Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

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JimmyK
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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by JimmyK » Thu Jul 30, 2020 8:33 am

I am not recommending free services for complex financial matters. But Vanguard services have changed, that is a fact. The funds are still rock solid with low expenses. I do not need PSA or Digital services from Vanguard, however, I use to be able to bounce a simple financial question with them, and that service is no longer available.

diydocwifejd
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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by diydocwifejd » Thu Jul 30, 2020 8:41 am

I am with you 100%. Vanguard's "customer service" if you want to call it that, is sub-par for other providers. Customer service only available during business hours M-F (doesn't work when my husband is a surgeon and is generally unavailable business hours). Lots of their documentation has to be requested by phone, sent by email, then printed and mailed back. They never processed our request for me to have limited authority on my husband's account. Had to resend by mail. Oh, and the three - seven day hold on funds with backdoor roths IS UNNECESSARY AND ABSOLUTELY INFURIATING.

Compare to Fidelity where customer service is amazing -- their reps are helpful, it's available 24/7, no weird wait period for backdoor roths, lots of things can be accomplished online or over the phone (have literally never had to snail mail them anything), etc.

BOO VANGUARD.

Dave55
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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by Dave55 » Thu Jul 30, 2020 8:48 am

Never had a problem at Vanguard, Fidelity or Schwab in 30 years.

Dave

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dwickenh
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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by dwickenh » Thu Jul 30, 2020 8:49 am

Dave55 wrote:
Thu Jul 30, 2020 8:48 am
Never had a problem at Vanguard, Fidelity or Schwab in 30 years.

Dave
+1
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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by RadAudit » Thu Jul 30, 2020 8:56 am

Index Fan wrote:
Wed Jul 29, 2020 9:28 pm
It's been my experience over the decades that good businesses sooner or later stop being good.

I can't think of much left to believe in in this 'race to the bottom' world we find ourselves in.

Best of luck to us all
+1
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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by ClevrChico » Thu Jul 30, 2020 9:26 am

If I decided to switch, it would be Fidelity, since they offer a great Visa card and cash management account. It would be a nice one stop shop.

I do like Vanguard's website and app over other brokerages, though. It's much simpler and easier to use. It would take a big problem for me to convert to etfs and transfer assets. That would certainly complicate things for a surviving spouse vs. admiral funds at Vanguard. Another major concern would be a surviving spouse getting sold high fee products at other brokerages. That could make switching very costly long term.

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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by ruralavalon » Thu Jul 30, 2020 11:02 am

Welcome to the forum :) .

tspill wrote:
Wed Jul 29, 2020 11:25 am
. . . . .
So, question is this -- who has a good platform I can move to that doesn't charge fees and will get basic service items done efficiently??? I don't need investment advice but I do need service capabilities, good online platform, no cost funds/other options, etc.
Sorry to hear or your bad experience with Vanguard. We have had all of our investing accounts with Vanguard for many years, use only Vanguard index funds, have had no problems with customer service at Vanguard, and like their website and app.

My suggestion is Fidelity, they would be my choice if we left Vanguard for some reason. They have good low cost index funds covering the basic asset types, and offer commission free ETFs of other companies including Vanguard and BlackRock iShares ETFs. They do have local customer service offices in some cities, and most here praise their customer service.
"Everything should be as simple as it is, but not simpler." - Albert Einstein | Wiki article link:Getting Started

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1210sda
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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by 1210sda » Thu Jul 30, 2020 11:23 am

dave1054 wrote:
Wed Jul 29, 2020 7:02 pm
Vanguard will not up sell like other brokerages and this is a significant issue when the surviving spouse is not financially savvy.
For me, this is a very important reason to stay with Vanguard. (There are other reasons as well.)

Unfortunately, you have to go on trust. There is no guarantee that things will remain the same in the future.

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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by grobertj » Thu Jul 30, 2020 11:28 am

1210sda wrote:
Thu Jul 30, 2020 11:23 am
dave1054 wrote:
Wed Jul 29, 2020 7:02 pm
Vanguard will not up sell like other brokerages and this is a significant issue when the surviving spouse is not financially savvy.
For me, this is a very important reason to stay with Vanguard. (There are other reasons as well.)

Unfortunately, you have to go on trust. There is no guarantee that things will remain the same in the future.
+1
The only constant is CHANGE!!

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William Million
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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by William Million » Thu Jul 30, 2020 11:48 am

Over the past year, I've moved out of Vanguard brokerage. Service is poor, compared to what it used to be. I've taken advantage of the incentives to try out Merrill Edge, Ally and Etrade. All better than Vanguard, but Etrade so far the best.

Having said that, you can't beat Vanguard's low-cost funds and ETFs. It's just that you have to make a distinction between the funds/ETFs and the mediocre customer service in general and brokerage service in particular. You simply get a brighter, more informed person on the phone with the other companies.
Last edited by William Million on Thu Jul 30, 2020 11:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by 02nz » Thu Jul 30, 2020 11:49 am

William Million wrote:
Thu Jul 30, 2020 11:48 am
Over the past year, I've moved out of Vanguard brokerage. Service is poor, compared to what it used to be. I've taken advantage of the incentives to try out Merrill Edge, Ally and Etrade. All better than Vanguard, but Etrade so far the best.

Having said that, you can't beat Vanguard's low-cost funds and ETFs. It's just that you have to make a distinction between the funds/ETFs and the mediocre brokerage service.
I've also found that pretty much every other brokerage I've tried has better service than Vanguard. The best place to hold Vanguard ETFs is (almost) anywhere but Vanguard!

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Gort
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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by Gort » Thu Jul 30, 2020 11:56 am

30+ years at Vanguard. Never a problem.

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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by Stinky » Thu Jul 30, 2020 12:51 pm

Gort wrote:
Thu Jul 30, 2020 11:56 am
30+ years at Vanguard. Never a problem.
Ditto.
It's a GREAT day to be alive - Travis Tritt

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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by Dick D » Thu Jul 30, 2020 1:21 pm

i have been with Vanguard for 40 years. I do not think that I had a need to speak with anyone for the first 35 years. Now i might speak to them once a year, and my question or issue is handled during the call.

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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by BluesH » Thu Jul 30, 2020 1:21 pm

I'm very pleased with Fidelity, to the point that I have transferred all my assets there. My Fidelity rep resolves any problems I may have quickly, efficiently, and with no hassle.

Five years ago my wife and I formed a Revocable Trust for estate planning purposes. Our lawyer transferred our home into the trust, and helped us with forms and letters for other financial assets, like bank accounts and brokerages. No problems with most bank accounts. Not so for Vanguard or TDAmeritrade.

A few years after submitting the request to re-title our assets at Vanguard, I finally noticed that our statements still came as community property. It took a number of phone calls to confirm that indeed, they had never made the change. The person I had on the phone even confirmed that she could see the original forms in the request, but that it hadn't happened. I asked her to make it happen. After more research, she informed me that not only would I have to fill out new forms (their forms had changed), I would need to get new signature guarantees, a process that would take me a few days. I thought that was outrageous, since it was verifiably their fault. So I did what I had done when I encountered a similar problem at TDA. I called my Fidelity rep and requested that they do a transfer in kind from Vanguard to Fidelity. That's all it required - a phone call, and a return email where I signed a request form; and the transfer was completed in a few days.

As noted, I had the problem with both Vanguard and TDA. (Fidelity was the only brokerage that had done the re-title properly in the first case).
Both cases were resolved with a phone call to my Fidelity rep. Both cases were going to be a hassle of new forms and signature guarantees with the other firms. And, based on history, I wasn't convinced that either firm would resolve it properly.

That's why I now have all my assets (outside a few online banks) at Fidelity. They've always provided excellent service; especially compared to the poor service from VG and TDA.

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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by meercat8 » Thu Jul 30, 2020 2:10 pm

Can Beyou or anyone else explain what is meant by "they are phasing out the mutual fund “old” platform"?

Does this mean that Vanguard will not continue to have its mutual funds as they are now, and what would replace them?

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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by Mr.BB » Thu Jul 30, 2020 2:21 pm

The one thing I've always found true with customer service whether it's Vanguard, Fidelity, Home Depot or Mariano's; it's who you talk to that makes service great or a disaster.
When you find a great customer service person and you can keep them as your direct contact, questions or problems seem to get resolved a lot quicker.
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."

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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by sycamore » Thu Jul 30, 2020 5:41 pm

meercat8 wrote:
Thu Jul 30, 2020 2:10 pm
Can Beyou or anyone else explain what is meant by "they are phasing out the mutual fund “old” platform"?

Does this mean that Vanguard will not continue to have its mutual funds as they are now, and what would replace them?
meercat8,

Short answer: the mutual funds will remain. The old platform is less about the fact that you could only own mutual funds and more about Vanguard's software and systems [to run that platform] being outdated, probably hard to upgrade and maintain, and lacking some features (that Vanguard wants and that some customers want - like ability to trade non-MF investments such as stocks and ETFs), and being redundant because they've got a "new" platform (Vanguard doesn't want to support two systems).

Long answer: some bogleheads have posted here about receiving an email or other messaging that either suggests or outright says the old platform will be retired, perhaps even in the next few years. I am not so sure -- I asked my Vanguard rep about that and he said he heard no plans about that. If one is reading between the lines, a middle ground might be that the old platform will not improved nor be the main focus for customer service. E.g., if you're on the old platform and have a problem, it may take longer (than usual) for Vanguard customer service to help you out, and when they do their first response will be to suggest moving to the new platform.

There have also been some bogleheads threads noting that ETFs are (1) growing in assets and (2) cheaper & easier for Vanguard to manage than corresponding mutual funds. Some people end up speculating that Vanguard's intent is to get out of the mutual fund business. I think that last bit is too much. There are trillions of dollars invested in mutual funds and Vanguard makes lots of money running them. Even with the headache that comes with managing mutual fund assets (as opposed to ETFs), I can't see Vanguard giving up mutual funds.

mtmingus
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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by mtmingus » Thu Jul 30, 2020 5:56 pm

We are super happy with our banking experiences at Fidelity.

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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by carmonkie » Thu Jul 30, 2020 6:24 pm

You could have posted. Poor service at <insert name here> and would have gotten the same negative experiences.

We are happy with Vanguard. One time I made a mistake entering a MF order and they corrected it over the phone. I have not had a need to consider jumping ship...

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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by Ferdinand2014 » Thu Jul 30, 2020 6:40 pm

tspill wrote:
Wed Jul 29, 2020 11:25 am
Hi All,

New poster here, so thank you for the consideration. I did review previous posts that were similar so sorry for the duplication if any.

My issue is this: lately (last 12-24 months) Vanguard's service has really deteriorated to the point of causing me to want to leave. I've been at Vanguard for close to 30 years and have virtually all my assets there (IRAs, after tax, etc.) for me, my wife and our joint accounts.

I used to have a designated representative that I could call but they discontinued that option. Regardless, the last couple of people I had were completely useless. I've called for many simple items that you can't do online (e.g., international wire transfer) and had it take days and days to get done correctly.

Recently, I converted all my mutual fund accounts to brokerage accounts at Vanguard's suggestion (mainly because they discontinued mobile check deposits without notice). They completely fouled that up and I lost check writing privileges and my linked banks didn't transfer. I've been trying to fix these issues for weeks and it has me completely pissed.

I got one mea culpa email from an executive liaison who said everything is fixed but call me. I checked and nothing was fixed and she never returned my call. I asked for a Vanguard executive to call me and was told that ain't going to happen.

So, question is this -- who has a good platform I can move to that doesn't charge fees and will get basic service items done efficiently??? I don't need investment advice but I do need service capabilities, good online platform, no cost funds/other options, etc.
Fidelity. 26 years and getting better every year. Excellent 24/7 customer service. Free all in one do everything institution.
“You only find out who is swimming naked when the tide goes out.“ — Warren Buffett

Kookaburra
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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by Kookaburra » Thu Jul 30, 2020 6:58 pm

Ever notice how Fidelity’s interface is green (whereas Vanguard’s is red). Coincidence?

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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by abuss368 » Thu Jul 30, 2020 8:57 pm

Dave55 wrote:
Thu Jul 30, 2020 8:48 am
Never had a problem at Vanguard, Fidelity or Schwab in 30 years.

Dave
Well said Dave. Very rare do we contact Vanguard so it has never been an issue.
John C. Bogle: Two Fund Portfolio - Total Stock & Total Bond - “Simplicity is the master key to financial success."

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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by 000 » Thu Jul 30, 2020 9:12 pm

Personally I am glad that Vanguard is no longer offering TurboTax, advisory services, etc. for "free". I do not use those services and have no need to pay for them.

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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by abuss368 » Thu Jul 30, 2020 9:29 pm

Ferdinand2014 wrote:
Thu Jul 30, 2020 6:40 pm
tspill wrote:
Wed Jul 29, 2020 11:25 am
Hi All,

New poster here, so thank you for the consideration. I did review previous posts that were similar so sorry for the duplication if any.

My issue is this: lately (last 12-24 months) Vanguard's service has really deteriorated to the point of causing me to want to leave. I've been at Vanguard for close to 30 years and have virtually all my assets there (IRAs, after tax, etc.) for me, my wife and our joint accounts.

I used to have a designated representative that I could call but they discontinued that option. Regardless, the last couple of people I had were completely useless. I've called for many simple items that you can't do online (e.g., international wire transfer) and had it take days and days to get done correctly.

Recently, I converted all my mutual fund accounts to brokerage accounts at Vanguard's suggestion (mainly because they discontinued mobile check deposits without notice). They completely fouled that up and I lost check writing privileges and my linked banks didn't transfer. I've been trying to fix these issues for weeks and it has me completely pissed.

I got one mea culpa email from an executive liaison who said everything is fixed but call me. I checked and nothing was fixed and she never returned my call. I asked for a Vanguard executive to call me and was told that ain't going to happen.

So, question is this -- who has a good platform I can move to that doesn't charge fees and will get basic service items done efficiently??? I don't need investment advice but I do need service capabilities, good online platform, no cost funds/other options, etc.
Fidelity. 26 years and getting better every year. Excellent 24/7 customer service. Free all in one do everything institution.
I recall having everything (at the time) consolidated at e-trade - banking, investments, and loans. That was nice having an all in one snapshot on one single website.
John C. Bogle: Two Fund Portfolio - Total Stock & Total Bond - “Simplicity is the master key to financial success."

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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by galawdawg » Fri Jul 31, 2020 6:31 am

I thought the world of Jack Bogle and was a loyal Vanguard "client-owner" for thirty years. Unfortunately, times change and they are no longer the Vanguard that Jack Bogle created. No innovation, just playing catch-up with the competition. Dated technology. Hit and miss customer service. Unresponsive management. Tone-deaf executives. No transparency or accountability in corporate governance or executive compensation. Profit centered rather than "client-owner" centered. And no longer the low-cost leader in the industry.

I believe that as to retail investors, to a large extent Vanguard relies on the many years of goodwill that Jack Bogle and his crew built and the resulting loyalty to retain "client-owners" who would otherwise enjoy much better service and product at the same or lower cost at the competition.

Just my $0.02.

[NOTE: I edited this post to remove incorrect information I posted about expense ratios, thanks to those who pointed out my inaccuracy. My apologies.]
Last edited by galawdawg on Fri Jul 31, 2020 12:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by bondsr4me » Fri Jul 31, 2020 6:36 am

galawdawg wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 6:31 am
000 wrote:
Thu Jul 30, 2020 9:12 pm
Personally I am glad that Vanguard is no longer offering TurboTax, advisory services, etc. for "free". I do not use those services and have no need to pay for them.
And can you or anyone else for that matter point to the savings that Vanguard client-owners have realized from Vanguard discontinuing all of those "free" services and benefits?

I know I can't. VTSAX has an expense ratio of 0.04%. Do you know what the expense ratio was for VTSAX when it was created November 13, 2000? The same, 0.04%.

Do you know what the expense ratio was for VBTLX when it was first started November 21, 2001? 0.05%. Do you know what it is today? The same, 0.05%.

How about VTIAX? Fund created November 29, 2010, expense ratio was 0.11%. I'm sure by now you see the pattern....yep, same expense ratio today....0.11%.

So for those who say "I'm glad Vanguard no longer offers TurboTax, Vanguard Advantage, Flagship Representatives, an annual financial plan by a CFP and so on" because "I don't want to pay for those services since I don't use them", how much are you now saving from not paying for those services?

I can tell you that I didn't save a penny. Not one. Expense ratios for both the two-fund portfolio and the three-fund portfolio have remained exactly the same since each of the funds was created. Vanguard has cut services but not the cost.

[sarcasm on] So now that you see how much of the cost-savings that Vanguard passed along to the client-owners, aren't you glad that they did away with all of those services you have been "paying for"? I know I am. [sarcasm off]

I thought the world of Jack Bogle and was a loyal Vanguard "client-owner" for thirty years. Unfortunately, times change and they are no longer the Vanguard that Jack Bogle created. No innovation, just playing catch-up with the competition. Dated technology. Hit and miss customer service. Unresponsive management. Tone-deaf executives. No transparency or accountability in corporate governance or executive compensation. Profit centered rather than "client-owner" centered. And no longer the low-cost leader in the industry.

I believe that as to retail investors, to a large extent Vanguard relies on the many years of goodwill that Jack Bogle and his crew built and the resulting loyalty to retain "client-owners" who would otherwise enjoy much better service and product at the same or lower cost at the competition.

Just my $0.02. Which as pointed out before, did not come from Vanguard passing along any cost-savings from eliminating services and benefits! :wink:
+1

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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by Stinky » Fri Jul 31, 2020 7:10 am

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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by LadyGeek » Fri Jul 31, 2020 7:55 am

tspill - Has your question been answered?

If not, what do you need help with?
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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by rkhusky » Fri Jul 31, 2020 8:25 am

Perhaps the savings from all the free stuff went into the added expense of lowering Admiral minimums from $10k to $3k. I didn’t benefit from the latter, but it’s fine that Vanguard did it.

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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by SxSW » Fri Jul 31, 2020 8:35 am

dave1054 wrote:
Wed Jul 29, 2020 7:02 pm
Vanguard will not up sell like other brokerages and this is a significant issue when the surviving spouse is not financially savvy.

Of course they will. Vanguard has sales departments like any other brokerage firm.

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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by whaleknives » Fri Jul 31, 2020 10:27 am

More grist for the mill, from White Coat Investor:
Almost 7 weeks to complete a transfer from @Fidelity to @Vanguard_Group. Not impressive guys. And you're both at fault. This should be able to be done online and completed in 3 days.
https://twitter.com/WCInvestor/status/1289054686205509632
The transfer in question was
A self-directed 401K to Roth IRA transfer. Essentially a Mega Backdoor Roth IRA.
And a review from earlier this month: Is Vanguard Losing Its Status?
"I'm an indexer. I own the market. And I'm happy." (John Bogle, "BusinessWeek", 8/17/07) ☕ Maritime signal flag W - Whiskey: "I require medical assistance."

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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by diydocwifejd » Fri Jul 31, 2020 10:34 am

BluesH wrote:
Thu Jul 30, 2020 1:21 pm
I'm very pleased with Fidelity, to the point that I have transferred all my assets there. My Fidelity rep resolves any problems I may have quickly, efficiently, and with no hassle.

Five years ago my wife and I formed a Revocable Trust for estate planning purposes. Our lawyer transferred our home into the trust, and helped us with forms and letters for other financial assets, like bank accounts and brokerages. No problems with most bank accounts. Not so for Vanguard or TDAmeritrade.

A few years after submitting the request to re-title our assets at Vanguard, I finally noticed that our statements still came as community property. It took a number of phone calls to confirm that indeed, they had never made the change. The person I had on the phone even confirmed that she could see the original forms in the request, but that it hadn't happened. I asked her to make it happen. After more research, she informed me that not only would I have to fill out new forms (their forms had changed), I would need to get new signature guarantees, a process that would take me a few days. I thought that was outrageous, since it was verifiably their fault. So I did what I had done when I encountered a similar problem at TDA. I called my Fidelity rep and requested that they do a transfer in kind from Vanguard to Fidelity. That's all it required - a phone call, and a return email where I signed a request form; and the transfer was completed in a few days.

As noted, I had the problem with both Vanguard and TDA. (Fidelity was the only brokerage that had done the re-title properly in the first case).
Both cases were resolved with a phone call to my Fidelity rep. Both cases were going to be a hassle of new forms and signature guarantees with the other firms. And, based on history, I wasn't convinced that either firm would resolve it properly.

That's why I now have all my assets (outside a few online banks) at Fidelity. They've always provided excellent service; especially compared to the poor service from VG and TDA.
Your experience with Vanguard sums up one of my exact reasons for being with Fidelity. Vanguard's process (even when it works) is antiquated and infuriating.

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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by backpacker61 » Fri Jul 31, 2020 10:43 am

galawdawg wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 6:31 am
And can you or anyone else for that matter point to the savings that Vanguard client-owners have realized from Vanguard discontinuing all of those "free" services and benefits?

I know I can't. VTSAX has an expense ratio of 0.04%. Do you know what the expense ratio was for VTSAX when it was created November 13, 2000? The same, 0.04%.

Do you know what the expense ratio was for VBTLX when it was first started November 21, 2001? 0.05%. Do you know what it is today? The same, 0.05%.

How about VTIAX? Fund created November 29, 2010, expense ratio was 0.11%. I'm sure by now you see the pattern....yep, same expense ratio today....0.11%.
I don't have "old" copies of the prospectuses or annual reports to refer to, but I do have a set of spreadsheets that I made up of investments that I hold, updated periodically, and made note of their expense ratios (to calculate my investments costs).

In January 2013, I recorded VTSAX having an expense ratio of 0.06%.
At the same time, I recorded VTIAX as having an expense ratio of 0.18%.
I've never owned VBTLX, so I can't comment on it.

But I believe your statement that these funds have never had their expense ratio lowered is not incorrect.

VTIAX later went down to 0.16% later (March) in 2013.
VTSAX went to 0.05% later (September) 2013.
VTIAX expense ratio was 0.14% by the end of 2014.
VTIAX expense ratio was 0.12% by the end of 2016.
VTSAX expense ratio was 0.04% by the end of 2018.

So I just think it's factually incorrect that Vanguard has never lowered the expense ratios of the index fund Admiral class shares since their inceptions.

I concede that Vanguard has had some service missteps, but I think some of the posts in this thread are tending irrational.
“Now shall I walk or shall I ride? | 'Ride,' Pleasure said; | 'Walk,' Joy replied.” | | ― W.H. Davies

depressed
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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by depressed » Fri Jul 31, 2020 11:03 am

galawdawg wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 6:31 am
And can you or anyone else for that matter point to the savings that Vanguard client-owners have realized from Vanguard discontinuing all of those "free" services and benefits?

I know I can't. VTSAX has an expense ratio of 0.04%. Do you know what the expense ratio was for VTSAX when it was created November 13, 2000? The same, 0.04%.

Do you know what the expense ratio was for VBTLX when it was first started November 21, 2001? 0.05%. Do you know what it is today? The same, 0.05%.

How about VTIAX? Fund created November 29, 2010, expense ratio was 0.11%. I'm sure by now you see the pattern....yep, same expense ratio today....0.11%.

So for those who say "I'm glad Vanguard no longer offers TurboTax, Vanguard Advantage, Flagship Representatives, an annual financial plan by a CFP and so on" because "I don't want to pay for those services since I don't use them", how much are you now saving from not paying for those services?

I can tell you that I didn't save a penny. Not one. Expense ratios for both the two-fund portfolio and the three-fund portfolio have remained exactly the same since each of the funds was created. Vanguard has cut services but not the cost.

[sarcasm on] So now that you see how much of the cost-savings that Vanguard passed along to the client-owners, aren't you glad that they did away with all of those services you have been "paying for"? I know I am. [sarcasm off]

I thought the world of Jack Bogle and was a loyal Vanguard "client-owner" for thirty years. Unfortunately, times change and they are no longer the Vanguard that Jack Bogle created. No innovation, just playing catch-up with the competition. Dated technology. Hit and miss customer service. Unresponsive management. Tone-deaf executives. No transparency or accountability in corporate governance or executive compensation. Profit centered rather than "client-owner" centered. And no longer the low-cost leader in the industry.

I believe that as to retail investors, to a large extent Vanguard relies on the many years of goodwill that Jack Bogle and his crew built and the resulting loyalty to retain "client-owners" who would otherwise enjoy much better service and product at the same or lower cost at the competition.

Just my $0.02. Which as pointed out before, did not come from Vanguard passing along any cost-savings from eliminating services and benefits! :wink:
I feel that there is some misinformation in this post (not intentionally, but it is there). For example, VTIAX has had several drops in expense ratio, the most recent of which was in February 2017 from 0.12% to 0.11%. And I don't understand the phrase "profit-centered rather than client-owner centered." Are you using this phrase to refer to the salaries of Vanguard employees and directors? Or perhaps to the profits of outside management companies, such as the Wellington Management Company, that Vanguard hires?

Thanks for any clarification that you can provide.

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galawdawg
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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by galawdawg » Fri Jul 31, 2020 11:46 am

It appears that I need to remove my foot from my mouth. :oops:

I was looking at the wrong documents when I typed my earlier post about expense ratios. VTSAX was lowered to the current 0.04% sometime between April 2016 and April 2017 according to the summary prospectuses, I haven't pulled my prospectus copies of the other funds yet. But my information was clearly incorrect.

My apologies to all for my erroneous assertion about the lowering of expense ratios, it was not my intent to mislead. Mea culpa.

depressed
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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by depressed » Fri Jul 31, 2020 12:01 pm

galawdawg wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 11:46 am
It appears that I need to remove my foot from my mouth. :oops:

I was looking at the wrong documents when I typed my earlier post about expense ratios. VTSAX was lowered to the current 0.04% sometime between April 2016 and April 2017 according to the summary prospectuses, I haven't pulled my prospectus copies of the other funds yet. But my information was clearly incorrect.

My apologies to all for my erroneous assertion about the lowering of expense ratios, it was not my intent to mislead. Mea culpa.
Ah, I see. I've done similar things myself. I want to compliment you on handling this with grace.

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by TomatoTomahto » Fri Jul 31, 2020 12:10 pm

depressed wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 12:01 pm
galawdawg wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 11:46 am
It appears that I need to remove my foot from my mouth. :oops:

I was looking at the wrong documents when I typed my earlier post about expense ratios. VTSAX was lowered to the current 0.04% sometime between April 2016 and April 2017 according to the summary prospectuses, I haven't pulled my prospectus copies of the other funds yet. But my information was clearly incorrect.

My apologies to all for my erroneous assertion about the lowering of expense ratios, it was not my intent to mislead. Mea culpa.
Ah, I see. I've done similar things myself. I want to compliment you on handling this with grace.
Grace indeed. Galawdawg is one of my “trusted posters,” whose postings I ordinarily don’t verify. After reading, I scratched my head and was going to verify. Thanks for being quick and gracious, to save me the effort as I sit by the pool :D :D
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.

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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by pkcrafter » Fri Jul 31, 2020 12:31 pm

Vanguard sees huge growth. Vanguard's business model has always been a bit quirky, but now I wonder if they don't have enough employees to handle the load.

https://www.inquirer.com/business/vangu ... 90527.html

Paul
When times are good, investors tend to forget about risk and focus on opportunity. When times are bad, investors tend to forget about opportunity and focus on risk.

Seasonal
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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by Seasonal » Fri Jul 31, 2020 12:42 pm

galawdawg wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 11:46 am
It appears that I need to remove my foot from my mouth. :oops:

I was looking at the wrong documents when I typed my earlier post about expense ratios. VTSAX was lowered to the current 0.04% sometime between April 2016 and April 2017 according to the summary prospectuses, I haven't pulled my prospectus copies of the other funds yet. But my information was clearly incorrect.

My apologies to all for my erroneous assertion about the lowering of expense ratios, it was not my intent to mislead. Mea culpa.
You might consider editing your earlier post either to correct the information or to link this post.

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galawdawg
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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by galawdawg » Fri Jul 31, 2020 12:45 pm

depressed wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 11:03 am
...And I don't understand the phrase "profit-centered rather than client-owner centered." Are you using this phrase to refer to the salaries of Vanguard employees and directors? Or perhaps to the profits of outside management companies, such as the Wellington Management Company, that Vanguard hires?

Thanks for any clarification that you can provide.
I use that phrase concerning Vanguard. For example, services that were previously provided to Flagship client-owners at no-cost have been monetized as PAS. As I mentioned in an earlier post, that is a huge profit center for Vanguard, likely earning them in the neighborhood of $400 million a year above their costs. Where have those profits gone? We know that Vanguard upper management and executives receive a share of the profits but because Vanguard, unlike publicly traded companies, refuses to disclose executive compensation to its "client-owners", we really don't know what they earn. But this article from the Philadelphia Inquirer is illuminating: https://www.inquirer.com/business/vangu ... 90610.html.

Some quotes from the article:
Vanguard’s Partnership Plan pays out millions of dollars a year to Vanguard’s top executives, while limiting most employees to a bonus that is calculated using a set of variables related to their job “grade” and tenure to determine the payout
For qualifying employees, Vanguard’s profit-sharing dividends will be calculated at $283.48 per point for 2018 and $248.45 per point for 2017, up from $213.26 in 2016. (The more points you have at Vanguard, the more profit sharing you receive.)
The takeaway: “Vanguard is not, and has never been, a nonprofit, though much of the language around ‘operating at cost’ does at times make it sound as though they are,” Wiener said. Vanguard “is exceedingly profitable, and hence has the ability to pay its captains millions of dollars every year." Just two funds, 500 Index and Total Stock Market Index, generated about $600 million in fees alone last year, estimated Wiener’s colleague Jeff DeMaso.
Vanguard spokesperson Alyssa Thornton declined to comment on the profit-sharing details. “Consistent with years prior, we don’t discuss the specifics of our compensation program, except to say that Partnership enables our crew to celebrate and share in the success and value they’ve helped to achieve on behalf of Vanguard investors.”
And what was the affect of the additional profits from PAS. Another article from the Philadelphia Inquirer talks about 2019 profits: https://www.inquirer.com/business/vangu ... 00713.html

From that article:
The Partnership Plan dividend for 2019 grew 13.6% to a bit more than $322 per share, or partnership unit.
Who gets Partnership dividends? That’s changed dramatically over time. Previously, tenured employees got up to 30% of salary, a nice chunk of change that made up for lower salaries compared with other finance firms. But in 2010 Vanguard restructured Partnership, and payouts were cut. In 2015, Vanguard Group reclassified around 2,100 U.S. staff of the Malvern-based investment giant’s global “crew” as hourly workers (not “exempt” salaried employees). The upshot was that those workers who were bonus-eligible would no longer get the extra money.
Since 1984, the Partnership Plan’s dividend has grown 93.9 times its original $3.43 payout to $322.03 most recently. By comparison, the value of one share of Vanguard 500 Index fund has, with all distributions reinvested, grown 41.3 times over the same period. “Indexing may have made some investors wealthy over the three decades the Partnership Plan has been around. But it’s marketing those index funds, not investing in them, that really contributes to the executive teams’ bank accounts,” he said.
Draw what conclusions you think appropriate, but when I combine this information with Vanguard's utter lack of transparency on issues of executive compensation (despite their insistence that companies it invests in disclose that information), along with their reduction of benefits and services to client-owners, their 2020 outsourcing of mail handling, and transfer of an additional 1,300 jobs to Infosys (over 7% of Vanguard's entire workforce), I conclude that Vanguard is more concerned with their profits than they are their client-owners.

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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by Seasonal » Fri Jul 31, 2020 12:46 pm

Fidelity: Do you get a dedicated rep? What benefits do they give for larger accounts? From what I can find, they have wealth management services for which they charge based on AUM (not unlike Vanguard's PAS), but have stopped some prior free benefits.

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Stinky
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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by Stinky » Fri Jul 31, 2020 12:48 pm

TomatoTomahto wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 12:10 pm
depressed wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 12:01 pm
galawdawg wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 11:46 am
It appears that I need to remove my foot from my mouth. :oops:

I was looking at the wrong documents when I typed my earlier post about expense ratios. VTSAX was lowered to the current 0.04% sometime between April 2016 and April 2017 according to the summary prospectuses, I haven't pulled my prospectus copies of the other funds yet. But my information was clearly incorrect.

My apologies to all for my erroneous assertion about the lowering of expense ratios, it was not my intent to mislead. Mea culpa.
Ah, I see. I've done similar things myself. I want to compliment you on handling this with grace.
Grace indeed. Galawdawg is one of my “trusted posters,” whose postings I ordinarily don’t verify. After reading, I scratched my head and was going to verify. Thanks for being quick and gracious, to save me the effort as I sit by the pool :D :D
+1
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typical.investor
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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by typical.investor » Fri Jul 31, 2020 1:16 pm

galawdawg wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 12:45 pm
depressed wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 11:03 am
...And I don't understand the phrase "profit-centered rather than client-owner centered." Are you using this phrase to refer to the salaries of Vanguard employees and directors? Or perhaps to the profits of outside management companies, such as the Wellington Management Company, that Vanguard hires?

Thanks for any clarification that you can provide.
I use that phrase concerning Vanguard. For example, services that were previously provided to Flagship client-owners at no-cost have been monetized as PAS. As I mentioned in an earlier post, that is a huge profit center for Vanguard, likely earning them in the neighborhood of $400 million a year above their costs. Where have those profits gone? We know that Vanguard upper management and executives receive a share of the profits but because Vanguard, unlike publicly traded companies, refuses to disclose executive compensation to its "client-owners", we really don't know what they earn. But this article from the Philadelphia Inquirer is illuminating: https://www.inquirer.com/business/vangu ... 90610.html.

Some quotes from the article:
Vanguard’s Partnership Plan pays out millions of dollars a year to Vanguard’s top executives, while limiting most employees to a bonus that is calculated using a set of variables related to their job “grade” and tenure to determine the payout
For qualifying employees, Vanguard’s profit-sharing dividends will be calculated at $283.48 per point for 2018 and $248.45 per point for 2017, up from $213.26 in 2016. (The more points you have at Vanguard, the more profit sharing you receive.)
The takeaway: “Vanguard is not, and has never been, a nonprofit, though much of the language around ‘operating at cost’ does at times make it sound as though they are,” Wiener said. Vanguard “is exceedingly profitable, and hence has the ability to pay its captains millions of dollars every year." Just two funds, 500 Index and Total Stock Market Index, generated about $600 million in fees alone last year, estimated Wiener’s colleague Jeff DeMaso.
Vanguard spokesperson Alyssa Thornton declined to comment on the profit-sharing details. “Consistent with years prior, we don’t discuss the specifics of our compensation program, except to say that Partnership enables our crew to celebrate and share in the success and value they’ve helped to achieve on behalf of Vanguard investors.”
And what was the affect of the additional profits from PAS. Another article from the Philadelphia Inquirer talks about 2019 profits: https://www.inquirer.com/business/vangu ... 00713.html

From that article:
The Partnership Plan dividend for 2019 grew 13.6% to a bit more than $322 per share, or partnership unit.
Who gets Partnership dividends? That’s changed dramatically over time. Previously, tenured employees got up to 30% of salary, a nice chunk of change that made up for lower salaries compared with other finance firms. But in 2010 Vanguard restructured Partnership, and payouts were cut. In 2015, Vanguard Group reclassified around 2,100 U.S. staff of the Malvern-based investment giant’s global “crew” as hourly workers (not “exempt” salaried employees). The upshot was that those workers who were bonus-eligible would no longer get the extra money.
Since 1984, the Partnership Plan’s dividend has grown 93.9 times its original $3.43 payout to $322.03 most recently. By comparison, the value of one share of Vanguard 500 Index fund has, with all distributions reinvested, grown 41.3 times over the same period. “Indexing may have made some investors wealthy over the three decades the Partnership Plan has been around. But it’s marketing those index funds, not investing in them, that really contributes to the executive teams’ bank accounts,” he said.
Draw what conclusions you think appropriate, but when I combine this information with Vanguard's utter lack of transparency on issues of executive compensation (despite their insistence that companies it invests in disclose that information), along with their reduction of benefits and services to client-owners, their 2020 outsourcing of mail handling, and transfer of an additional 1,300 jobs to Infosys (over 7% of Vanguard's entire workforce), I conclude that Vanguard is more concerned with their profits than they are their client-owners.
When you say “more concerned with their profits than they are their client owners”, I think of the following (perhaps right, perhaps not):

The at-cost promise is for only their funds.

Bogle’s incentive was bonuses for lowering cost.

The PAS service isn’t required to be at cost. Vanguard is pushing it hard, making it attractive by reducing other support [and earning a bonus for lowering costs], and distributing the profits among executives.

backpacker61
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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by backpacker61 » Fri Jul 31, 2020 1:33 pm

pkcrafter wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 12:31 pm
Vanguard sees huge growth. Vanguard's business model has always been a bit quirky, but now I wonder if they don't have enough employees to handle the load.

https://www.inquirer.com/business/vangu ... 90527.html

Paul
Maybe the title should have been "Large Fund inflows crushing Vanguard" instead. I think that's actually true.

I think their problem is that they are getting a large (huge?) number of inexperienced clients unfamiliar with investing concepts than the 'DIY' people like me that invested with them from decades ago that never expected any help, even when we were new.

I just wrote for a prospectus, read it, filled out a paper form, wrote a paper check, put it in paper envelope, and put it in the mailbox. Later set up for automatic investments from my bank (no Internet in the late 80's).
“Now shall I walk or shall I ride? | 'Ride,' Pleasure said; | 'Walk,' Joy replied.” | | ― W.H. Davies

bryaninDC
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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by bryaninDC » Fri Jul 31, 2020 2:31 pm

Have never had an issue with Vanguard.

SxSW
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Re: Poor service at Vanguard making me re-think my decision

Post by SxSW » Fri Jul 31, 2020 9:00 pm

galawdawg wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 12:45 pm

Some quotes from the article:
Vanguard’s Partnership Plan pays out millions of dollars a year to Vanguard’s top executives, while limiting most employees to a bonus that is calculated using a set of variables related to their job “grade” and tenure to determine the payout...

Previously, tenured employees got up to 30% of salary, a nice chunk of change that made up for lower salaries compared with other finance firms. But in 2010 Vanguard restructured Partnership, and payouts were cut
Draw what conclusions you think appropriate, but when I combine this information with Vanguard's utter lack of transparency on issues of executive compensation (despite their insistence that companies it invests in disclose that information), along with their reduction of benefits and services to client-owners, their 2020 outsourcing of mail handling, and transfer of an additional 1,300 jobs to Infosys (over 7% of Vanguard's entire workforce), I conclude that Vanguard is more concerned with their profits than they are their client-owners.

A careful read of the article, and a comparison to Bogle's known compensation from the 90s, shows that Vanguard management is paying themselves more than ever, while their employees have had their bonuses cut.

I checked employee reviews at Glassdoor, and only 50% of Vanguard employees would recommend that a friend work there. I took some time and looked up a bunch of other major brokerage firms, and for employee satisfaction, Vanguard is in last place by a large margin. While obviously it's hard to judge the validity of self-reported figures like this, last place is still last place.

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