Clements, HumbleDollar, viewing Vanguard with unease: "Whither Vanguard?"

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Clements, HumbleDollar, viewing Vanguard with unease: "Whither Vanguard?"

Post by nisiprius » Sat Aug 03, 2019 5:14 am

Jonathan Clements, personal finance columnist at the Wall Street Journal from 1994 to 2008 and IMHO a Good Guy, has an article entitled Whither Vanguard?

I wouldn't say he views recent changes at Vanguard with alarm, let's say "unease." He says
Jack hadn’t been involved in running Vanguard’s day-to-day operations for two decades. Yet his presence continued to loom over the place. I always felt Jack acted as a check on management’s behavior. With his death, that check is no longer there.
He says "Is Vanguard failing investors? Far from it."

He praises the recent ER reduction in ETFs: "Jack probably wouldn’t have been happy—he preferred open-end mutual funds, because he felt ETFs were traded too much. But it’s hard to argue that lowering expenses is a bad thing."

But "it seems the firm is coming up short in two other areas..." One is "product commitment:"
  • "shutting down its Advantage cash management service"
  • "handing over administration of its low-cost variable annuity to Transamerica"
  • "the sorry history of its onetime precious metals fund..." In 2004, Vanguard broadened the fund’s mandate to include a wider array of mining companies. In 2018, it revamped the fund yet again, renaming it the Global Capital Cycles Fund."
The other is "customer service." It makes me uneasy that he bases this on fairly indirect evidence:
I haven’t experienced any problems myself, but I’ve heard from plenty of others who have. On Glassdoor.com, current and former employees rate the firm 3.1 out of five, versus 3.7 for Charles Schwab and 3.9 for Fidelity Investments. This is unfortunate: Happy employees are more likely to work hard to make their customers happy.
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Re: Clements, HumbleDollar, viewing Vanguard with unease: "Whither Vanguard?"

Post by grok87 » Sat Aug 03, 2019 5:31 am

nisiprius wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 5:14 am
Jonathan Clements, personal finance columnist at the Wall Street Journal from 1994 to 2008 and IMHO a Good Guy, has an article entitled Whither Vanguard?

I wouldn't say he views recent changes at Vanguard with alarm, let's say "unease." He says
Jack hadn’t been involved in running Vanguard’s day-to-day operations for two decades. Yet his presence continued to loom over the place. I always felt Jack acted as a check on management’s behavior. With his death, that check is no longer there.
He says "Is Vanguard failing investors? Far from it."

He praises the recent ER reduction in ETFs: "Jack probably wouldn’t have been happy—he preferred open-end mutual funds, because he felt ETFs were traded too much. But it’s hard to argue that lowering expenses is a bad thing."

But "it seems the firm is coming up short in two other areas..." One is "product commitment:"
  • "shutting down its Advantage cash management service"
  • "handing over administration of its low-cost variable annuity to Transamerica"
  • "the sorry history of its onetime precious metals fund..." In 2004, Vanguard broadened the fund’s mandate to include a wider array of mining companies. In 2018, it revamped the fund yet again, renaming it the Global Capital Cycles Fund."
The other is "customer service." It makes me uneasy that he bases this on fairly indirect evidence:
I haven’t experienced any problems myself, but I’ve heard from plenty of others who have. On Glassdoor.com, current and former employees rate the firm 3.1 out of five, versus 3.7 for Charles Schwab and 3.9 for Fidelity Investments. This is unfortunate: Happy employees are more likely to work hard to make their customers happy.
meh
RIP Mr. Bogle.

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Re: Clements, HumbleDollar, viewing Vanguard with unease: "Whither Vanguard?"

Post by sleepysurf » Sat Aug 03, 2019 6:23 am

I agree fully with his perspective, and suspect Jack would have as well!

I loved the final sentence...
For a firm that loves its nautical imagery, maybe it’s time to run a tighter ship.
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Re: Clements, HumbleDollar, viewing Vanguard with unease: "Whither Vanguard?"

Post by Sandtrap » Sat Aug 03, 2019 6:30 am

A glimpse of more changes to come?

Who's steering the ship now?
By consensus?

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Re: Clements, HumbleDollar, viewing Vanguard with unease: "Whither Vanguard?"

Post by carolinaman » Sat Aug 03, 2019 6:56 am

The evidence seems underwhelming based on the 3 examples. A company as large as Vanguard is going to have a few examples like this under the best of circumstances. Customer service has always been a weakness, but many of us overlook that, and place higher value on the low cost and good management of their products.

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Re: Clements, HumbleDollar, viewing Vanguard with unease: "Whither Vanguard?"

Post by Silence Dogood » Sat Aug 03, 2019 7:20 am

I created an account with Vanguard 10 years ago, in 2009. I was 18. I sort of found out about Vanguard just by luck. Some company called "Vanguard" was mentioned to me and I went to check out their website. I read the material on their website, about how they were "client-owned," low-cost, etc. and decided that's where I should invest. My first investment was the Wellesley Income Fund, which I decided on largely due to past performance and probably in part because I liked the name (of course, terrible reasons in retrospect - I no longer own that fund. Although it's a good fund, it is not good for me). I basically knew nothing about investing back then.

Eventually (summer of 2010) I would walk into the library and notice a book (The Little Book of Common Sense Investing) written by the founder of Vanguard. That led me to the Bogleheads.

Yesterday I decided to log on to my Vanguard account. I noticed on the main web page that they were heavily promoting their active funds. Large banner ads all over the front page about their "flying under the radar" actively managed funds. Another banner about how all of their original funds were actively managed. There was also another banner promoting ETFs. When I logged on, at pop-up promoting their advisory service immediately appeared and I had to click out of it before I could do anything. Even after that, a large ad for their advisory service appeared in the center of the screen on the balances page. I don't mind ads making me aware of what they have to offer, but it was all a bit much.

Anyway, I'm not freaking out about any of this either, but I do wonder what I would have thought, or how all of this would have influenced me, if I had just been visiting the Vanguard website for the first time, like I had been 10 years ago, back when I was still trying to figure all of this out. Vanguard seems to be tailoring their messaging to push back against the Bogleheads' philosophy, but do they realize that not everyone who visits their website is already convinced or even aware of the Bogleheads' strategy?

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Re: Clements, HumbleDollar, viewing Vanguard with unease: "Whither Vanguard?"

Post by SGM » Sat Aug 03, 2019 8:38 am

I have had pretty good service through Vanguard. I noticed they are advertising their active funds, advisory service and ETFs. This doesn't bother me. They have lower expenses for active funds, advisory service and ETFs compared to other brokerages for the most part. They are trying to meet demands of a variety of investors. The dropping of the Advantage accounts and handing off of annuities may have occurred because of the added expense and low popularity of these services. I don't know nor did I take advantage of these services prior to the change.

I think Jack had a sobering influence on the company. He won't be there to criticize any changes Vanguard makes any more. I spoke with a longtime BH who has been involved in organizing the national meetings and he is concerned that Vanguard may not continue hosting BHs on the Thursday evening of the Phillie meeting. I am interested to see what will happen in 2020. I would consider discontinuing the hosting of BHs to be a sign that they are drifting from a BH philosophy. Of course the BHs could decide to change the location of the national meeting as it was in Phillie for more than 10 years so that Jack wouldn't have to travel far given his age and health.

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Re: Clements, HumbleDollar, viewing Vanguard with unease: "Whither Vanguard?"

Post by gjlynch17 » Sat Aug 03, 2019 8:46 am

Silence Dogood wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 7:20 am
Yesterday I decided to log on to my Vanguard account. I noticed on the main web page that they were heavily promoting their active funds. Large banner ads all over the front page about their "flying under the radar" actively managed funds. Another banner about how all of their original funds were actively managed. There was also another banner promoting ETFs. When I logged on, at pop-up promoting their advisory service immediately appeared and I had to click out of it before I could do anything. Even after that, a large ad for their advisory service appeared in the center of the screen on the balances page. I don't mind ads making me aware of what they have to offer, but it was all a bit much.

Anyway, I'm not freaking out about any of this either, but I do wonder what I would have thought, or how all of this would have influenced me, if I had just been visiting the Vanguard website for the first time, like I had been 10 years ago, back when I was still trying to figure all of this out. Vanguard seems to be tailoring their messaging to push back against the Bogleheads' philosophy, but do they realize that not everyone who visits their website is already convinced or even aware of the Bogleheads' strategy?
Juxtapose that with Fidelity's website which touts their low-cost index funds and there is indeed a Twilight Zone feeling to the industry compared to a decade ago. There is no doubt that Vanguard has transformed the industry for the benefit of the average investor and it is important that they remain viable to have greater investor choice. Vanguard's management is in a better position than I am to make the decisions for the long-term financial viability of Vanguard. However, as an investor, I am in a position to choose where to invest.

I have been a Vanguard client for over 25 years and have been generally been satisfied. However, due to the recent decision of Vanguard to discontinue its Advantage account and Fidelity's focus on the individual consumer (e.g. introduction of Health Savings Accounts, lower cost index funds, new index funds, expansion of commission free investing with iShares low-cost ETFs), they are offering a very attractive one-stop shop alternative. Vanguard still has better money market funds and municipal bond funds, as well as their unique dual-class mutual fund/ETF structure, but in other areas Fidelity is equal or better than Vanguard. Due to Vanguard's actions, I switched some investments to Fidelity this year. While Fidelity loses money on me with their zero-cost index funds, they make money on me from their cash management account (which is still the best option for me) and marketing fees from BlackRock for my iShares ETF investments. I get the benefit of earning over 2% on my cash management account and being able to invest in zero and low-cost index funds for my Health Savings Account and taxable account. Fidelity values me as a client and is profiting from it so it is mutually beneficial.

I wish I could consolidate all investments at Vanguard but due to their lack of a cash management account and Health Savings Account I am not able to do so. Fidelity makes it tempting to consolidate but they still do not quite at have Vanguard's investment options in a few areas.
Last edited by gjlynch17 on Sat Aug 03, 2019 9:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Clements, HumbleDollar, viewing Vanguard with unease: "Whither Vanguard?"

Post by hagridshut » Sat Aug 03, 2019 9:04 am

Silence Dogood wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 7:20 am
Yesterday I decided to log on to my Vanguard account. I noticed on the main web page that they were heavily promoting their active funds. Large banner ads all over the front page about their "flying under the radar" actively managed funds. Another banner about how all of their original funds were actively managed. There was also another banner promoting ETFs. When I logged on, at pop-up promoting their advisory service immediately appeared and I had to click out of it before I could do anything. Even after that, a large ad for their advisory service appeared in the center of the screen on the balances page. I don't mind ads making me aware of what they have to offer, but it was all a bit much.
I saw much of the same this morning. HUGE banner ad for actively managed funds.

I wonder if Vanguard is at or close to the level at which ERs for the index funds cannot go much lower without subsidy from other areas of the business. I see that Fidelity has 0.00% ER index funds, which appears to be in part due to Fidelity using their own indexing system, but there is still going to be internal overhead that has cost. Subsidy from active funds appears to be the only way they can offer index funds with a "free" ER.

Companies change, and Vanguard is no exception. Apple is not the same company it was under Steve Jobs, and Vanguard is not the same company without Jack Bogle at the helm. However, I will continue to stick with Vanguard as long as they continue to offer the products I like at a low cost.
First Principles: (1) Diversify (2) Low Cost (3) Stay the Course | 3-Fund Index Portfolio: S&P500; Intl; U.S.Bonds

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Re: Clements, HumbleDollar, viewing Vanguard with unease: "Whither Vanguard?"

Post by Mike Scott » Sat Aug 03, 2019 9:18 am

So Vanguard is advertising their range of services to their account holders and visitors. The passive index thing is relatively recent given their history and only a part of what they do. It's not like they are increasing fees and dropping index funds. There are many discussions here where the things that are being criticized in this thread are given strong recommendations in other threads.

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Re: Clements, HumbleDollar, viewing Vanguard with unease: "Whither Vanguard?"

Post by JoMoney » Sat Aug 03, 2019 9:41 am

I take Vanguard for what it is, the investment industries low-cost leader. They have a structural makeup, and incentives, that encourage them towards making financial products cheaper. Some of those products won't be great for investors, sometimes low-cost means they'll be lacking in other areas of service.
As was pointed out, Vanguard has been run for the past 20 years without Jack Bogle but under the structure he designed, and has done quite well at keeping costs low. There were some annoyances, even while Mr. Bogle was still at the helm, but I think the culture, the story, and the structure of Vanguard is still pretty well in tact. This is not a comment about Vanguard's current leadership, but I like the Buffett quote "Go for a business that any idiot can run, because sooner or later one will". I believe Vanguard is built around cornerstones that will continue the legacy left by Jack.
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Re: Clements, HumbleDollar, viewing Vanguard with unease: "Whither Vanguard?"

Post by nisiprius » Sat Aug 03, 2019 9:50 am

Mike Scott wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 9:18 am
...The passive index thing is relatively recent given their history...
:?: :?: :?: :?: :?: :?:

Vanguard founded May 1st, 1975

Source

Image

Vanguard 500 Index Fund launched August 31st, 1976.

Vanguard's age: 44.25 years
Vanguard 500 index fund's age: 42.92 years

Passive index investing has been supported by Vanguard for 97% of its life.
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Re: Clements, HumbleDollar, viewing Vanguard with unease: "Whither Vanguard?"

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Sat Aug 03, 2019 9:52 am

Personally, even though I have been impacted by product changes/deletions, I hop Vanguard remains focused on what investors want, and trims products that their customers weren't really interested in having. Makes excellent business sense to me.

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Re: Clements, HumbleDollar, viewing Vanguard with unease: "Whither Vanguard?"

Post by Cyclesafe » Sat Aug 03, 2019 9:53 am

Last year DW and I attended a Vanguard function at a local hotel. We had a niggling feeling that we had been invited by mistake, because upon admittance we were heralded with a sort-of admonition that "this year because of the market, many more people qualified for an invitation". And although our rep sought us out initially, and was generally quite cordial, we didn't see much of him during the course of the evening and were generally left to ourselves.

Throughout the room clients were paired with Vanguard reps. I didn't notice too many clients who didn't have reps fawning over them. We sat at a round table with two other client couples and were thus subject to the conversations.

We learned that these couples not only were invited to the soiree, but they had been squired around all day by their rep. The ostensible reason was that they could "get to know each other better".

When the conversation started to peter out, one Vanguard rep started including us by asking what we thought of the presentation etc. When it came out that we were happy Bogleheads with a three fund portfolio and that we didn't feel much need for support, the rep acted surprised, then shifted his attention back to his client. I further got the impression that we were very small fish indeed and that I shouldn't be expecting free dinners in the future. But also, the most hilarious thing was most clients seemed only there for the free food too.

My point is Vanguard ought to be able to chew gum and walk at the same time. They can provide low costs and a fiduciary-like attitude for those of us with the competence, time, and confidence to make their own decisions, and at the same time charge people who feel a need for a "professional" to hold their hand.

But it is also troubling to me that Vanguard has ditched annuities as they had provided 1035 transferring investors a low-cost fiduciary-like refuge from predatory firms that originally sold them these vehicles. This has been huge for me and I am worried about how I (we) will be treated by Transamerica. There's always the option of 1035'ing again to Fidelity, but that's going to negate the existing very favorable contracts for most longer-term investment annuity investors.

Vanguard and Bogleheads do not seem to have fully congruent objectives. It may behoove us to detach somewhat from Vanguard and invite involvement from others if the gap continues to widen.
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Re: Clements, HumbleDollar, viewing Vanguard with unease: "Whither Vanguard?"

Post by Big Dog » Sat Aug 03, 2019 10:06 am

But "it seems the firm is coming up short in two other areas..." One is "product commitment:"
"shutting down its Advantage cash management service"
"handing over administration of its low-cost variable annuity to Transamerica"
"the sorry history of its onetime precious metals fund..." In 2004, Vanguard broadened the fund’s mandate to include a wider array of mining companies. In 2018, it revamped the fund yet again, renaming it the Global Capital Cycles Fund."
Fortunately, we don't use any of those services. And I do understand that some/many BH;s use the Advantage account, but it really wasn't very popular and had very low use. Per Vanguard, only 2% of eligibles sign-up for Advantage and only half of those were active users. So, ~1% of eligibles. Seems like an expensive program for a small group. OTOH, if most of those users were $5M+ accounts.....

re: customer service -- sure, phones can take awhile to be answered, but I've always received friendly folks and prompt directions once they answered. but, tbf, there is not much complexity with a 2-fund portfolio. :D

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Re: Clements, HumbleDollar, viewing Vanguard with unease: "Whither Vanguard?"

Post by WhyNotUs » Sat Aug 03, 2019 10:18 am

The end is the basic tenets of Bogle's investment advice.
One means is Vanguard.
If there is a better means to the end, then use it.
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Re: Clements, HumbleDollar, viewing Vanguard with unease: "Whither Vanguard?"

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Sat Aug 03, 2019 10:26 am

SGM wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 8:38 am
I have had pretty good service through Vanguard. I noticed they are advertising their active funds, advisory service and ETFs. This doesn't bother me. They have lower expenses for active funds, advisory service and ETFs compared to other brokerages for the most part. They are trying to meet demands of a variety of investors. The dropping of the Advantage accounts and handing off of annuities may have occurred because of the added expense and low popularity of these services. I don't know nor did I take advantage of these services prior to the change.

I think Jack had a sobering influence on the company. He won't be there to criticize any changes Vanguard makes any more. I spoke with a longtime BH who has been involved in organizing the national meetings and he is concerned that Vanguard may not continue hosting BHs on the Thursday evening of the Phillie meeting. I am interested to see what will happen in 2020. I would consider discontinuing the hosting of BHs to be a sign that they are drifting from a BH philosophy. Of course the BHs could decide to change the location of the national meeting as it was in Phillie for more than 10 years so that Jack wouldn't have to travel far given his age and health.
I wouldn't. I'd consider it to be a reigning in of expenses and that is as close to a BH philosophy as one could imagine.
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Re: Clements, HumbleDollar, viewing Vanguard with unease: "Whither Vanguard?"

Post by KlingKlang » Sat Aug 03, 2019 10:31 am

I guess that I don't have too much to complain about. My biggest difficulty occurred when they eliminated the Ohio Tax-Except Money Market Fund which I had been using as my initial deposit and brokerage settlement account. The message was basically 'the fund is going away, deal with it'. I missed changing a few of the automatic transfer links that I had established over the years. They could have at least sent a checklist.

My daughter just received a mailing for their personal advisor service which puzzled her. I guess it's a fine line between making customers aware of their products and promoting inappropriate services.

P.S. Cyclesafe, how do I get in on the free food?
Last edited by KlingKlang on Sat Aug 03, 2019 10:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Clements, HumbleDollar, viewing Vanguard with unease: "Whither Vanguard?"

Post by KyleAAA » Sat Aug 03, 2019 10:33 am

So long as they keep producing low cost funds and ETFs with low tracking error and high tax efficiency in asset classes I want to own, I don’t care about anything else. If service gets really bad, I can hold their ETFs elsewhere. I guess I just don’t have an emotional attachment to Vanguard.

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Re: Clements, HumbleDollar, viewing Vanguard with unease: "Whither Vanguard?"

Post by bondsr4me » Sat Aug 03, 2019 10:37 am

I agree with Jonathan C’s comment about VG customer service.
VG’s CS has had issues I believe because of it’s growth; VG probably has had trouble hiring/training/keeping “good” CS reps.
Many companies experience this during a time of explosive growth and VG is no exception.

But one area sorely lacking is VG’s technology. They can/must do much better than what it currently is.
I don’t want to have to wait until later in the evening or the next day to see balances updated for current day’s transactions.

As another poster mentioned, Apple is not the same company as it was with Steve Jobs. Tim Cook IMHO has “hit the wall” when it comes
to innovation. He could very well be at the end or close to the end of his leadership role. Maybe a change (for the better) will be good for Apple.

Look at Microsoft and how well it has done under Satya Nadella’s leadership. He is, I believe, an “outside the box” thinker.
I used to be a Microsoft anti-fan. Now, even though I am primarily an Apple products person, I really like Windows 10 and my Surface Pro 6.
Leadership is critical to every company and I think Microsoft is a much better company without Steve Ballmer.

Who knows how things will turn out for VG. I hope the current leadership doesn’t “just stand there”. Innovation is so very important and I hope VG
can keep the good ship Vanguard on a prosperous heading for all of us customers.

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Re: Clements, HumbleDollar, viewing Vanguard with unease: "Whither Vanguard?"

Post by Sconie » Sat Aug 03, 2019 11:36 am

SGM wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 8:38 am
I think Jack had a sobering influence on the company. He won't be there to criticize any changes Vanguard makes any more. I spoke with a longtime BH who has been involved in organizing the national meetings and he is concerned that Vanguard may not continue hosting BHs on the Thursday evening of the Phillie meeting. I am interested to see what will happen in 2020. I would consider discontinuing the hosting of BHs to be a sign that they are drifting from a BH philosophy. Of course the BHs could decide to change the location of the national meeting as it was in Phillie for more than 10 years so that Jack wouldn't have to travel far given his age and health.
I agree about the sobering influence of Jack Bogle on Vanguard, but I don't know that Vanguard possibly not hosting a 2020 (or later) BH Thursday evening get-together really has much meaning, one way or another. After all---and it is important for all of us to remember---the Boglehead philosophy is about following a number of different, but effective and simple, investment principles, many of which are derived from the investment philosophies of Vanguard founder, Jack Bogle. Being a Boglehead is neither necessarily nor specifically about using Vanguard Group in order to effectuate one's investment plan.
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Re: Clements, HumbleDollar, viewing Vanguard with unease: "Whither Vanguard?"

Post by TravelGeek » Sat Aug 03, 2019 11:51 am

nisiprius wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 5:14 am

But "it seems the firm is coming up short in two other areas..." One is "product commitment:"
  • "shutting down its Advantage cash management service"
  • "handing over administration of its low-cost variable annuity to Transamerica"
  • "the sorry history of its onetime precious metals fund..." In 2004, Vanguard broadened the fund’s mandate to include a wider array of mining companies. In 2018, it revamped the fund yet again, renaming it the Global Capital Cycles Fund."
I learned about the cash management service here on Boglehead when the thread about shutdown started. I have been a Vanguard customer/owner for over 20 years. I guess I didn’t pay attention :/

I have not bought any annuity, but learned from Bogleheads that Vanguard would be the way to go *if* I came to the point where annuities were the way to go. Guess I need to do some additional research to understand the impact of this change.

Precious metals fund? WWJD? I have no interest in that fund and thus find it hard to believe that these changes are really of great impact to Vanguard and the Bogleheads.

Vanguard seems to be very committed to the products I personally care about - the core index funds that make up the bulk of my portfolio.

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Re: Clements, HumbleDollar, viewing Vanguard with unease: "Whither Vanguard?"

Post by Brianmcg321 » Sat Aug 03, 2019 2:07 pm

If all Vanguard offered were three mutual funds for the three fund portfolio, they would go broke.

They are just like any investment firm. They NEED to provide services and funds that will draw them clients and make money.

Like others have stated, they may move money elsewhere because other firms offer other services they want that Vanguard doesn't.

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Re: Clements, HumbleDollar, viewing Vanguard with unease: "Whither Vanguard?"

Post by tibbitts » Sat Aug 03, 2019 2:11 pm

sleepysurf wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 6:23 am
I agree fully with his perspective, and suspect Jack would have as well!

I loved the final sentence...
For a firm that loves its nautical imagery, maybe it’s time to run a tighter ship.
If you loved that sentence, you're saying it's a good thing that they dumped cash management and the variable annuity administration.

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Re: Clements, HumbleDollar, viewing Vanguard with unease: "Whither Vanguard?"

Post by tibbitts » Sat Aug 03, 2019 2:18 pm

Regarding the precious metals fund: what would have been a better path to take vs. what Vanguard has done through the years? This dates from the Bogle era, it's not some late-comer to the party. If it should have been closed and merged with another fund, what would that fund have been?

In liquidating Convertible Securities, Vanguard stated that basically similar results could be obtained by investing in a combination of stock and bond funds. I don't think anyone could argue that even vaguely similar results to the previous two incarnations of the precious metals fund could be obtained by investing in another combination of equity and bond offerings from Vanguard.

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Re: Clements, HumbleDollar, viewing Vanguard with unease: "Whither Vanguard?"

Post by Gnirk » Sat Aug 03, 2019 2:57 pm

I have no complaints with Vanguard's customer service. If I have a question or concern I email my assigned Rep and he always replies in a timely manner. I can make an appointment for a telephone conversation if I wish. He has always been knowledgable and helpful; if he doesn't know the answer, he transfers me to the person who can help me.

I notice they are touting their active funds, but their active funds tend to be low-cost. My IRA consists of two of their active funds: Wellesley and Wellington, while my taxable account---which holds 90% of my portfolio value---is in index funds, except for my muni-bond funds.

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Re: Clements, HumbleDollar, viewing Vanguard with unease: "Whither Vanguard?"

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Sat Aug 03, 2019 2:59 pm

tibbitts wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 2:11 pm
sleepysurf wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 6:23 am
I agree fully with his perspective, and suspect Jack would have as well!

I loved the final sentence...
For a firm that loves its nautical imagery, maybe it’s time to run a tighter ship.
If you loved that sentence, you're saying it's a good thing that they dumped cash management and the variable annuity administration.
Yes! Poor acceptance rate for Vanguard's Advantage product, and likely Vanguard wants to concentrate on the VA funds, and let Transamerica do the administrivia stuff. The Advantage product would have been useful, had Vanguard had their own bank. They didn't. Probably why so few people signed on, and even fewer people actually used the product. So far as VA, Vanguard is still offering VAs, they just want to be doing the funds portion. Works for me. People seem to be leaping out in hysteria before they even know how all this is going to play out. So much for the calm, deliberate Boglehead style of doing things.

Thing is, businesses offer what customers want. Or customers go elsewhere.

Given the recent funds flow breakdown, it seems Vanguard is eating the competition alive. They are the second largest provider of MFs, and second on ETFs, IIRC. Hopefully I have the info correct.

What better place to squeeze Fidelity than for Vanguard to work on their active funds offerings, which at Vanguard are low expense offerings?

Mr Bogle was an architect of a great product, index funds. And, he was offered the ETF product first. He chose not to accept an absolute gift. Perhaps Mr Bogle could have rolled out ETFs in a better fashion. We will never know. So, Vanguard came later to the show. I think he could have been the architect of two very powerful products, but he has only one to his name. This is not to in any way meant to throw shade at Mr. Bogle. I have the upmost respect for him. But, consider this: He could have been a guiding force for ETFs. The bazillion number of ETFs might be fewer had his hand been on the helm (gratuitous nautical reference) from the beginning.

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Re: Clements, HumbleDollar, viewing Vanguard with unease: "Whither Vanguard?"

Post by CoastalWinds » Sat Aug 03, 2019 3:24 pm

Gnirk wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 2:57 pm
I have no complaints with Vanguard's customer service. If I have a question or concern I email my assigned Rep and he always replies in a timely manner. I can make an appointment for a telephone conversation if I wish. He has always been knowledgable and helpful; if he doesn't know the answer, he transfers me to the person who can help me.

I notice they are touting their active funds, but their active funds tend to be low-cost. My IRA consists of two of their active funds: Wellesley and Wellington, while my taxable account---which holds 90% of my portfolio value---is in index funds, except for my muni-bond funds.
How/where does one find out their assigned rep and how to go about emailing them? (Note: I am a flagship client).

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Re: Clements, HumbleDollar, viewing Vanguard with unease: "Whither Vanguard?"

Post by kupuna » Sat Aug 03, 2019 4:57 pm

Look at the bottom of the Account Overview page.

On mine there is even a picture of my Flagship rep.

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Re: Clements, HumbleDollar, viewing Vanguard with unease: "Whither Vanguard?"

Post by Silence Dogood » Sat Aug 03, 2019 5:24 pm

Broken Man 1999 wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 2:59 pm
Mr Bogle was an architect of a great product, index funds. And, he was offered the ETF product first. He chose not to accept an absolute gift. Perhaps Mr Bogle could have rolled out ETFs in a better fashion. We will never know. So, Vanguard came later to the show. I think he could have been the architect of two very powerful products, but he has only one to his name. This is not to in any way meant to throw shade at Mr. Bogle. I have the upmost respect for him. But, consider this: He could have been a guiding force for ETFs. The bazillion number of ETFs might be fewer had his hand been on the helm (gratuitous nautical reference) from the beginning.
Perhaps Bogle was a believer in the phrase, "The medium is the message."

Or, better yet, Neil Postman's revision, "The medium is the metaphor."

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Re: Clements, HumbleDollar, viewing Vanguard with unease: "Whither Vanguard?"

Post by Gnirk » Sat Aug 03, 2019 6:17 pm

CoastalWinds wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 3:24 pm
Gnirk wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 2:57 pm
I have no complaints with Vanguard's customer service. If I have a question or concern I email my assigned Rep and he always replies in a timely manner. I can make an appointment for a telephone conversation if I wish. He has always been knowledgable and helpful; if he doesn't know the answer, he transfers me to the person who can help me.

I notice they are touting their active funds, but their active funds tend to be low-cost. My IRA consists of two of their active funds: Wellesley and Wellington, while my taxable account---which holds 90% of my portfolio value---is in index funds, except for my muni-bond funds.
How/where does one find out their assigned rep and how to go about emailing them? (Note: I am a flagship client).
Sign in to your Vanguard account, your account balances page will appear. Scroll down to the bottom and it should have a photo and contact info for your Flagship Rep.

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Re: Clements, HumbleDollar, viewing Vanguard with unease: "Whither Vanguard?"

Post by indexfundfan » Sun Aug 04, 2019 6:38 am

Gnirk wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 6:17 pm
CoastalWinds wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 3:24 pm
Gnirk wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 2:57 pm
I have no complaints with Vanguard's customer service. If I have a question or concern I email my assigned Rep and he always replies in a timely manner. I can make an appointment for a telephone conversation if I wish. He has always been knowledgable and helpful; if he doesn't know the answer, he transfers me to the person who can help me.

I notice they are touting their active funds, but their active funds tend to be low-cost. My IRA consists of two of their active funds: Wellesley and Wellington, while my taxable account---which holds 90% of my portfolio value---is in index funds, except for my muni-bond funds.
How/where does one find out their assigned rep and how to go about emailing them? (Note: I am a flagship client).
Sign in to your Vanguard account, your account balances page will appear. Scroll down to the bottom and it should have a photo and contact info for your Flagship Rep.
Note: it is no longer the case that every flagship client has an assigned rep.
My signature has been deleted.

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Re: Clements, HumbleDollar, viewing Vanguard with unease: "Whither Vanguard?"

Post by friar1610 » Sun Aug 04, 2019 2:38 pm

bondsr4me wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 10:37 am

But one area sorely lacking is VG’s technology. They can/must do much better than what it currently is.
I don’t want to have to wait until later in the evening or the next day to see balances updated for current day’s transactions
I don't have significant equity/bond market assets anywhere other than VG so maybe my expectations aren't high enough. How quickly do other companies like Fidelity update the current day's transactions? And, at least with MF transactions, wouldn't the clients of any company have to wait until at least later in the day since the market has to close before NAVs can be computed? Or is that not the case?

Just trying to understand how it's done elsewhere.
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Re: Clements, HumbleDollar, viewing Vanguard with unease: "Whither Vanguard?"

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Sun Aug 04, 2019 2:48 pm

friar1610 wrote:
Sun Aug 04, 2019 2:38 pm
bondsr4me wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 10:37 am

But one area sorely lacking is VG’s technology. They can/must do much better than what it currently is.
I don’t want to have to wait until later in the evening or the next day to see balances updated for current day’s transactions
I don't have significant equity/bond market assets anywhere other than VG so maybe my expectations aren't high enough. How quickly do other companies like Fidelity update the current day's transactions? And, at least with MF transactions, wouldn't the clients of any company have to wait until at least later in the day since the market has to close before NAVs can be computed? Or is that not the case?

Just trying to understand how it's done elsewhere.
I don't remember ever having to wait that long for my account balances. I do know my Vanguard annuity and my 529 plans update after my retirement portfolio, I always figured it was a matter of priorities. But never had to wait until next day.

Broken Man 1999

ETA: bondsr4me, are your accounts held outside employers plans, or inside an employer plan using Vanguard?
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Re: Clements, HumbleDollar, viewing Vanguard with unease: "Whither Vanguard?"

Post by friar1610 » Sun Aug 04, 2019 4:47 pm

Broken Man 1999 wrote:
Sun Aug 04, 2019 2:48 pm
friar1610 wrote:
Sun Aug 04, 2019 2:38 pm
bondsr4me wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 10:37 am

But one area sorely lacking is VG’s technology. They can/must do much better than what it currently is.
I don’t want to have to wait until later in the evening or the next day to see balances updated for current day’s transactions
I don't have significant equity/bond market assets anywhere other than VG so maybe my expectations aren't high enough. How quickly do other companies like Fidelity update the current day's transactions? And, at least with MF transactions, wouldn't the clients of any company have to wait until at least later in the day since the market has to close before NAVs can be computed? Or is that not the case?

Just trying to understand how it's done elsewhere.
I don't remember ever having to wait that long for my account balances. I do know my Vanguard annuity and my 529 plans update after my retirement portfolio, I always figured it was a matter of priorities. But never had to wait until next day.

Broken Man 1999

ETA: bondsr4me, are your accounts held outside employers plans, or inside an employer plan using Vanguard?
Not the OP but when I do a transaction I see its execution in the Holdings Summary and Balances and Holdings sometime around 8 pm eastern time. Portfolio Watch (where you can see the impact of the transaction on your AA) is apparently done overnight as I don't see that until the next day.
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Re: Clements, HumbleDollar, viewing Vanguard with unease: "Whither Vanguard?"

Post by bondsr4me » Sun Aug 04, 2019 4:56 pm

Broken Man 1999 wrote:
Sun Aug 04, 2019 2:48 pm
friar1610 wrote:
Sun Aug 04, 2019 2:38 pm
bondsr4me wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 10:37 am

But one area sorely lacking is VG’s technology. They can/must do much better than what it currently is.
I don’t want to have to wait until later in the evening or the next day to see balances updated for current day’s transactions
I don't have significant equity/bond market assets anywhere other than VG so maybe my expectations aren't high enough. How quickly do other companies like Fidelity update the current day's transactions? And, at least with MF transactions, wouldn't the clients of any company have to wait until at least later in the day since the market has to close before NAVs can be computed? Or is that not the case?

Just trying to understand how it's done elsewhere.
I don't remember ever having to wait that long for my account balances. I do know my Vanguard annuity and my 529 plans update after my retirement portfolio, I always figured it was a matter of priorities. But never had to wait until next day.

Broken Man 1999

ETA: bondsr4me, are your accounts held outside employers plans, or inside an employer plan using Vanguard?
All my accounts are held outside employer plan.

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Re: Clements, HumbleDollar, viewing Vanguard with unease: "Whither Vanguard?"

Post by bondsr4me » Sun Aug 04, 2019 5:00 pm

friar1610 wrote:
Sun Aug 04, 2019 2:38 pm
bondsr4me wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 10:37 am

But one area sorely lacking is VG’s technology. They can/must do much better than what it currently is.
I don’t want to have to wait until later in the evening or the next day to see balances updated for current day’s transactions
I don't have significant equity/bond market assets anywhere other than VG so maybe my expectations aren't high enough. How quickly do other companies like Fidelity update the current day's transactions? And, at least with MF transactions, wouldn't the clients of any company have to wait until at least later in the day since the market has to close before NAVs can be computed? Or is that not the case?

Just trying to understand how it's done elsewhere.
When I make trades (not talking about mutual funds) with Schwab or Fidelity, my balances are immediately reflective of new balances.

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Re: Clements, HumbleDollar, viewing Vanguard with unease: "Whither Vanguard?"

Post by Wakefield1 » Sun Aug 04, 2019 7:54 pm

Silence Dogood wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 5:24 pm
Broken Man 1999 wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 2:59 pm
Mr Bogle was an architect of a great product, index funds. And, he was offered the ETF product first. He chose not to accept an absolute gift. Perhaps Mr Bogle could have rolled out ETFs in a better fashion. We will never know. So, Vanguard came later to the show. I think he could have been the architect of two very powerful products, but he has only one to his name. This is not to in any way meant to throw shade at Mr. Bogle. I have the upmost respect for him. But, consider this: He could have been a guiding force for ETFs. The bazillion number of ETFs might be fewer had his hand been on the helm (gratuitous nautical reference) from the beginning.
Perhaps Bogle was a believer in the phrase, "The medium is the message."

Or, better yet, Neil Postman's revision, "The medium is the metaphor."
Actually I think as related by Bogle, the person who thought up the ETF scheme presented it to Bogle,there was something wrong with the original design and Bogle found and pointed out the mistake,therefor becoming a sort of godfather to the ETF . Although he did not want to offer it at Vanguard.
Did "Vipers" (the real name of Vanguard's ETFs) only appear after Bogle stepped down as CEO?
I do not own any ETF.

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Re: Clements, HumbleDollar, viewing Vanguard with unease: "Whither Vanguard?"

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Mon Aug 05, 2019 10:28 am

Wakefield1 wrote:
Sun Aug 04, 2019 7:54 pm
Silence Dogood wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 5:24 pm
Broken Man 1999 wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 2:59 pm
Mr Bogle was an architect of a great product, index funds. And, he was offered the ETF product first. He chose not to accept an absolute gift. Perhaps Mr Bogle could have rolled out ETFs in a better fashion. We will never know. So, Vanguard came later to the show. I think he could have been the architect of two very powerful products, but he has only one to his name. This is not to in any way meant to throw shade at Mr. Bogle. I have the upmost respect for him. But, consider this: He could have been a guiding force for ETFs. The bazillion number of ETFs might be fewer had his hand been on the helm (gratuitous nautical reference) from the beginning.
Perhaps Bogle was a believer in the phrase, "The medium is the message."

Or, better yet, Neil Postman's revision, "The medium is the metaphor."
Actually I think as related by Bogle, the person who thought up the ETF scheme presented it to Bogle,there was something wrong with the original design and Bogle found and pointed out the mistake,therefor becoming a sort of godfather to the ETF . Although he did not want to offer it at Vanguard.
Did "Vipers" (the real name of Vanguard's ETFs) only appear after Bogle stepped down as CEO?
I do not own any ETF.
Your recollection is correct. I believe Mr Bogle's stance was mostly his fear of harm to the everyday investor. While I can appreciate that feeling, the everyday investor had the means to invest foolishly via trading individual stocks. And, yet there existed investors who didn't do those type activities, instead using indexed or low expense active mutual funds and holding them.

Chapter 8 of Stay The Course by Mr Bogle addresses ETFs.

Upon further reflection, IF Vanguard had rolled out ETFs first, it wouldn't have been out of the range of possibilities that such a financial juggernaut as Vanguard would have attracted great regulatory scrutiny, and possibly resulting in actions to prevent a monopoly by the company.

At the end of the day, Vanguard has no long term issues from entering the market later. The company has certainly made up ground quickly, even after spotting other companies the early lead.

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

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Re: Clements, HumbleDollar, viewing Vanguard with unease: "Whither Vanguard?"

Post by rich126 » Mon Aug 05, 2019 11:08 am

I'm only using Vanguard for access to the active funds such as Wellington/Wellesley and the moderate growth fund (VSGMX?). I gave up on mutual funds in taxable accounts many, many years ago when I would get hit with a lot of capital gains even in down years. With stocks and ETFs I can manage things better myself.

I also find certain things Vanguard does is a bit harsh. I've moved and did all of the change address stuff but apparently something got returned to Vanguard (maybe a post office issue?) and next I knew there was a rather excessively harsh statement online when I logged in stating something to the effect "If you don't contact us immediately your account will be turned over to the state" :shock:

When I called in the rep admitted the statement was harsh and was intended to get people to call in. I don't think it was necessary and I certainly won't be adding money to my account here. I'll stick with TD and Fidelity where people seem more reasonable. Vanguard was a great service to investors for many years but going forward I don't think they are anything special any longer.

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Re: Clements, HumbleDollar, viewing Vanguard with unease: "Whither Vanguard?"

Post by TropikThunder » Mon Aug 05, 2019 11:16 am

rich126 wrote:
Mon Aug 05, 2019 11:08 am
I'm only using Vanguard for access to the active funds such as Wellington/Wellesley and the moderate growth fund (VSGMX?). I gave up on mutual funds in taxable accounts many, many years ago when I would get hit with a lot of capital gains even in down years. With stocks and ETFs I can manage things better myself.
Just as an aside, Vanguard mutual funds that have an ETF version share the tax efficiency of the ETF due to their proprietary share-class structure. Not that that helps with your customer service issues.

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Re: Clements, HumbleDollar, viewing Vanguard with unease: "Whither Vanguard?"

Post by rich126 » Mon Aug 05, 2019 12:40 pm

TropikThunder wrote:
Mon Aug 05, 2019 11:16 am
rich126 wrote:
Mon Aug 05, 2019 11:08 am
I'm only using Vanguard for access to the active funds such as Wellington/Wellesley and the moderate growth fund (VSGMX?). I gave up on mutual funds in taxable accounts many, many years ago when I would get hit with a lot of capital gains even in down years. With stocks and ETFs I can manage things better myself.
Just as an aside, Vanguard mutual funds that have an ETF version share the tax efficiency of the ETF due to their proprietary share-class structure. Not that that helps with your customer service issues.
Thanks. My "bad" days with mutual funds occurred before the ETFs were around, I'm talking 1980s.

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Re: Clements, HumbleDollar, viewing Vanguard with unease: "Whither Vanguard?"

Post by Whakamole » Mon Aug 05, 2019 1:30 pm

rich126 wrote:
Mon Aug 05, 2019 11:08 am
I'm only using Vanguard for access to the active funds such as Wellington/Wellesley and the moderate growth fund (VSGMX?). I gave up on mutual funds in taxable accounts many, many years ago when I would get hit with a lot of capital gains even in down years. With stocks and ETFs I can manage things better myself.

I also find certain things Vanguard does is a bit harsh. I've moved and did all of the change address stuff but apparently something got returned to Vanguard (maybe a post office issue?) and next I knew there was a rather excessively harsh statement online when I logged in stating something to the effect "If you don't contact us immediately your account will be turned over to the state" :shock:

When I called in the rep admitted the statement was harsh and was intended to get people to call in. I don't think it was necessary and I certainly won't be adding money to my account here. I'll stick with TD and Fidelity where people seem more reasonable. Vanguard was a great service to investors for many years but going forward I don't think they are anything special any longer.
Pennsylvania passed some very strict escheatment laws that Vanguard has to follow. The wording may have been strict but unfortunately it was probably correct as well.

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Re: Clements, HumbleDollar, viewing Vanguard with unease: "Whither Vanguard?"

Post by Rudedog » Mon Aug 05, 2019 2:03 pm

on my advice, my daughter recently set up a Vanguard rollovere IRA account, a Vanguard 401K account and a Vanguard 403B account for a different employer. She said the Vanguard rep who she talked to on the phone was very nice and very helpful, and she had the accounts set up with no problem.

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Re: Clements, HumbleDollar, viewing Vanguard with unease: "Whither Vanguard?"

Post by bhsince87 » Mon Aug 05, 2019 2:04 pm

That just seemed like a mish mash of rambling gibberish to me.

"Does Vanguard think sector funds are a good idea or not?"

Apparently they do, since they've been offering them since at least 1984! How hard would have been to research that fact?

And what does that have to do with customer service anyway?

And then using a job satisfaction survey to extrapolate customer service sentiment is quite a stretch.

Not his finest attempt at writing.
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Re: Clements, HumbleDollar, viewing Vanguard with unease: "Whither Vanguard?"

Post by littlebird » Mon Aug 05, 2019 2:07 pm

rich126 wrote:
Mon Aug 05, 2019 11:08 am

I also find certain things Vanguard does is a bit harsh. I've moved and did all of the change address stuff but apparently something got returned to Vanguard (maybe a post office issue?) and next I knew there was a rather excessively harsh statement online when I logged in stating something to the effect "If you don't contact us immediately your account will be turned over to the state" :shock:

When I called in the rep admitted the statement was harsh and was intended to get people to call in. I don't think it was necessary and I certainly won't be adding money to my account here. I'll stick with TD and Fidelity where people seem more reasonable. Vanguard was a great service to investors for many years but going forward I don't think they are anything special any longer.
I alway found V. to have poor judgment, sometimes offensively, sometimes even dangerously so, in the area of communications. From their decades-long use of irritatingly non-symetrical syntax in their opening statement on the telephone; to their use of the address “The Littlebird Family” when sending MY financial information in the mail; to the D.A.F formatting their address to alway put any person with the salutation “Mr.” first when listing a multi-name group, despite the person without that salutation having listed HERself as the owner of the fund;

from sending multiple change of address notices to long ago houses, when the actual change was simply to add a current street address to a p.o. box, as they themselves had demanded; to them calling the customer at the phone # supplied by the customer and then demanding that the customer answer a series of questions before revealing the purpose of the call, over and over, even for multiple calls in the course of the day; to cutting out night and weekend telephone hours;

to unilaterally notifying a former “agent” - (what everyone else calls an attorney-in -fact, the holder of one’s POA) that he has been de-listed as POA, with the later defense that perhaps the principal on the account has become senile, without considering the possibility that the former agent was secretly removed because HE had become senile and with this gratuitous notice was now a threat to the principal.

Their passive investment products have been great, and I’m the first to credit them with having been a very large factor in the success of my and my spouse’s long and comfortable retirement, but never knowing what new communication faux-pas was coming my way next was the main factor in this old lady moving her now-considerable assets to Schwab.

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Re: Clements, HumbleDollar, viewing Vanguard with unease: "Whither Vanguard?"

Post by White Coat Investor » Mon Aug 05, 2019 2:12 pm

nisiprius wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 5:14 am

The other is "customer service." It makes me uneasy that he bases this on fairly indirect evidence:
I haven’t experienced any problems myself, but I’ve heard from plenty of others who have. On Glassdoor.com, current and former employees rate the firm 3.1 out of five, versus 3.7 for Charles Schwab and 3.9 for Fidelity Investments. This is unfortunate: Happy employees are more likely to work hard to make their customers happy.
What? Did you miss all these excellent examples on the Bogleheads forum? Have you never experienced inferior customer service at Vanguard? I could provide a handful of personal anecdotes and dozens of those from other forum members with a quick search. Vanguard customer service is notoriously bad compared to Fidelity and Schwab.
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Re: Clements, HumbleDollar, viewing Vanguard with unease: "Whither Vanguard?"

Post by r198t » Mon Aug 05, 2019 2:37 pm

rich126 wrote:
Mon Aug 05, 2019 11:08 am
I also find certain things Vanguard does is a bit harsh. I've moved and did all of the change address stuff but apparently something got returned to Vanguard (maybe a post office issue?) and next I knew there was a rather excessively harsh statement online when I logged in stating something to the effect "If you don't contact us immediately your account will be turned over to the state" :shock:
This just happened to me days ago. I'm curious about this. I've been with Vanguard for decades, have never moved or changed my e-mail address. My phone number is at least a decade old. How does one piece of returned mail require this kind of action???

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Re: Clements, HumbleDollar, viewing Vanguard with unease: "Whither Vanguard?"

Post by beyou » Mon Aug 05, 2019 2:54 pm

All companies have to figure out their core competencies and where to diversify or not.
What people often do not understand is that operation of the funds is a separate business from customer service of retail client accounts.
BlackRock/Ishares were 2 firms that merged, and both had a history of having NO CUSTOMER SERVICE AT ALL.
Their business models were to make funds and let others sell/service the funds. Financial advisors sold BlackRock funds for years, and
you can buy iShares ETFs at any discount broker. BlackRock realized that mass services the retail public is a business model they didn't want to support.
They are investors, not baby sitters of customers, not a bank to support daily bill payments etc. There were lots of good banks, advisors and discount brokers out there when these 2 firms were founded, so instead they filled a niche to create funds with some special characteristics.

To me Vanguard was and always will be a fund company, similar to BlackRock/iShares, and a distributor/servicer of those funds second.
If I could buy all the Vanguard funds commission free elsewhere, I would most certainly hold them elsewhere.
With ETFs many of the popular funds can be held elsewhere, and if you get free trading, then no reason to hold Vanguard funds at Vanguard Brokerage.

I have other reasons to keep the assets at Vanguard, which are that for legal reasons I want to hold my funds "directly with the fund manager" and not at a broker. I am one of the holdouts who has not "upgraded". When/if I upgrade, I would consider keeping the funds but transferring them to a broker of my choice, if the cost is right. But I do like their funds...

Finally, they have in the past tried various things and decided to jettison or revamp.
Recall their first attempt to become a broker involved outsourcing the brokerage to Pershing (back office to many small/mid brokerages).
That was not smooth and they transitioned to insource the service (as it is today). They will either bring the V Advantage to another level, or they have decided we have ease of using our own banks, no reason for them to compete. Personally I never saw the need for Vang Advantage and despite getting free Flagship access, never signed up. Just so easy to use my own local bank, why use them (which was really PNC which has no branches nor ATM near me).

Their fund line up is good and always evolving, change is not bad.
Their direct retail services are evolving, sometimes you will like it, sometimes not.
Personally no-frills is fine, as long as I have basic online access that is reliable, I am happy.

SavageAmusement
Posts: 77
Joined: Tue Dec 29, 2015 8:02 pm

Re: Clements, HumbleDollar, viewing Vanguard with unease: "Whither Vanguard?"

Post by SavageAmusement » Mon Aug 05, 2019 3:03 pm

While customer service is an issue, my bigger problem with Vanguard is security risk. They simply do not spend as much on IT as Fidelity and other financial institutions. I am concerned its lack of IT resources leaves customers vulnerable to cyber and fraud risks. Therefore, I am uncomfortable leaving my assets there. I suspect this is a minority opinion around here. That’s fine with me, because it’s my money.

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