETF Conversion

Post by Vulcan » Wed Jun 26, 2019 3:30 pm

Vulcan wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 3:26 pm
vineviz wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 3:18 pm
And, if you own enough ETF shares, you CAN actually just redeem your ETF shares in kind for the basket of underlying securities. That's as close to "redeeming at NAV" as you can get.
But then you are stuck with the same problem. Actually, more like 10,000 problems;)
And just to be clear, for VTI, you would need 100,000 shares, which is about $15 million at current prices.
I don't know about you, but I typically redeem in smaller chunks;)
Last edited by Vulcan on Wed Jun 26, 2019 3:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
If you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything. ~Ronald Coase

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Re: Vanguard Advertising Mutual Fund to ETF Conversion

Post by Vulcan » Wed Jun 26, 2019 3:37 pm

cheezit wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 3:27 pm
And that being said, even the most thinly-traded thing I hold (VFQY) purchased in a small lot with a market order has gotten a price improvement every time I've pulled the trigger so far (obviously no guarantee of this going forward). I can get bitten much worse with the intraday price swing between 10:00 and the market close at 4:00 on the mutual fund purchase, and in either case the executed price can be much different than yesterday's closing price that I based my allocation math on.
It's not about allocations. It's about paying a fair price with no trading hassles.

When you are buying ETFs, after jumping through all the hoops, you are still always doing it at a variable premium/discount to NAV.
For your example of VFQY, if you picked a bad time to trade, you could be off NAV over 1%.

https://www.etf.com/VFQY#tradability
Median Premium / Discount (12 Mo) 0.02%
Max. Premium / Discount (12 Mo) 1.39% / -1.16%

That dwarfs the ER differences between ETFs and MFs.
If you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything. ~Ronald Coase

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Re: Vanguard Advertising Mutual Fund to ETF Conversion

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Wed Jun 26, 2019 3:48 pm

So far as the price you pay, you have much more control of the price paid for buying an ETF or price received if selling an ETF than buying or selling a mutual fund.

I prefer knowing that price, to wondering what price I will get at end of day when the NAV is calculated for the mutual fund. That is simply my preference.

Nobody is being forced buy/exchange to ETFs to my knowledge.

And, reading this: "You could save money on your investments by converting a Vanguard index mutual fund you already own to its lower-cost ETF, tax-free." That is a pretty gentle info delivery.

Nice screen. I hope Vanguard continues to make customers aware of possible cost savings. Both Vanguard and the customer can benefit. Works for me. I don't get that initial screen, possibly because I already hold ETFs.

Broken Man 1999
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Re: Vanguard Advertising Mutual Fund to ETF Conversion

Post by cheezit » Wed Jun 26, 2019 3:50 pm

Vulcan, I don't agree with you on the magnitude of the marginal hassle of purchasing ETF shares over purchasing mutual fund shares, but I can see how one might feel that way. That being said:

If I purchase ETF shares at $x at 10:00 and at that moment NAV is $x * 0.99, I have "lost" 1% on those shares.

If I place an order for mutual fund shares at 10:00 and the NAV goes up by 1% between then and the market close, I have also "lost" 1% on those shares.

Furthermore, while I am skeptical that the 1% premium/discount on VFQY was anything that would have been seen during normal trading (a 50x higher than median premium/discount suuuure looks like somebody got bit placing a market order overnight), intraday price swings way larger than 1% happen all the time for VT/VTWAX. The "fairness" of the price doesn't matter - either way you end up with more or fewer shares in your account than you anticipated.

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Re: Vanguard Advertising Mutual Fund to ETF Conversion

Post by Vulcan » Wed Jun 26, 2019 3:59 pm

cheezit wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 3:50 pm
Vulcan, I don't agree with you on the magnitude of the marginal hassle of purchasing ETF shares over purchasing mutual fund shares, but I can see how one might feel that way. That being said:

If I purchase ETF shares at $x at 10:00 and at that moment NAV is $x * 0.99, I have "lost" 1% on those shares.

If I place an order for mutual fund shares at 10:00 and the NAV goes up by 1% between then and the market close, I have also "lost" 1% on those shares.

Furthermore, while I am skeptical that the 1% premium/discount on VFQY was anything that would have been seen during normal trading (a 50x higher than median premium/discount suuuure looks like somebody got bit placing a market order overnight), intraday price swings way larger than 1% happen all the time for VT/VTWAX. The "fairness" of the price doesn't matter - either way you end up with more or fewer shares in your account than you anticipated.
The fairness of the price matters to me.
I am averse to preventable losses.
I can not prevent (or avoid) intra-day market fluctuations, but I can buy at NAV much easier with MF than I can buy at "close enough to NAV" with ETFs.

If I plan to hold at Vanguard, then what is the benefit of ETF for me? The 0.01% ER difference that currently exists is less than premium/discount spread I would be exposed to.

I really recognize myself in ogd's description I posted a link to above.
I tried ETFs, and I did not like them. I was really happy to go back to MF once VTWAX Admiral shares became available.
I actually managed to make some money on the roundtrip, thanks to VT usually trading at a premium but getting exchanged into ETF by Vanguard at NAV. But I will not do it again.
If you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything. ~Ronald Coase

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Re: Vanguard Advertising Mutual Fund to ETF Conversion

Post by Silence Dogood » Wed Jun 26, 2019 4:00 pm

stan1 wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 1:10 pm
As far as Vanguard goes? I think they would be quite happy if you convert your Vanguard mutual funds to Vanguard ETFs and take them to Schwab. They get the efficiencies of your AUM in their products and can offload customer support to someone else.
How does Schwab cover the costs to administer (let alone make a profit on) an account if their client is fully invested in low-cost Vanguard ETFs?

By up-selling higher cost products?

If so, if Vanguard is "quite happy" to see their funds held elsewhere, is Vanguard really "giving investors the best chance for investment success"? Is Vanguard "taking a stance for all investors", or is Vanguard turning a blind eye in order to earn a higher annual bonus*?

Someone has to pay the costs to administer accounts.

I fear you are right. It is starting to feel like Vanguard wants their investors to either hold Vanguard ETFs at an outside brokerage (which is unsustainable without up-selling) or sign up for Vanguard PAS (which costs 0.3% extra).

*Vanguard employee compensation is based, in large part, by increasing AUM and lowering expense ratios.
Last edited by Silence Dogood on Wed Jun 26, 2019 4:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Vanguard Advertising Mutual Fund to ETF Conversion

Post by Vulcan » Wed Jun 26, 2019 4:07 pm

Silence Dogood wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 4:00 pm
How does Schwab cover the costs to administer (let alone make a profit on) an account if their client is fully invested in low-cost Vanguard ETFs?
They will make money when you sell. Each time.
If you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything. ~Ronald Coase

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Re: Vanguard Advertising Mutual Fund to ETF Conversion

Post by Silence Dogood » Wed Jun 26, 2019 4:10 pm

Vulcan wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 4:07 pm
Silence Dogood wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 4:00 pm
How does Schwab cover the costs to administer (let alone make a profit on) an account if their client is fully invested in low-cost Vanguard ETFs?
They will make money when you sell. Each time.
Can you explain to me how this works?

Wouldn't there be an incentive for Schwab to encourage selling?

Schwab is going to wait patiently, for 30+ years, for me, an investor in my 20s, to start selling in retirement?

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Re: Vanguard Advertising Mutual Fund to ETF Conversion

Post by Vulcan » Wed Jun 26, 2019 4:13 pm

Silence Dogood wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 4:10 pm
Vulcan wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 4:07 pm
Silence Dogood wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 4:00 pm
How does Schwab cover the costs to administer (let alone make a profit on) an account if their client is fully invested in low-cost Vanguard ETFs?
They will make money when you sell. Each time.
Can you explain to me how this works?

Wouldn't there be an incentive for Schwab to encourage selling?
Schwab charges $4.95 per ETF transaction for Vanguard funds.

They will probably show you some banners about their own, cheaper ETFs/MFs, and one day you will cave.

I have Schwab's Investor Checking (mainly for its overseas ATM fees reimbursement), but I never used the brokerage account that comes with it, because I prefer Vanguard's offerings and ownership structure to Schwab's or Fidelity's (where I also have a checking account).

I also think Vanguard has the best web site for what I need from it. A minority opinion, I know.
If you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything. ~Ronald Coase

schooner
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Re: Vanguard Advertising Mutual Fund to ETF Conversion

Post by schooner » Wed Jun 26, 2019 4:24 pm

Broken Man 1999 wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 1:04 pm
schooner wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 12:07 pm
I hope someone at Vanguard is reading these threads. I’m very unhappy as a long time customer. And I’d have no problem converting my shares to ETFs... and moving to Schwab and investing in their low cost mutual funds.

It’s so perplexing that Bogleheads of all people would embrace ETFs and joke about raising the expense ratio on mutual funds.

What a sad state of affairs
The Head Boglehead had no issues with investing in broad-based ETFs that followed indexes, and were bought to hold. Why shouldn't a Boglehead embrace his advice?

Any change will shake loose a few people. Collateral damage and all. Businesses need to change over time. Those who don't might not be around as long as they might have been if they had embraced change. A market opportunity missed might cost dearly. For example, consider where Vanguard would be today, had Mr Bogle accepted the gift of ETFs when the new product was first offered to Vanguard.

Vanguard probably lost a few accounts with Fidelity zero funds, and a few accounts by discontinuing VanguardAdvantage, and there will be some leaving because of Vanguard exiting their VA administration activities. Probably some as they push harder for brokerage accounts, and already we have witnessed the wailing and gnashing of teeth when Vanguard lowered some ETF's ERs lower than the equivalent mutual funds Admiral ERs. Could be there be further reductions in ETF ERs? I certainly hope so. In equities portion of portfolio, I'm all in.

Very long-term If enough people move to ETFs, it could be possible mutual funds could see ERs increase. I wouldn't place a penny bet on that happening, but Vanguard has raised mutual funds ERs on occasion. No guarantees to never raise ERs I'm aware of.

The beautiful thing about all this is Vanguard's business plan has resulted in other companies offering pretty good, certainly acceptable substitutes for Vanguard funds/ETFs. Anyone who enjoys lower costs have Vanguard to partially thank. Certainly other firms assisted in the endeavor to lower investment expenses for individual investors.

Broken Man
Bogle had plenty of issues with ETFs from the first time the idea was pitched to him in the 1990s. I'd say it was tepid acceptance with two major qualifications: 1) broad based index ETFs, and 2) minimal trading (speculation).

The available evidence shows the exact opposite: 1) there are thousands of ETFs, and 2) trading volume is off the charts.

Nothing wrong with that but I'm still confused about how you square that with Boglehead's investment philosophy?

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Re: Vanguard Advertising Mutual Fund to ETF Conversion

Post by johnanglemen » Wed Jun 26, 2019 4:25 pm

vineviz wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 3:18 pm
Vulcan wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 3:03 pm
It's not that just the process is different. The result is different, too.
You can't buy or redeem ETFs at NAV.
In truth, you can't actually buy or sell mutual fund shares at NAV either.

And, if you own enough ETF shares, you CAN actually just redeem your ETF shares in kind for the basket of underlying securities. That's as close to "redeeming at NAV" as you can get.
How can you do this? Through what procedure?

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Re: Vanguard Advertising Mutual Fund to ETF Conversion

Post by Silence Dogood » Wed Jun 26, 2019 4:32 pm

Vulcan wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 4:13 pm
Schwab charges $4.95 per ETF transaction for Vanguard funds.
So, ultimately investors will pay for this.

The point of my post above, is that if Vanguard would rather have their investors hold their funds in outside brokerages, then they may not be adhering to their own mission statement.
Vulcan wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 4:13 pm
I also think Vanguard has the best web site for what I need from it. A minority opinion, I know.
I pretty much agree with this, although some basic improvements are needed (particularly with log-in/security).

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Re: Vanguard Advertising Mutual Fund to ETF Conversion

Post by Vulcan » Wed Jun 26, 2019 4:34 pm

johnanglemen wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 4:25 pm
vineviz wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 3:18 pm
Vulcan wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 3:03 pm
It's not that just the process is different. The result is different, too.
You can't buy or redeem ETFs at NAV.
In truth, you can't actually buy or sell mutual fund shares at NAV either.

And, if you own enough ETF shares, you CAN actually just redeem your ETF shares in kind for the basket of underlying securities. That's as close to "redeeming at NAV" as you can get.
How can you do this? Through what procedure?
I will illustrate this for VT

Step 1: acquire 200,000 shares (approx $15 millions worth as of today).

are you still here?

Step 2: contact Vanguard to exchange them all for a basket of 8,014 underlying securities (I haven't looked into the process in more details yet, still working on step 1)

Step 3: sell each one of the 8,014 underlying securities paying $4.95*8,014 = ~$40K in commissions

Step 4. enjoy?

Needless to say, this is not something any individual investor is ever likely to do. This is for authorized institutional market-makers who participate in unit creation by leveraging arbitrage.

https://www.investopedia.com/articles/i ... -works.asp
If you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything. ~Ronald Coase

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Re: Vanguard Advertising Mutual Fund to ETF Conversion

Post by changingtimes » Wed Jun 26, 2019 4:36 pm

cheezit wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 3:50 pm
If I purchase ETF shares at $x at 10:00 and at that moment NAV is $x * 0.99, I have "lost" 1% on those shares.

If I place an order for mutual fund shares at 10:00 and the NAV goes up by 1% between then and the market close, I have also "lost" 1% on those shares.
I wait until the end of the day to make moves with mutual funds, and since a lot of them have ETF equivalents or ETF share classes, I have a pretty good idea of what the closing value will be. Not with total exactitude, but something like a 1% drop would be pretty obvious watching VTI if I'm trying to sell VTSAX.

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Re: Vanguard Advertising Mutual Fund to ETF Conversion

Post by Vulcan » Wed Jun 26, 2019 4:37 pm

Silence Dogood wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 4:32 pm
Vulcan wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 4:13 pm
I also think Vanguard has the best web site for what I need from it. A minority opinion, I know.
I pretty much agree with this, although some basic improvements are needed (particularly with log-in/security).
What's wrong with their login security?
If you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything. ~Ronald Coase

johnanglemen
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Re: Vanguard Advertising Mutual Fund to ETF Conversion

Post by johnanglemen » Wed Jun 26, 2019 4:39 pm

Vulcan wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 4:34 pm
johnanglemen wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 4:25 pm
vineviz wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 3:18 pm
Vulcan wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 3:03 pm
It's not that just the process is different. The result is different, too.
You can't buy or redeem ETFs at NAV.
In truth, you can't actually buy or sell mutual fund shares at NAV either.

And, if you own enough ETF shares, you CAN actually just redeem your ETF shares in kind for the basket of underlying securities. That's as close to "redeeming at NAV" as you can get.
How can you do this? Through what procedure?
I will illustrate this for VT

Step 1: acquire 200,000 shares (approx $15 millions worth as of today).

are you still here?

Step 2: contact Vanguard to exchange them all for a basket of 8,014 underlying securities (I haven't looked into the process in more details yet, still working on step 1)

Step 3: sell each one of the 8,014 underlying securities paying $4.95*8,014 = ~$40K in commissions

Step 4. enjoy?

Needless to say, this is not something any individual investor is ever likely to do. This is for authorized institutional market-makers who participate in unit creation by leveraging arbitrage.

https://www.investopedia.com/articles/i ... -works.asp
Is there any evidence that Vanguard will actually honor such a request / that such a procedure exists, or is this a hypothetical?

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Re: Vanguard Advertising Mutual Fund to ETF Conversion

Post by Vulcan » Wed Jun 26, 2019 4:43 pm

johnanglemen wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 4:39 pm
Vulcan wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 4:34 pm
Needless to say, this is not something any individual investor is ever likely to do. This is for authorized institutional market-makers who participate in unit creation by leveraging arbitrage.

https://www.investopedia.com/articles/i ... -works.asp
Is there any evidence that Vanguard will actually honor such a request / that such a procedure exists, or is this a hypothetical?
This is tongue in cheek. I could be wrong, but my understanding is that the unit creation process is limited to authorized institutional participants.
If you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything. ~Ronald Coase

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Re: Vanguard Advertising Mutual Fund to ETF Conversion

Post by UpperNwGuy » Wed Jun 26, 2019 4:44 pm

I'll stick to my mutual funds even if they cost a little bit more. I just don't like the process of buying ETFs.

Whether or not Vanguard is being nefarious is a matter of interpretation. What is clear is that they are pushing a certain agenda: ETFs over mutual funds, brokerage accounts over mutual fund accounts, and international stock and bond funds in ever increasing proportions.

arf30
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Re: Vanguard Advertising Mutual Fund to ETF Conversion

Post by arf30 » Wed Jun 26, 2019 5:06 pm

Vulcan wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 1:01 pm
arf30 wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 12:57 pm
Is there an online process to do the conversion now, or did the popup ask you to call customer service?
There's always been an online process for that.
Where's it located on the site? We're talking about fund conversion, not exchange.

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Vulcan
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Re: Vanguard Advertising Mutual Fund to ETF Conversion

Post by Vulcan » Wed Jun 26, 2019 5:12 pm

arf30 wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 5:06 pm
Vulcan wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 1:01 pm
arf30 wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 12:57 pm
Is there an online process to do the conversion now, or did the popup ask you to call customer service?
There's always been an online process for that.
Where's it located on the site? We're talking about fund conversion, not exchange.
Sorry, my bad, now that I think about it, I had to call in.
If you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything. ~Ronald Coase

Silence Dogood
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Re: Vanguard Advertising Mutual Fund to ETF Conversion

Post by Silence Dogood » Wed Jun 26, 2019 5:29 pm

Vulcan wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 4:37 pm
Silence Dogood wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 4:32 pm
Vulcan wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 4:13 pm
I also think Vanguard has the best web site for what I need from it. A minority opinion, I know.
I pretty much agree with this, although some basic improvements are needed (particularly with log-in/security).
What's wrong with their login security?
I don't want to derail this thread, but here is a quick summary:

1) Fix two-factor authentication. In particular, start supporting software tokens and stop using SMS as a backup.

2) Allow for longer usernames/passwords.

For example, Vanguard limits usernames to 12 characters. Is this a deal-breaker? Of course not! But it's silly. I don't know of any other website (financial or otherwise) that has a 12 character limit.

Vanguard also took way too long to improve password security and 20 characters is still too low! Can you believe that, as recently as 2013, Vanguard limited passwords to a maximum of 10 characters and made no distinction between upper and lower case letters?

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Re: Vanguard Advertising Mutual Fund to ETF Conversion

Post by Vulcan » Wed Jun 26, 2019 5:41 pm

Silence Dogood wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 5:29 pm
Vulcan wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 4:37 pm
What's wrong with their login security?
I don't want to derail this thread, but here is a quick summary:

1) Fix two-factor authentication. In particular, start supporting software tokens and stop using SMS as a backup.
I wanted to add the derailment disclaimer also:)

As for 2FA, I stand by my suggestion in the thread you linked: use Google Voice number for receiving authentication texts.
If you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything. ~Ronald Coase

Broken Man 1999
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Re: Vanguard Advertising Mutual Fund to ETF Conversion

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Wed Jun 26, 2019 5:55 pm

schooner wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 4:24 pm
Broken Man 1999 wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 1:04 pm
schooner wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 12:07 pm
I hope someone at Vanguard is reading these threads. I’m very unhappy as a long time customer. And I’d have no problem converting my shares to ETFs... and moving to Schwab and investing in their low cost mutual funds.

It’s so perplexing that Bogleheads of all people would embrace ETFs and joke about raising the expense ratio on mutual funds.

What a sad state of affairs
The Head Boglehead had no issues with investing in broad-based ETFs that followed indexes, and were bought to hold. Why shouldn't a Boglehead embrace his advice?

Any change will shake loose a few people. Collateral damage and all. Businesses need to change over time. Those who don't might not be around as long as they might have been if they had embraced change. A market opportunity missed might cost dearly. For example, consider where Vanguard would be today, had Mr Bogle accepted the gift of ETFs when the new product was first offered to Vanguard.

Vanguard probably lost a few accounts with Fidelity zero funds, and a few accounts by discontinuing VanguardAdvantage, and there will be some leaving because of Vanguard exiting their VA administration activities. Probably some as they push harder for brokerage accounts, and already we have witnessed the wailing and gnashing of teeth when Vanguard lowered some ETF's ERs lower than the equivalent mutual funds Admiral ERs. Could be there be further reductions in ETF ERs? I certainly hope so. In equities portion of portfolio, I'm all in.

Very long-term If enough people move to ETFs, it could be possible mutual funds could see ERs increase. I wouldn't place a penny bet on that happening, but Vanguard has raised mutual funds ERs on occasion. No guarantees to never raise ERs I'm aware of.

The beautiful thing about all this is Vanguard's business plan has resulted in other companies offering pretty good, certainly acceptable substitutes for Vanguard funds/ETFs. Anyone who enjoys lower costs have Vanguard to partially thank. Certainly other firms assisted in the endeavor to lower investment expenses for individual investors.

Broken Man
Bogle had plenty of issues with ETFs from the first time the idea was pitched to him in the 1990s. I'd say it was tepid acceptance with two major qualifications: 1) broad based index ETFs, and 2) minimal trading (speculation).

The available evidence shows the exact opposite: 1) there are thousands of ETFs, and 2) trading volume is off the charts.

Nothing wrong with that but I'm still confused about how you square that with Boglehead's investment philosophy?
Well, honestly I have never thought I needed to square my actions with any philosophy. Some things that are considered "Bogleheadish" I'm OK with. Others things I am not. I try to use what I can believe in, and to ignore the things I do not believe in.

ETFs are a tool I find useful. If others lack the ability to buy ETFs that are based on broad-based indexes and to hold, I don't think that is my problem. I can and I do. And, so far as the thousands of ETFs, I have three currently. They are the three ETF equivalents of the Three-fund Portfolio.

Broken Man 1999
“If I cannot drink Bourbon and smoke cigars in Heaven than I shall not go. " -Mark Twain

Silence Dogood
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Re: Vanguard Advertising Mutual Fund to ETF Conversion

Post by Silence Dogood » Wed Jun 26, 2019 6:45 pm

Vulcan wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 5:41 pm
As for 2FA, I stand by my suggestion in the thread you linked: use Google Voice number for receiving authentication texts.
A good suggestion, but clients shouldn't have to come up with a work-around for bad security practices. Wouldn't you agree?

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