Vanguard vs. Fidelity [Customer Service Reputation]

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
nbseer
Posts: 156
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2014 10:00 am
Location: New Jersey

Vanguard vs. Fidelity [Customer Service Reputation]

Post by nbseer » Sat Jan 14, 2017 2:13 pm

I just transferred 50% of my IRA from Vanguard to Fidelity, to take advantage of Fidelity's cash bonus offer. It's just been a few days, but already I am impressed with the increased amount of communication from Fidelity compared to what I get from Vanguard.

Does Fidelity have a better reputation for customer service than Vanguard, and while I haven't had a chance to look over Fidelity's mutual fund and etf offerings, are they as low-cost as Vanguards? Maybe I should move my entire IRA over there...

Cruise
Posts: 387
Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2016 7:17 pm

Re: Vanguard vs. Fidelity

Post by Cruise » Sat Jan 14, 2017 2:20 pm

While I have never used Vanguard, I have been very happy with Fidelity over the course of my ten years with them. Never had a bad experience dealing with them, whether I call the general line or speak to members of my team. I do have substantial assets with them (which I manage) and don't know whether I am getting routine service or a higher-level of care because of their internal coding.

I have read some posts on this site in which people express unhappiness with Vanguard service.

stlutz
Posts: 4025
Joined: Fri Jan 02, 2009 1:08 am

Re: Vanguard vs. Fidelity

Post by stlutz » Sat Jan 14, 2017 2:23 pm

In general, Vanguard is the best asset manager out there. Not in 100% of the cases but in general. In general, I think Fidelity is a better asset custodian in terms of providing services to people.

You can own a bunch of Vanguard ETFs at Fidelity. There are other alternatives from iShares that are often commission-free at Fido and often times (thought definitely not always) just as good.

lack_ey
Posts: 5823
Joined: Wed Nov 19, 2014 11:55 pm

Re: Vanguard vs. Fidelity

Post by lack_ey » Sat Jan 14, 2017 2:26 pm

Vanguard brokerage is pretty bad in terms of web design and tools, so Fidelity is better there. For customer service there are reports both ways.

For commission-free investment options, Vanguard is better in a few places and Fidelity is a little better in others, none of which are core categories. In terms of cost it's largely similar in the core areas. If you prefer mutual funds and are using a taxable account then you probably want Vanguard, though, for the tax advantages afforded by the Vanguard fund structure having an ETF share class.

livesoft
Posts: 57321
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 8:00 pm

Re: Vanguard vs. Fidelity

Post by livesoft » Sat Jan 14, 2017 2:39 pm

Oh, I dunno. Which gasoline is better, Shell or ExxonMobil?
This signature message sponsored by sscritic: Learn to fish.

brad.clarkston
Posts: 588
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2014 8:31 pm
Location: Kansas City, MO

Re: Vanguard vs. Fidelity

Post by brad.clarkston » Sat Jan 14, 2017 2:50 pm

I have both and I see no difference between the limited boglehead like funds I use.

Fidelity's customer service, website, local branch offices are hands down better. Vanguards ER's and yields are better.

For me it's a toss up. As for the horrible VG customer service .. if everything goes well it's not a problem. I think I've only called VG twice in 10 years and Fidelity once in ten years. Yes the wait time was longer and the manual paperwork more for VG but overall I haven't had any real problems.

~~

The one thing I will say that's really going for Fidelity is there web tools. With the new upgrade I'm using it more than M* who has been degrading over the last couple of years - to the point I'm thinking about paying for a a wsj.com subscription to get the financial tools.

That has nothing to do with VG though as I would never use there website to do research on.

User avatar
BL
Posts: 7368
Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 2:28 pm

Re: Vanguard vs. Fidelity

Post by BL » Sat Jan 14, 2017 2:58 pm

If I had to ask for advice on what to invest in, I would choose Vanguard (which is where I am but I don't ask for advice so it wouldn't matter). If I told F that I was only interested in low-ER index funds, I think they would probably not try to sell me expensive funds or management.

sport
Posts: 6139
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 3:26 pm
Location: Cleveland, OH

Re: Vanguard vs. Fidelity

Post by sport » Sat Jan 14, 2017 3:02 pm

All of Vanguard's funds are low cost, with some lower than others. Fidelity has a limited number of low cost funds. They also have some (mostly) expensive funds. You want to make sure you avoid the expensive products if you use Fidelity.

brad.clarkston
Posts: 588
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2014 8:31 pm
Location: Kansas City, MO

Re: Vanguard vs. Fidelity

Post by brad.clarkston » Sat Jan 14, 2017 3:04 pm

BL wrote:If I had to ask for advice on what to invest in, I would choose Vanguard (which is where I am but I don't ask for advice so it wouldn't matter). If I told F that I was only interested in low-ER index funds, I think they would probably not try to sell me expensive funds or management.


You would be surprised I think. I have a semi-dedicated FID manager who knows what a boglehead is and leaves me alone except for once a year call just to see if there's anything paperwork wise he can help with or just anything in general.

When I hit the magical $ in my account for his notice he called me up and we talked for about an hour. Once he looked at my account and heard about my VG account he said "done & done" nothing else needed.

He did help me with my Term Life Insurance, Solo401k, HSA plans which made things much, much easier.

User avatar
ruralavalon
Posts: 11912
Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2008 10:29 am
Location: Illinois

Re: Vanguard vs. Fidelity

Post by ruralavalon » Sat Jan 14, 2017 3:17 pm

nbseer wrote:I just transferred 50% of my IRA from Vanguard to Fidelity, to take advantage of Fidelity's cash bonus offer. It's just been a few days, but already I am impressed with the increased amount of communication from Fidelity compared to what I get from Vanguard.

Does Fidelity have a better reputation for customer service than Vanguard, and while I haven't had a chance to look over Fidelity's mutual fund and etf offerings, are they as low-cost as Vanguards? Maybe I should move my entire IRA over there...

We have had all accounts at Vanguard for the last 11 years, and all of our funds are Vanguard funds.

We have never had a customer service/communication problem of any kind, but have never required much service.

Vanguard has by far the largest selection of low expense funds offered anywhere.
"Everything should be as simple as it is, but not simpler." - Albert Einstein | Wiki article link:Getting Started

User avatar
abuss368
Posts: 11886
Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2009 2:33 pm
Location: Where the water is warm, the drinks are cold, and I don't know the names of the players!

Re: Vanguard vs. Fidelity

Post by abuss368 » Sat Jan 14, 2017 3:22 pm

You are probably fine with either if you are investing in low cost and diversified index funds. I have no experience with Fidelity. For us, moving our investment portfolio to Vanguard was the best financial decision we ever made.
John C. Bogle: "You simply do not need to put your money into 8 different mutual funds!" | | Disclosure: Three Fund Portfolio + U.S. & International REITs

chinto
Posts: 297
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2017 7:39 pm

Re: Vanguard vs. Fidelity

Post by chinto » Sat Jan 14, 2017 3:59 pm

This Wed I spent 4 hours at my local Fidelity office transferring assets for the wifey from various custodians(I did mine last fall). I simply let them do all the work and reviewed and signed the various forms. Once you get 250K there they treat you pretty good, once you break 1 million they roll out the red carpet ad provide a plethora of advice on a lot of peripheral matters. Moreover they seem to have some real expertise on their staff and are willing to verify answers they give you. I have been very impressed vs Vanguard. There is another thread out their were I lament ever opening an account at Vanguard (all taxable and with significant capital gains).

They also did a free retirement assessment that was pretty nice. The only difference they suggested I increase my international exposure on the equity side from 17% to 23% or so. What I found interesting is the suggestions were all ETFs. Basically this was just he output of their Financial Engines machine. But it was nice touch.

Right now I think Fidelity has the lowest prices around for etfs. I like ITOT at .03% ER. Even at .08% DGRO is a nice option too. There customer service is excellent and in my experience,bit better than par Scott Trade and perhaps on par with Schwab. Vanguard in my opinion is in the gutter by comparison. But I am stuck with them unless somehow I end up in the zero % capital gains bracket and get my money out of there.

sambb
Posts: 1809
Joined: Sun Mar 10, 2013 3:31 pm

Re: Vanguard vs. Fidelity

Post by sambb » Sat Jan 14, 2017 4:02 pm

I'm in agreement that fidelity is way ahead here. And their index funds are cheap. Slowly moving over. Vancuard's IT is scary and their service is poor.

User avatar
aj76er
Posts: 367
Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2015 11:34 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Re: Vanguard vs. Fidelity

Post by aj76er » Sat Jan 14, 2017 4:07 pm

I'm in the process of transferring everything over to Fidelity (from Vanguard and a few other brokerages). I treat all my accounts as parts of one portfolio so it's nice to be able to re-balance in one place. My workplace 401k has always been administered through Fidelity, which is ~50% of my investible assets, so for me it was the natural choice to consolidate there.

Compared to Vanguard, the Fidelity website is a big improvement; and the customer service is *way* better. When calling in, I almost never have hold times and the reps are very knowledgable, friendly, and helpful. With Vanguard, it's been a mixed bag - sometimes the reps are good and sometimes not; sometimes the wait times are short, other times long. I also once had a bad experience with the Vanguard website not reporting cost-basis correctly for a fund, which did not leave a good feeling about their IT.

Fidelity also has some other perks - an FDIC checking-like account, a 2% cash-back credit card, and physical branch locations. For a person living off their portfolio (e.g. retiree), Fidelity has all the tools needed.

If you prefer mutual funds, then Vanguard has an advantage with their Admiral share class; but you can still use Vanguard ETFs through Fidelity. The bond funds at Vanguard are better, but the bond desk at Fidelity is probably better.

So, if customer service, website, and extra features are more important, then Fidelity is a clear winner. If admiral-class mutual funds and/or lower-cost bond mutual funds are more important, then Vanguard would be a better choice.
"Buy-and-hold, long-term, all-market-index strategies, implemented at rock-bottom cost, are the surest of all routes to the accumulation of wealth" - John C. Bogle

Cash
Posts: 1232
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 10:52 am

Re: Vanguard vs. Fidelity

Post by Cash » Sat Jan 14, 2017 4:11 pm

We recently moved our accounts from Vanguard to Fidelity. We already had the excellent cash management account because of the 2% card, and Fidelity knew how to handle the transfer of some of my wife's RSUs (online!), and the Vanguard rep did not. At that point, I didn't really see a point in staying with Vanguard. If you like consolidation, Fidelity is far superior. The CMA account links everything together very nicely. I use Vanguard ETFs, free iShares ETFs, and low-cost Fidelity funds.

User avatar
aj76er
Posts: 367
Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2015 11:34 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Re: Vanguard vs. Fidelity

Post by aj76er » Sat Jan 14, 2017 4:12 pm

chinto wrote:But I am stuck with them unless somehow I end up in the zero % capital gains bracket and get my money out of there.


I believe you can convert admiral share class to ETF share class (which is not a taxable event). Once everything is in ETF format, you can transfer to any brokerage (maybe for a small fee, like $50 or something). This is what I'm planning on doing with my remaining Vanguard assets some time this year. Also, if you ask, Fidelity usually makes it worth your while with cash offers, free trades, or other perks. Even if they aren't running an advertised special, if you ask the rep then they can typically give you something!
"Buy-and-hold, long-term, all-market-index strategies, implemented at rock-bottom cost, are the surest of all routes to the accumulation of wealth" - John C. Bogle

User avatar
tfb
Posts: 7736
Joined: Mon Feb 19, 2007 5:46 pm
Contact:

Re: Vanguard vs. Fidelity

Post by tfb » Sat Jan 14, 2017 4:14 pm

stlutz wrote:In general, Vanguard is the best asset manager out there. Not in 100% of the cases but in general. In general, I think Fidelity is a better asset custodian in terms of providing services to people.

Exactly.

Don't confuse managing assets with managing accounts. They are not the same and they don't have to be performed by the same company.
Harry Sit, taking a break from the forums.

chinto
Posts: 297
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2017 7:39 pm

Re: Vanguard vs. Fidelity

Post by chinto » Sat Jan 14, 2017 4:21 pm

aj76er wrote:
chinto wrote:But I am stuck with them unless somehow I end up in the zero % capital gains bracket and get my money out of there.


I believe you can convert admiral share class to ETF share class (which is not a taxable event). Once everything is in ETF format, you can transfer to any brokerage (maybe for a small fee, like $50 or something). This is what I'm planning on doing with my remaining Vanguard assets some time this year. Also, if you ask, Fidelity usually makes it worth your while with cash offers, free trades, or other perks. Even if they aren't running an advertised special, if you ask the rep then they can typically give you something!


Thank you. I shall check into that. Thanks again.

Jack FFR1846
Posts: 5888
Joined: Tue Dec 31, 2013 7:05 am

Re: Vanguard vs. Fidelity

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Sat Jan 14, 2017 4:29 pm

Call them both.....right now. Then tell us which was better at answering your questions.

(yes, I know this an unfair trick.....or is it?)
Bogle: Smart Beta is stupid

User avatar
BL
Posts: 7368
Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 2:28 pm

Re: Vanguard vs. Fidelity

Post by BL » Sat Jan 14, 2017 5:45 pm

brad.clarkston wrote:
BL wrote:If I had to ask for advice on what to invest in, I would choose Vanguard (which is where I am but I don't ask for advice so it wouldn't matter). If I told F that I was only interested in low-ER index funds, I think they would probably not try to sell me expensive funds or management.


You would be surprised I think. I have a semi-dedicated FID manager who knows what a boglehead is and leaves me alone except for once a year call just to see if there's anything paperwork wise he can help with or just anything in general.

When I hit the magical $ in my account for his notice he called me up and we talked for about an hour. Once he looked at my account and heard about my VG account he said "done & done" nothing else needed.

He did help me with my Term Life Insurance, Solo401k, HSA plans which made things much, much easier.


I am glad to hear that. When/if I get "updated" to brokerage side, I will keep that in mind if things don't work properly. It sounds like V is getting lots of new investors, so much so that it may become hard to handle all the customer services. Thanks to Bogleheads, I have learned enough to consider moving if necessary.

gator1
Posts: 154
Joined: Tue Sep 03, 2013 5:58 pm
Location: Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee

Re: Vanguard vs. Fidelity

Post by gator1 » Sat Jan 14, 2017 5:47 pm

No experience with Fidelity. Started my Roth with Vanguard a few years ago based on numerous recommendations from Bogleheads. I've never had a reason to leave Vanguard. I must say I'm surprised to see a lot of complaints on Vanguard. Those were hard to find a few years ago.

neilpilot
Posts: 1087
Joined: Fri Dec 04, 2015 1:46 pm
Location: Memphis area

Re: Vanguard vs. Fidelity

Post by neilpilot » Sat Jan 14, 2017 5:54 pm

chinto wrote:
aj76er wrote:
chinto wrote:But I am stuck with them unless somehow I end up in the zero % capital gains bracket and get my money out of there.


I believe you can convert admiral share class to ETF share class (which is not a taxable event). Once everything is in ETF format, you can transfer to any brokerage (maybe for a small fee, like $50 or something). This is what I'm planning on doing with my remaining Vanguard assets some time this year. Also, if you ask, Fidelity usually makes it worth your while with cash offers, free trades, or other perks. Even if they aren't running an advertised special, if you ask the rep then they can typically give you something!


Thank you. I shall check into that. Thanks again.

...and what makes you think that Fidelity Admiral shares cannot be transferred to another broker? Maybe it depends on the broker, but I had no trouble transferring (and later purchasing more) Admiral funds when I transferred my Fidelity, ML and Vanguard accounts over to Scottrade in mid-2015.

brad.clarkston
Posts: 588
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2014 8:31 pm
Location: Kansas City, MO

Re: Vanguard vs. Fidelity

Post by brad.clarkston » Sat Jan 14, 2017 6:24 pm

aj76er wrote:I'm in the process of transferring everything over to Fidelity (from Vanguard and a few other brokerages). I treat all my accounts as parts of one portfolio so it's nice to be able to re-balance in one place. My workplace 401k has always been administered through Fidelity, which is ~50% of my investible assets, so for me it was the natural choice to consolidate there.

Compared to Vanguard, the Fidelity website is a big improvement; and the customer service is *way* better. When calling in, I almost never have hold times and the reps are very knowledgable, friendly, and helpful. With Vanguard, it's been a mixed bag - sometimes the reps are good and sometimes not; sometimes the wait times are short, other times long. I also once had a bad experience with the Vanguard website not reporting cost-basis correctly for a fund, which did not leave a good feeling about their IT.

Fidelity also has some other perks - an FDIC checking-like account, a 2% cash-back credit card, and physical branch locations. For a person living off their portfolio (e.g. retiree), Fidelity has all the tools needed.

If you prefer mutual funds, then Vanguard has an advantage with their Admiral share class; but you can still use Vanguard ETFs through Fidelity. The bond funds at Vanguard are better, but the bond desk at Fidelity is probably better.

So, if customer service, website, and extra features are more important, then Fidelity is a clear winner. If admiral-class mutual funds and/or lower-cost bond mutual funds are more important, then Vanguard would be a better choice.


I substitute FID's Premium Class funds for VG Admiral Class without any problems

Fidelity Total Market Index Fund Premium Class (FSTVX) -- 0.04% ER
Fidelity Total International Index Fund Premium Class (FTIPX) -- 0.11% ER
Fidelity U. S. Bond Index Fund Premium Class (FSITX) -- 0.05% ER

Compared to:

Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund Admiral Shares (VTSAX) -- 0.05% ER
Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund Admiral Shares (VTIAX) -- 0.12% ER
Vanguard Total Bond Market Index Fund Admiral Shares (VBTLX) -- 0.06% ER

Yea FID's are 0.01% cheaper but there roughly half VG on Net assets so it's a toss. -- look at the yield difference, VG is better.
Last edited by brad.clarkston on Sat Jan 14, 2017 6:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

brad.clarkston
Posts: 588
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2014 8:31 pm
Location: Kansas City, MO

Re: Vanguard vs. Fidelity

Post by brad.clarkston » Sat Jan 14, 2017 6:36 pm

BL wrote:
brad.clarkston wrote:
BL wrote:If I had to ask for advice on what to invest in, I would choose Vanguard (which is where I am but I don't ask for advice so it wouldn't matter). If I told F that I was only interested in low-ER index funds, I think they would probably not try to sell me expensive funds or management.


You would be surprised I think. I have a semi-dedicated FID manager who knows what a boglehead is and leaves me alone except for once a year call just to see if there's anything paperwork wise he can help with or just anything in general.

When I hit the magical $ in my account for his notice he called me up and we talked for about an hour. Once he looked at my account and heard about my VG account he said "done & done" nothing else needed.

He did help me with my Term Life Insurance, Solo401k, HSA plans which made things much, much easier.


I am glad to hear that. When/if I get "updated" to brokerage side, I will keep that in mind if things don't work properly. It sounds like V is getting lots of new investors, so much so that it may become hard to handle all the customer services. Thanks to Bogleheads, I have learned enough to consider moving if necessary.


That's what I think to. Even Mr. Bogle has had a few passing comments of late about that. They have been doubling in size year over year for what 4 now ? The company is not structured like a Fidelity or TDA, it's all about stock holder pricing and minimum staff overhead so they are probably berried in customer requests. And if they are hiring new staff that just double downs on complaints until they get up to speed.

Fidelity is a better overall at account management that's where they have always made their money where VG is the best at mini-maxing that money. It's so close to a tossup for me I have a bit more than half of my money at VG and the rest at Fidelity along with my other products:

Fidelity Gov MMF card (part of the EF safety net)
Fidelity CC
Term Life Ins.
Solo401k
HSA
Broker acct

But the money that has to be mini-maxed perfectly forever is still at VG and I don't look at it.
I'm always looking at my FID account as the tools and perks are fun to play with.

*3!4!/5!
Posts: 1256
Joined: Fri Sep 02, 2016 1:47 pm

Re: Vanguard vs. Fidelity

Post by *3!4!/5! » Sat Jan 14, 2017 7:11 pm

brad.clarkston wrote:I substitute FID's Premium Class funds for VG Admiral Class without any problems

Fidelity Total Market Index Fund Premium Class (FSTVX) -- 0.04% ER
Fidelity Total International Index Fund Premium Class (FTIPX) -- 0.11% ER
Fidelity U. S. Bond Index Fund Premium Class (FSITX) -- 0.05% ER

Compared to:

Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund Admiral Shares (VTSAX) -- 0.05% ER
Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund Admiral Shares (VTIAX) -- 0.12% ER
Vanguard Total Bond Market Index Fund Admiral Shares (VBTLX) -- 0.06% ER

Yea FID's are 0.01% cheaper but there roughly half VG on Net assets so it's a toss. -- look at the yield difference, VG is better.


Acually FTIPX has about 99.95% less assets than VTIAX, and its performance appears to be lagging badly for an index fund.

*3!4!/5!
Posts: 1256
Joined: Fri Sep 02, 2016 1:47 pm

Re: Vanguard vs. Fidelity [Customer Service Reputation]

Post by *3!4!/5! » Sat Jan 14, 2017 7:41 pm

I have a Fidelity 403b at work, and they are TERRIBLE.

I made an appointment at work to meet with the Fidelity rep and they simply didn't show up, no apology, no explanation. This happened TWICE!

The website is terrible. It displays the value of a holding, but not the number of shares, nor the value of one share! These values of holdings update hours later than Vanguard. The transaction process is more convluted than Vanguard's. They display a list of about 200 funds so that only people who know what they are doing can find the few low cost funds among a vast sea of >1%ER funds. There are no statements, and past transactions are hard to find and poorly displayed. When navigating the website you have to be careful to avoid clicking on various buttons that mean you are agreeing to additional management fees.

They screwed up a transfer, costing me low four figures. Whenever I've tried calling about it, they say they are "investigating" but they just give me the runaround and sweep it under the rug. I can only call a specific number durng regular work hours.

I can't wait to get my funds out of this Fidelity 403b, but I can't do that without leaving my employer.

This is not a situation where one is better at some things and one is better at others. In my experience, Vanguard is better Fidelity in every single aspect.

brad.clarkston
Posts: 588
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2014 8:31 pm
Location: Kansas City, MO

Re: Vanguard vs. Fidelity

Post by brad.clarkston » Sat Jan 14, 2017 7:47 pm

*3!4!/5! wrote:
brad.clarkston wrote:I substitute FID's Premium Class funds for VG Admiral Class without any problems

Fidelity Total Market Index Fund Premium Class (FSTVX) -- 0.04% ER
Fidelity Total International Index Fund Premium Class (FTIPX) -- 0.11% ER
Fidelity U. S. Bond Index Fund Premium Class (FSITX) -- 0.05% ER

Compared to:

Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund Admiral Shares (VTSAX) -- 0.05% ER
Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund Admiral Shares (VTIAX) -- 0.12% ER
Vanguard Total Bond Market Index Fund Admiral Shares (VBTLX) -- 0.06% ER

Yea FID's are 0.01% cheaper but there roughly half VG on Net assets so it's a toss. -- look at the yield difference, VG is better.


Acually FTIPX has about 99.95% less assets than VTIAX, and its performance appears to be lagging badly for an index fund.


Yes admittedly FTIPX is the one I'm the least happy with but then I'm not happy with anyone's "complete-market" non-US fund picks VG included expecially in SCV. I'd kill to get some DFA tilt non-US SVC and/or EM but that's not an option.

I'm on the fence on International I'm currently at 20% AA but I'm looking for a replacement and/or slice but the best SCV isn't available outside of specialty brokers.

Bogel0048
Posts: 121
Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2016 7:30 pm

Re: Vanguard vs. Fidelity [Customer Service Reputation]

Post by Bogel0048 » Sat Jan 14, 2017 8:46 pm

We have been at Vanguard for over thirty years, having moved from Merrill Lynch in the early 80s, partly because I got tired of their constant calls to sell me new investments, but mostly because I learned about Jack Bogle and became sold on Vanguard's index fund model. Thirty years later, our two children and their spouses also have their savings at Vanguard and are benefitting from being included in our family of accounts. I am POA for my father and I have also moved his savings to Vanguard to help manage them. It is nice to deal with one account rep who is familiar with all of our accounts.

A nice feature at Vanguard, which I expect would also be possible at Fidelity, is that I can move funds from our account into our four children's accounts (I don't have or want transaction authority) and I can make transactions on my father's account, moving money to his local bank when he needs it, etc. I will comment that moving money to our children's accounts became much more difficult around the time Vanguard moved to their new brokerage account model. I don't think this was due to the new account model, but because Vanguard introduced new internal rules and procedures that made moving funds across accounts more complicated for their reps. I have also noticed an increase in the time required for Vanguard's specialty service offices to do things like moving funds into new trust accounts. I assume this is related to growth in customer volume and related growth in staffing.

During the 80s my wife's employer introduced Fidelity as the custodian for a portion of their retirement savings plans. The only Fidelity funds available to my wife had ERs of about 56 basis points. Fidelity got her money for twelve years or so, but they lost the opportunity to gain us as clients due to their high ERs. As soon as my wife's employer moved to a new custodian we rolled her Fidelity account out to Vanguard's VTSAX and VBILX at 5 and 9 basis points.

User avatar
Ged
Posts: 3311
Joined: Mon May 13, 2013 1:48 pm
Location: Roke

Re: Vanguard vs. Fidelity [Customer Service Reputation]

Post by Ged » Sat Jan 14, 2017 9:04 pm

I had assets at both Fidelity and Vanguard for several years. Mostly Vanguard funds. When my father passed I was the executor of his estate. He had his assets at Fidelity. When I called Fidelity they put me in touch with their estate group who immediately did exactly what I needed with great professionalism and sensitivity.

When the process was over I closed my Vanguard account. I still have most of my assets in Vanguard funds, ETFs. The small trading fees that entails is worth it I think.

More recently I did the paperwork to gain authority to make changes to my wife's accounts. I really appreciate it that when I log in I'm presented with a consolidated view that allows me to manage both our accounts as if were a single collection - no having to log in to one account then the other.

User avatar
ruralavalon
Posts: 11912
Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2008 10:29 am
Location: Illinois

Re: Vanguard vs. Fidelity [Customer Service Reputation]

Post by ruralavalon » Sun Jan 15, 2017 12:47 pm

Ged wrote:More recently I did the paperwork to gain authority to make changes to my wife's accounts. I really appreciate it that when I log in I'm presented with a consolidated view that allows me to manage both our accounts as if were a single collection - no having to log in to one account then the other.

You can do that at Vanguard as well.

For years I have been able to view my wife's Roth IRA along with my accounts on a single consolidated page with just my login. I didn't get authorization to transact in her account, but only because I didn't want or ask for that.
"Everything should be as simple as it is, but not simpler." - Albert Einstein | Wiki article link:Getting Started

radiowave
Posts: 1304
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2015 5:01 pm

Re: Vanguard vs. Fidelity [Customer Service Reputation]

Post by radiowave » Sun Jan 15, 2017 1:13 pm

Have both, like both for the reasons above.

I agree with customer service better at Fidelity, and some previous posts have noted IT problems at VG with cost basis (I had that problem last year). One picky thing about Fidelity is exchanging or selling lots, you cannot choose the lots, you have to specify shares or dollars first and there doesn't seem to be any direct way to do that on Fidelity website. With VG you just select the lots and either exchange or sell them. Again, happy with both.
Bogleheads Wiki: https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Main_Page

User avatar
aj76er
Posts: 367
Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2015 11:34 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Re: Vanguard vs. Fidelity

Post by aj76er » Sun Jan 15, 2017 4:46 pm

brad.clarkston wrote:
I substitute FID's Premium Class funds for VG Admiral Class without any problems

Fidelity Total Market Index Fund Premium Class (FSTVX) -- 0.04% ER
Fidelity Total International Index Fund Premium Class (FTIPX) -- 0.11% ER
Fidelity U. S. Bond Index Fund Premium Class (FSITX) -- 0.05% ER

Compared to:

Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund Admiral Shares (VTSAX) -- 0.05% ER
Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund Admiral Shares (VTIAX) -- 0.12% ER
Vanguard Total Bond Market Index Fund Admiral Shares (VBTLX) -- 0.06% ER

Yea FID's are 0.01% cheaper but there roughly half VG on Net assets so it's a toss. -- look at the yield difference, VG is better.


Keep in mind that "under the hood" these behave a little different than admiral-class shares, which are structured like ETFs to avoid capital gains. I believe Vanguard has a patent on this technique so other companies cannot utilize the same structure. The Fidelity funds are still great, but they will probably throw off more unwanted capital gains in any given year. Of course, in a tax-sheltered account it doesn't matter. But in taxable, I still prefer ETFs (or admiral-class shares) because they are slightly more tax efficient.
"Buy-and-hold, long-term, all-market-index strategies, implemented at rock-bottom cost, are the surest of all routes to the accumulation of wealth" - John C. Bogle

brad.clarkston
Posts: 588
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2014 8:31 pm
Location: Kansas City, MO

Re: Vanguard vs. Fidelity [Customer Service Reputation]

Post by brad.clarkston » Sun Jan 15, 2017 5:40 pm

radiowave wrote:Have both, like both for the reasons above.

I agree with customer service better at Fidelity, and some previous posts have noted IT problems at VG with cost basis (I had that problem last year). One picky thing about Fidelity is exchanging or selling lots, you cannot choose the lots, you have to specify shares or dollars first and there doesn't seem to be any direct way to do that on Fidelity website. With VG you just select the lots and either exchange or sell them. Again, happy with both.


I've sold specific lots on Fidelity, only ETF's tho.

In the Portfolio view you click the Trade link, in the drop down you pick the symbol and then the specific shares option in the buy/sell drop down. That will change you to to old FID page look. Then you add your quantity, order type, time in force, then check the "Choose Specific Shares" checkbox and hit the Continue button.

The next screen shows you the open tax lots for that fund and you pick up to the amount of sells you want from all of the lots. It also shows you the unrealized gain/loss on the lots which is nice.

jlawrence01
Posts: 1272
Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2013 1:34 am
Location: Southern AZ

Re: Vanguard vs. Fidelity [Customer Service Reputation]

Post by jlawrence01 » Sun Jan 15, 2017 6:26 pm

*3!4!/5! wrote:I have a Fidelity 403b at work, and they are TERRIBLE.

I made an appointment at work to meet with the Fidelity rep and they simply didn't show up, no apology, no explanation. This happened TWICE!

The website is terrible. It displays the value of a holding, but not the number of shares, nor the value of one share! These values of holdings update hours later than Vanguard. The transaction process is more convluted than Vanguard's. They display a list of about 200 funds so that only people who know what they are doing can find the few low cost funds among a vast sea of >1%ER funds. There are no statements, and past transactions are hard to find and poorly displayed. When navigating the website you have to be careful to avoid clicking on various buttons that mean you are agreeing to additional management fees.

This is not a situation where one is better at some things and one is better at others. In my experience, Vanguard is better Fidelity in every single aspect.



I had similar issues with Fidelity's management of our 401(k) at my prior employer.

What was worse was when I did retire, the Fidelity reps did not want me to transfer my funds out of Fidelity and kept transferring my call to "account retention" department. After 30 minutes, I told the Fidelity rep that I was going to start recording the remainder of the call on our recorder in our home office. It was at that point that all of the BS stopped and they send my money on to my new custodian. The people that I dealt with were on par with the "closers" at a timeshare presentation.

Two years later, I found out that there was money in the account that had not been transferred. I am not sure that could be attributed to Fidelity or to the new owners of the company that I retired from. However, I thought that it was interesting that I received no statements or notifications of that amount.

Dealing with the customer service at Fidelity is a MAJOR step down from Vanguard or T. Rowe Price which is among the best.

User avatar
nisiprius
Advisory Board
Posts: 34363
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2007 9:33 am
Location: The terrestrial, globular, planetary hunk of matter, flattened at the poles, is my abode.--O. Henry

Re: Vanguard vs. Fidelity [Customer Service Reputation]

Post by nisiprius » Sun Jan 15, 2017 6:34 pm

I had a 401(k) plan managed by Fidelity, a Fidelity account, and a Vanguard account, all for many years and all three of them overlapping for perhaps six or seven years. This was back circa 2005-2011 or so.

I never noticed any systematic difference in service between Vanguard and Fidelity. Both were very good, but not absolutely perfect. On a scale where L. L. Bean rates Aaa and Intuit rates D, then Vanguard and Fidelity might be Aa2.
Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness; Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.

chinto
Posts: 297
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2017 7:39 pm

Re: Vanguard vs. Fidelity [Customer Service Reputation]

Post by chinto » Mon Jan 16, 2017 6:34 pm

Re Vanguard. I was updating my son's 401K held at Vanguard. First the positive...I have never seen a lower ER on the Total Stock market at .02% - sweet. Not sure how that actually works in terms of if it is the company or Vanguard who got that ER but that is sweet. And I thought my .03 was good.

Then the negative. I tried to send a 4 question e-mail to the Vanguard. Their website is buggy as all heck. Apparently there is a ridiculously low character limit when you are corresponding by e-mail(that is not mentioned). I do note you can mail attachments. But the e-mail I tried to send was only 937 characters (1,171 with white space) and it was rejected with no error message or indication what was wrong. Moreover once you received this issue you had to essentially start all over to clear the problem and try again. You could not just delete characters as the interface would not clear it.

What the fuzzy kittens.

As I said to each their own.

radiowave
Posts: 1304
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2015 5:01 pm

Re: Vanguard vs. Fidelity [Customer Service Reputation]

Post by radiowave » Mon Jan 16, 2017 7:50 pm

brad.clarkston wrote:
radiowave wrote:Have both, like both for the reasons above.

I agree with customer service better at Fidelity, and some previous posts have noted IT problems at VG with cost basis (I had that problem last year). One picky thing about Fidelity is exchanging or selling lots, you cannot choose the lots, you have to specify shares or dollars first and there doesn't seem to be any direct way to do that on Fidelity website. With VG you just select the lots and either exchange or sell them. Again, happy with both.


I've sold specific lots on Fidelity, only ETF's tho.

In the Portfolio view you click the Trade link, in the drop down you pick the symbol and then the specific shares option in the buy/sell drop down. That will change you to to old FID page look. Then you add your quantity, order type, time in force, then check the "Choose Specific Shares" checkbox and hit the Continue button.

The next screen shows you the open tax lots for that fund and you pick up to the amount of sells you want from all of the lots. It also shows you the unrealized gain/loss on the lots which is nice.


I can get to the point that allows me to check Specific shares but when I click on Continue it won't let me go forwards without putting in actual number of shares which I have to go back and find the lot and the number of shares, write it down, then go back to above and put in the shares and then it will allow me to go forward. Not sure if I'm doing something wrong or if it's a bug in the software?
Bogleheads Wiki: https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Main_Page

bigred77
Posts: 1938
Joined: Sat Jun 11, 2011 4:53 pm

Re: Vanguard vs. Fidelity [Customer Service Reputation]

Post by bigred77 » Mon Jan 16, 2017 7:59 pm

I have been very happy with Fidelity. They are the only financial company I use (cash management accounts, retirement accounts, taxable brokerage accounts, RSUs, will eventually use for 529s, etc.)

I've had 1 issue in the past 8 years that wasn't immediately rectified to my satisfaction. I felt like they tried their best but it took 6 weeks to fix a online bill pay issue where someone was credited only 200 dollars when I sent a check for 2000. Other than that, I have been very impressed.

brad.clarkston
Posts: 588
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2014 8:31 pm
Location: Kansas City, MO

Re: Vanguard vs. Fidelity [Customer Service Reputation]

Post by brad.clarkston » Mon Jan 16, 2017 8:57 pm

radiowave wrote:
brad.clarkston wrote:
radiowave wrote:Have both, like both for the reasons above.

I agree with customer service better at Fidelity, and some previous posts have noted IT problems at VG with cost basis (I had that problem last year). One picky thing about Fidelity is exchanging or selling lots, you cannot choose the lots, you have to specify shares or dollars first and there doesn't seem to be any direct way to do that on Fidelity website. With VG you just select the lots and either exchange or sell them. Again, happy with both.


I've sold specific lots on Fidelity, only ETF's tho.

In the Portfolio view you click the Trade link, in the drop down you pick the symbol and then the specific shares option in the buy/sell drop down. That will change you to to old FID page look. Then you add your quantity, order type, time in force, then check the "Choose Specific Shares" checkbox and hit the Continue button.

The next screen shows you the open tax lots for that fund and you pick up to the amount of sells you want from all of the lots. It also shows you the unrealized gain/loss on the lots which is nice.


I can get to the point that allows me to check Specific shares but when I click on Continue it won't let me go forwards without putting in actual number of shares which I have to go back and find the lot and the number of shares, write it down, then go back to above and put in the shares and then it will allow me to go forward. Not sure if I'm doing something wrong or if it's a bug in the software?


Nope that's how it works, very klugey at best. That part of the website hasn't been updated yet. They just finished the upgrades to the Portfolio section and the analysis so hopefully they will get to it soon.

radiowave
Posts: 1304
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2015 5:01 pm

Re: Vanguard vs. Fidelity [Customer Service Reputation]

Post by radiowave » Mon Jan 16, 2017 10:28 pm

Thanks Brad, I thought I was going nuts trying to figure it out. I really like the Vanguard exchange, just a few clicks, specify lot or lots, then click on fund were it going and submit . . . wish Fidelity was that easy.
Bogleheads Wiki: https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Main_Page

WhyNotUs
Posts: 1138
Joined: Sun Apr 14, 2013 11:38 am

Re: Vanguard vs. Fidelity [Customer Service Reputation]

Post by WhyNotUs » Tue Jan 17, 2017 8:59 am

nbseer wrote:I just transferred 50% of my IRA from Vanguard to Fidelity, to take advantage of Fidelity's cash bonus offer. It's just been a few days, but already I am impressed with the increased amount of communication from Fidelity compared to what I get from Vanguard.

Does Fidelity have a better reputation for customer service than Vanguard, and while I haven't had a chance to look over Fidelity's mutual fund and etf offerings, are they as low-cost as Vanguards? Maybe I should move my entire IRA over there...


Chasing cash bonuses with your IRA? To each his own but doing that without even checking the funds in advance seems over the top.

I used to have accounts in each and liked them both but wanted to simplify so moved everything to VG and met the next threshold of customer. Never had a problem at FIDO. Their Spartan funds were VG-like and they have been cutting expenses more over the last few years. I think it is really just personal preference.
I own the next hot stock- VTSAX

chinto
Posts: 297
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2017 7:39 pm

Re: Vanguard vs. Fidelity [Customer Service Reputation]

Post by chinto » Tue Jan 17, 2017 5:48 pm

Okay, honestly Vanguard’s customer service reeks, really. When I logged in, I was greeted yet again with a scree that informed me my e-mail was invalid, and sure enough they still have the old e-mail. But when you go to your notifications, what do you find, the THREE confirmations for the new e-mail that I updated. So I update the e-mail yet again…log out and log-in and see, yep, they still tell me I need to update my e-mail. Good grief.

Moving on…then I see this:

We're experiencing high call volumes today
Most needs can be taken care of on this website. The Help Center can get you started. If you do not need to speak with someone today, we recommend calling tomorrow.


So I go over to the e-mail features, figuring I’ll e-mail my questions, but what do I get but:

You may send a secure e-mail to Vanguard during non-business hours only. If you need assistance, please contact a Vanguard Participant Services associate at 800-523-1188. Associates are available to assist you Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Eastern time.

Yep, that is correct. Don’t e-mail us, call us, but don’t call us either because we are busy!!!!!
What the fuzzy kittens is wrong with this company?

soc2003
Posts: 17
Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2014 10:46 am

Re: Vanguard vs. Fidelity [Customer Service Reputation]

Post by soc2003 » Tue Jan 17, 2017 8:45 pm

I have been with Fidelity for over 17 years and am very happy with their customer service and website. I am also pleased that they are lowering the cost of their ETFs and mutual funds.

User avatar
simplesimon
Posts: 3002
Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2008 8:53 pm
Location: Boston, MA

Re: Vanguard vs. Fidelity [Customer Service Reputation]

Post by simplesimon » Wed Jan 18, 2017 10:28 am

Another negative quirk that may say something about Vanguard's systems or processes: my wife changed her name and it is the only company so far that has said that it requires the actual marriage certificate and that a scanned copy was not acceptable.

CULater
Posts: 503
Joined: Sun Nov 13, 2016 10:59 am

Re: Vanguard vs. Fidelity [Customer Service Reputation]

Post by CULater » Wed Jan 18, 2017 10:38 am

I've not invested with Fidelity so can't report any experience with them. I've had several serious problems with Vanguard that have shaken my confidence in their customer service. They once vaporized a Roth IRA I held when it was supposed to be merged with a second Roth IRA and lost all records of it having existed and customer service doubted my claim instead of trying to rectify the issue. Recently, I wanted to recharacterize a TIRA to Roth conversion and it took about 6 tries with customer service to get it done; they didn't seem to know how to do it. I've also been dissatisfied by the fact that you can't have a customized beneficiary designation for your IRA accounts unless you have $1M invested with Vanguard. So -- I'm not exactly a satisfied customer. If I thought Fidelity or Schwab or some other custodian would be any better, I'd gladly move my accounts there. So -- I'm interested in hearing more about these guys.
May you have the hindsight to know where you've been, The foresight to know where you're going, And the insight to know when you've gone too far. ~ Irish Blessing

Nthomas
Posts: 55
Joined: Fri Jul 15, 2016 8:46 am

Re: Vanguard vs. Fidelity [Customer Service Reputation]

Post by Nthomas » Wed Jan 18, 2017 11:12 am

CULater wrote:I've not invested with Fidelity so can't report any experience with them. I've had several serious problems with Vanguard that have shaken my confidence in their customer service. They once vaporized a Roth IRA I held when it was supposed to be merged with a second Roth IRA and lost all records of it having existed and customer service doubted my claim instead of trying to rectify the issue. Recently, I wanted to recharacterize a TIRA to Roth conversion and it took about 6 tries with customer service to get it done; they didn't seem to know how to do it. I've also been dissatisfied by the fact that you can't have a customized beneficiary designation for your IRA accounts unless you have $1M invested with Vanguard. So -- I'm not exactly a satisfied customer. If I thought Fidelity or Schwab or some other custodian would be any better, I'd gladly move my accounts there. So -- I'm interested in hearing more about these guys.

I have accounts at both VG and Schwab and Schwab is significantly better in terms of customer service.

User avatar
TheTimeLord
Posts: 4900
Joined: Fri Jul 26, 2013 2:05 pm

Re: Vanguard vs. Fidelity

Post by TheTimeLord » Wed Jan 18, 2017 11:36 am

sambb wrote:I'm in agreement that fidelity is way ahead here. And their index funds are cheap. Slowly moving over. Vancuard's IT is scary and their service is poor.


The difference to me is Fidelity seems to want to assist you, Vanguard is rigid and just wants to take your order. Still don't know why I can't cancel a mutual fund order before market close once placed with Vanguard. The difference really came home to me when I was looking to open a Solo 401K, I wasn't even sure Vanguard was actually interested in opening an account, Fidelity made it very easy. Local branches come in handy periodically especially if you want explanations on documents or are late getting something in. Once a year they call and ask if I would like to meet to discuss my accounts and I decline. Finally I use the Fidelity 2% Visa with the bonus cash directly deposited into my account, which is a nice touch. I have accounts with both, but if I had to interact with Vanguard on a regular basis I would probably transfer everything to Fidelity. But there are a ton of Vanguard fans here so they must work for most people just fine.
Run, You Clever Boy! 8723

User avatar
TheTimeLord
Posts: 4900
Joined: Fri Jul 26, 2013 2:05 pm

Re: Vanguard vs. Fidelity

Post by TheTimeLord » Wed Jan 18, 2017 11:42 am

gator1 wrote:No experience with Fidelity. Started my Roth with Vanguard a few years ago based on numerous recommendations from Bogleheads. I've never had a reason to leave Vanguard. I must say I'm surprised to see a lot of complaints on Vanguard. Those were hard to find a few years ago.


I think the ER spreads were probably much wider so you probably felt like it the difference in customer service was explainable. Vanguard has been behind in their online presence for as long as I can remember. But they unquestionable offer top funds just other are becoming more competitive with better platforms or broader offerings.
Run, You Clever Boy! 8723

User avatar
ruralavalon
Posts: 11912
Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2008 10:29 am
Location: Illinois

Re: Vanguard vs. Fidelity

Post by ruralavalon » Wed Jan 18, 2017 11:51 am

TimeLord wrote:Local branches come in handy periodically especially if you want explanations on documents or are late getting something in. Once a year they call and ask if I would like to meet to discuss my accounts and I decline. Finally I use the Fidelity 2% Visa with the bonus cash directly deposited into my account, which is a nice touch. I have accounts with both, but if I had to interact with Vanguard on a regular basis I would probably transfer everything to Fidelity. But there are a ton of Vanguard fans here so they must work for most people just fine.

Fidelity has no local office in my area or in most areas, so that is not a plus available for many people.

I don't need much customer service, I don't think I call Vanguard for anything more often than once per year. That's probably true for many others. One advantage of Boglehead style investing is that it requires almost no portfolio management.
"Everything should be as simple as it is, but not simpler." - Albert Einstein | Wiki article link:Getting Started

TRC
Posts: 1838
Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2008 5:38 pm

Re: Vanguard vs. Fidelity [Customer Service Reputation]

Post by TRC » Wed Jan 18, 2017 11:54 am

nbseer wrote:I just transferred 50% of my IRA from Vanguard to Fidelity, to take advantage of Fidelity's cash bonus offer. It's just been a few days, but already I am impressed with the increased amount of communication from Fidelity compared to what I get from Vanguard.

Does Fidelity have a better reputation for customer service than Vanguard, and while I haven't had a chance to look over Fidelity's mutual fund and etf offerings, are they as low-cost as Vanguards? Maybe I should move my entire IRA over there...


You're probably getting increased communication because the money was just moved there. I would expect that to die down once everything is set into place.

I have investments at both Fidelity and Vanguard. I consider both to be top notch organizations with excellent customer service. Aside from my quarterly statements, I don't hear much from either of them, nor do I need to.

Post Reply