Fed up With Flagship

Discuss all general (i.e. non-personal) investing questions and issues, investing news, and theory.
tibbitts
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Re: Fed up With Flagship

Post by tibbitts »

stan1 wrote: Fri Nov 20, 2020 7:39 pm
galawdawg wrote: Fri Nov 20, 2020 7:27 pm You are onto something, and maybe people clinging to their legacy Vanguard mutual fund accounts and not wanting to upgrade to brokerage accounts are still hoping somehow that will bring back the Vanguard they knew and loved 20 years ago. It won't.
I didn't cling to my Fidelity mutual fund accounts, although Fidelity was in no hurry to convert them to brokerage accounts, which does make me wonder a little what the hurry is at Vanguard. I cling to the Vanguard mutual fund accounts because they let me do things I can't on their brokerage platform: specifically redirecting dividends. Once that's fixed I probably won't mind migrating, although I think many people seem to experience less difficult with the older interface.
Last edited by tibbitts on Fri Nov 20, 2020 7:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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FIREchief
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Re: Fed up With Flagship

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student wrote: Fri Nov 20, 2020 7:20 pm
FIREchief wrote: Tue Nov 17, 2020 4:56 pm Count your blessings. I was forced to deal with Merrill Edge recently... :annoyed
Can you tell us more? What happened?
Not much. DW has a workplace plan with Merrill as custodian and the only easy exit path for rollover distributions is through a Merrill Edge rollover IRA. Let's just say that after years of dealing with Fidelity, I just didn't like the experience. Nothing got screwed up. Just felt like everybody I talked to was first week on the job, working from home on their cell phone. Maybe they were? :oops:
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sport
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Re: Fed up With Flagship

Post by sport »

stan1 wrote: Fri Nov 20, 2020 7:39 pm You are onto something, and maybe people clinging to their legacy Vanguard mutual fund accounts and not wanting to upgrade to brokerage accounts are still hoping somehow that will bring back the Vanguard they knew and loved 20 years ago. It won't.
Perhaps if Vanguard brokerage accounts offered all the features of the mutual fund accounts, there would be less reason to resist the change. It seems very strange to me that an "upgrade" results in features disappearing.
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FIREchief
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Re: Fed up With Flagship

Post by FIREchief »

sport wrote: Fri Nov 20, 2020 7:43 pm We have discussed the possible problem with widows/widowers who might get taken advantage of by financial salespeople. However, there is another equally insidious possibility. Some of us, when we get older, will lose some and perhaps much of our capacity to make good judgements. From what I have read, when this happens, people are not only not aware of it, but they fiercely contend that they are of sound mind. So, if you are dealing with someone who has unsuitable products to sell, there may come a time when you find yourself getting talked into buying such products. We all like to think that this "happens to the other guy, not me". However, the reality is that a certain percentage of people have this occur if they live long enough. To me, dealing with a company I can trust is more important than having the best web site or having office hours on weekends.
You make an excellent point. That said, I think there are many situations and, while your concerns may be very applicable to one, they might not be in another. We are blessed with financially literate adult children who will be ready, willing and able to do whatever we need help with in the future. God willing, DW and I are a long ways from needing help, but who knows?

My tentative plan (which I really haven't given much thought to) is to have an adult child start looking over my shoulder during some of the more demanding asset management tasks in the future (annual tax planning, Roth conversion planning/execution, etc.). The expectation would be that if they do this once or twice a year, they might notice when I have problems remembering my password, or inputting common transactions, or just getting confused by it all. It would be at that point where we might activate the DPOA and/or activate a successor trustee. I would really like to hear what others are planning in this area. Maybe another thread. :happy
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stan1
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Re: Fed up With Flagship

Post by stan1 »

tibbitts wrote: Fri Nov 20, 2020 7:46 pm
stan1 wrote: Fri Nov 20, 2020 7:39 pm
galawdawg wrote: Fri Nov 20, 2020 7:27 pm You are onto something, and maybe people clinging to their legacy Vanguard mutual fund accounts and not wanting to upgrade to brokerage accounts are still hoping somehow that will bring back the Vanguard they knew and loved 20 years ago. It won't.
I didn't cling to my Fidelity mutual fund accounts, although Fidelity was in no hurry to convert them to brokerage accounts, which does make me wonder a little what the hurry is at Vanguard. I cling to the Vanguard mutual fund accounts because they let me do things I can't on their brokerage platform: specifically redirecting dividends. Once that's fixed I probably won't mind migrating, although I think many people seem to experience less difficult with the older interface.
I agree, this one puzzles me too. All I can think of somehow it costs them a fraction of a basis point to do it in a way I don't understand and they just don't want to do it.
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galawdawg
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Re: Fed up With Flagship

Post by galawdawg »

afan wrote: Fri Nov 20, 2020 7:19 pm
galawdawg wrote: Fri Nov 20, 2020 6:30 pm
afan wrote: Fri Nov 20, 2020 6:21 pm I don't know what Fidelity executives make either. And I don't care.
Fidelity is a privately-held company. And you aren't an owner (or client-owner) of Fidelity.

But wouldn't you agree that any company owes its owners a duty to disclose executive compensation? How much money has been earned and how it has been spent? If revenues are soaring but you don't see commensurate profits returning to shareholders, if you are an owner then wouldn't you want to know why?
In short "No"

If it were important to me to know the compensation of the people running the company, then that would be a reason not to invest with F or with V.
I cannot see the logic in caring about the executive compensation at V but not at F. If, for any reason, it mattered to me, it should matter for both.

But it does not matter to me.

My mega bank is publicly held, so I could look up the compensation of the top executives. I have never bothered, since I don't care. Same for some of the insurance companies I use. Or the utility companies. Or the companies from which I buy gas and food. I cannot imagine what difference it would make to me. I buy goods or services and I am interested in the items I buy and whether I can get the same thing at a lower price. If a company is providing me what I want at what I consider a good price, why should I care how much the executives make?

Not a rhetorical question. Please tell me WHY should I care.

Should I consider changing companies because I think the executives at one place make too much or too little?
How does their compensation level fit into my buying decisions?
Apples and oranges. Unless you are a shareholder in any of those companies you patronize, you are merely a customer. Engaging in transactions. Other than your bank, there is no fiduciary relationship.

But according to Vanguard, we are the owners.
From its start in 1975, Vanguard has stood out as a very different kind of investment firm. Vanguard was founded on a simple but revolutionary idea-that a mutual fund company should not have outside owners. Founder John C. Bogle structured Vanguard as a client-owned mutual fund company with no outside owners seeking profits. This framework has enabled our leadership team and crew to put our clients first in all of our decisions...
...our clients can be confident that we will remain the same unique company, focused solely on their interests, in the years ahead.
...ever mindful of the trust placed in us by our clients, we put our fiduciary duty to them first and foremost, ahead of marketing or other considerations. This 'client-first' philosophy allows us to focus on getting better, not bigger...
Vanguard invests money on behalf of fund shareholders. It’s their money. Vanguard does not profit from the performance of any Vanguard fund or its holdings, and excess revenues generated are returned to shareholders through lower fund expenses or reinvestment in Vanguard funds and services.
So when some of Vanguard's "owners" question the direction the company is taking and Vanguard turns a deaf ear, that is a valid concern. When Vanguard profits are increasing at a steady rate yet the "owners" aren't seeing those increased profits, that is a valid concern. When benefits are cut and jobs slashed which have resulted in a decline in the quality of service, that is a valid concern. When Vanguard claims that "we put our fiduciary duty to them first and foremost, ahead of marketing or other considerations. This 'client-first' philosophy allows us to focus on getting better, not bigger" but their actions don't match their words, that is a valid concern. And when Vanguard has a lack of transparency on issues of executive compensation and corporate governance (despite their insistence that companies it invests in disclose that information), that is a valid concern.

We are all free to disagree about the conclusions of those who have had negative interactions or experiences with Vanguard but I believe that we should respect that what is important to some of us may not matter one iota to others! :beer
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galawdawg
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Re: Fed up With Flagship

Post by galawdawg »

sport wrote: Fri Nov 20, 2020 7:43 pm We have discussed the possible problem with widows/widowers who might get taken advantage of by financial salespeople. However, there is another equally insidious possibility. Some of us, when we get older, will lose some and perhaps much of our capacity to make good judgements. From what I have read, when this happens, people are not only not aware of it, but they fiercely contend that they are of sound mind. So, if you are dealing with someone who has unsuitable products to sell, there may come a time when you find yourself getting talked into buying such products. We all like to think that this "happens to the other guy, not me". However, the reality is that a certain percentage of people have this occur if they live long enough. To me, dealing with a company I can trust is more important than having the best web site or having office hours on weekends.
Unfortunately, the concern about a financially unsophisticated widow/widower being taken advantage of by less than scrupulous financial advisors will not be alleviated by pre-selecting Vanguard (or any other well-respected brokerage) for your loved one. While Vanguard's current sales pitch may be limited to PAS at 0.03% AUM which may be an appropriate service, just wait until the friendly neighborhood Edward Jones advisor approaches the grieving spouse in church, the grocery store, or stops by to express his condolences. Before you know it, the lonely and unsophisticated widow/widower has a new friend who is a good listener, kind, compassionate and understanding. And of course, the nice man from EJ is happy to help him/her "safeguard" their investments and make sure they get a good return.

Or, the perennially unemployed nephew is all of a sudden very attentive and helpful when the grieving spouse needs someone to take them to the grocery store or the gutters need cleaning. Or the well-intentioned grandson who "made a killing in the market" is happy to help your spouse invest their money in a "guaranteed winner", the next Apple, Facebook, Tesla, etc. And then you have the ordinary thief...like the family member, friend or caregiver who "helps" with the bills and before you know it the money is gone.

So while it may provide some measure of comfort now to think, hope and believe that your spouse will stick with Vanguard, the sound course of action is to have a very, very trusted family member or family friend who can help your surviving spouse guard against any who would seek to cause financial harm to your loved one. And best of all, wise estate planning, including consideration of a trust, with a competent and experienced attorney can go a very long way toward protecting your spouse and your assets.
sport
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Re: Fed up With Flagship

Post by sport »

galawdawg wrote: Fri Nov 20, 2020 8:32 pm
sport wrote: Fri Nov 20, 2020 7:43 pm We have discussed the possible problem with widows/widowers who might get taken advantage of by financial salespeople. However, there is another equally insidious possibility. Some of us, when we get older, will lose some and perhaps much of our capacity to make good judgements. From what I have read, when this happens, people are not only not aware of it, but they fiercely contend that they are of sound mind. So, if you are dealing with someone who has unsuitable products to sell, there may come a time when you find yourself getting talked into buying such products. We all like to think that this "happens to the other guy, not me". However, the reality is that a certain percentage of people have this occur if they live long enough. To me, dealing with a company I can trust is more important than having the best web site or having office hours on weekends.
Unfortunately, the concern about a financially unsophisticated widow/widower being taken advantage of by less than scrupulous financial advisors will not be alleviated by pre-selecting Vanguard (or any other well-respected brokerage) for your loved one. While Vanguard's current sales pitch may be limited to PAS at 0.03% AUM which may be an appropriate service, just wait until the friendly neighborhood Edward Jones advisor approaches the grieving spouse in church, the grocery store, or stops by to express his condolences. Before you know it, the lonely and unsophisticated widow/widower has a new friend who is a good listener, kind, compassionate and understanding. And of course, the nice man from EJ is happy to help him/her "safeguard" their investments and make sure they get a good return.

Or, the perennially unemployed nephew is all of a sudden very attentive and helpful when the grieving spouse needs someone to take them to the grocery store or the gutters need cleaning. Or the well-intentioned grandson who "made a killing in the market" is happy to help your spouse invest their money in a "guaranteed winner", the next Apple, Facebook, Tesla, etc. And then you have the ordinary thief...like the family member, friend or caregiver who "helps" with the bills and before you know it the money is gone.

So while it may provide some measure of comfort now to think, hope and believe that your spouse will stick with Vanguard, the sound course of action is to have a very, very trusted family member or family friend who can help your surviving spouse guard against any who would seek to cause financial harm to your loved one. And best of all, wise estate planning, including consideration of a trust, with a competent and experienced attorney can go a very long way toward protecting your spouse and your assets.
You make some good points. You should also note that the post you are quoting is about a capable person "losing one's marbles" and becoming not so capable, and not about heirs. In either case, for investors or their heirs, while it is possible to get taken advantage of, it would be much easier for the salesman already involved with the management of your account rather that having to talk you into making a change to a new broker.
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galawdawg
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Re: Fed up With Flagship

Post by galawdawg »

sport wrote: Fri Nov 20, 2020 8:43 pm You make some good points. You should also note that the post you are quoting is about a capable person "losing one's marbles" and becoming not so capable, and not about heirs. In either case, for investors or their heirs, while it is possible to get taken advantage of, it would be much easier for the salesman already involved with the management of your account rather that having to talk you into making a change to a new broker.
I did note that but I think the analysis is the same. Whether one is more "susceptible" due to lack of financial sophistication or loss of cognitive abilities, the choice of brokerage among any of the well-respected major brokerages is probably of much less importance than taking other steps to protect that person and their assets. :happy
student
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Re: Fed up With Flagship

Post by student »

FIREchief wrote: Fri Nov 20, 2020 7:47 pm
student wrote: Fri Nov 20, 2020 7:20 pm
FIREchief wrote: Tue Nov 17, 2020 4:56 pm Count your blessings. I was forced to deal with Merrill Edge recently... :annoyed
Can you tell us more? What happened?
Not much. DW has a workplace plan with Merrill as custodian and the only easy exit path for rollover distributions is through a Merrill Edge rollover IRA. Let's just say that after years of dealing with Fidelity, I just didn't like the experience. Nothing got screwed up. Just felt like everybody I talked to was first week on the job, working from home on their cell phone. Maybe they were? :oops:
Thanks for the info.
marcopolo
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Re: Fed up With Flagship

Post by marcopolo »

galawdawg wrote: Fri Nov 20, 2020 7:27 pm I believe that there is universal support on this site for Vanguard funds, be they mutual funds or ETFs. It is when the discussion surrounds the brokerage part of Vanguard that the debate begins.

Whenever I see these threads and some of the responses from Vanguard Brokerage supporters, I wonder how many would feel the same way if the Vanguard brokerage was completely divorced from Vanguard funds. Different name, different branding, different phone number, different city, etc.

Then what would folks have to say about:
  • Customer service hours that don't include evenings and weekends
  • Often long telephone wait times
  • Lack of online chat
  • Long delays in responding to secure messages
  • Inconsistency in competence and ability of representatives to assist
  • Failure to return phone calls when promised
  • Periodic IT issues
  • Lack of responsiveness to customer concerns or complaints
  • Lack of services available at every other major brokerage, such as a cash management account
  • Cutback of services formerly offered at no cost, now offered for a fee
I can't help but think that the "spillover" effect from the excellent reputation of their funds helps prop-up the reputation of their brokerage. Likewise, is suspect that the fact that this is the company that our mentor founded has created a loyalty and sentimental attachment that is difficult to give up. I certainly understand...I greatly admired Jack and all that he created and it took several years of declining service and several significant issues with Vanguard before I reluctantly parted ways with the brokerage arm last year after thirty years as a "client-owner". Now, I still only hold Vanguard mutual funds in my portfolio...I just hold them elsewhere.
This, I think, nails this entire discussion.
Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right.
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rob
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Re: Fed up With Flagship

Post by rob »

stan1 wrote: Fri Nov 20, 2020 7:39 pm You are onto something, and maybe people clinging to their legacy Vanguard mutual fund accounts and not wanting to upgrade to brokerage accounts are still hoping somehow that will bring back the Vanguard they knew and loved 20 years ago. It won't.
Or maybe their employer FORCES them to move to a monitored brokerage account whereas a traditional mutual fund account is not subject to that requirement...
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fourwheelcycle
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Re: Fed up With Flagship

Post by fourwheelcycle »

FIREchief wrote: Fri Nov 20, 2020 7:54 pm .... God willing, DW and I are a long ways from needing help, but who knows? .... It would be at that point where we might activate the DPOA and/or activate a successor trustee. I would really like to hear what others are planning in this area. Maybe another thread.
This is certainly a tangent for this thread, but it is a tangent I think about a lot. My solution has been to simplify our finances to a mostly two fund portfolio, to begin encouraging my wife to learn how to manage her own RMDs and QCDs, and, with my wife, to put all of our assets in a joint revocable trust with our more financially inclined adult child as DPOA, executor, and successor trustee. My next step, intended for sometime during 2021, will be to sit down with our two children for a detailed review of our estate plan and the basic setup of our finances. I have not decided whether I will offer to tell them how much money is involved, but I suspect they may decline to know the details even if I offer.

I have prepared a letter advising them how to access our finances and settle our estate if DW and I die suddenly in a crash. I may give them the letter "early", and alert them to be aware if I start to lose my mental edge, although this will probably not happen for many years, and hopefully never.

One thing I am not too worried about is my wife falling for any type of AUM or active management sales pitch. My wife and I have had a long, successful marriage, based in great part on our very similar family backgrounds, both with depression era parents, and our natural inclination to LBYM. My wife always focused on her own career and never wanted to be involved in our family finances, but she is fully capable of learning what needs to be done if the time comes when I am no longer capable.

Like FIREchief, I am hoping our DPOA and successor trustee child will step in and help if needed. At present, we are planning to move to a CCRC at some point, although those plans could change. If we move to a CCRC, our children may have to help supervise our finances, but they will not have to arrange for our housing and health care needs. If we end up aging in place, they will probably have to help at some point with our housing and heath care as well as our finances, as my wife did for her parents and I am doing now for my father.
stan1
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Re: Fed up With Flagship

Post by stan1 »

sport wrote: Fri Nov 20, 2020 7:48 pm
stan1 wrote: Fri Nov 20, 2020 7:39 pm You are onto something, and maybe people clinging to their legacy Vanguard mutual fund accounts and not wanting to upgrade to brokerage accounts are still hoping somehow that will bring back the Vanguard they knew and loved 20 years ago. It won't.
Perhaps if Vanguard brokerage accounts offered all the features of the mutual fund accounts, there would be less reason to resist the change. It seems very strange to me that an "upgrade" results in features disappearing.
Ah, they distracted you, the "upgrade" is a years long well planned marketing pitch all the while the new Vanguard with brokerage accounts and no perks is about cost cutting. In fact even the old Vanguard under Jack Bogle was about cost cutting, just back then it was things that were less impactful to customer service. The easy cost cutting was done decades ago. Now only the hard cuts remain.
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Re: Fed up With Flagship

Post by Scooter57 »

Vanguard has recently telemarketed me about their PAS, right around the time they took away my dedicated rep. That would cost a decent chunk of change every year because of the size of my portfolio and who knows what they will start selling grieving widows in the future. Since we don't know how their execs are compensated we don't know what motivations they have to increase non-fund profit streams.

I saw a post way up thread where the poster seemed to think that since we fundholders "owned" the funds we owned the company the way that people owned shares in mutual savings banks way back when. The poster thought fundholders would be compensated if the company de-mutualized. This is nonsense. Vanguard is playing with words in its claim that the shareholders own the funds. I'm sure the words have been carefully vetted by lawyers, but you can be sure that individual Vanguard shareholders do not own anything at Vanguard but their shares of the funds they own. They have no say at all in the management of Vanguard.

Does anyone with a Fidelity brokerage account know whether if you needed a Medallion Signature Guarantee you could get one from Fidelity? We could not get one from Vanguard when settling my parent's estate and it made for some serious nail biting as the bank where my sibling banked would not give him one. I was a customer of a big bank at the time and the rep there who was a decent guy I had known for years was kind enough to go out on a limb for my sibling as he had investigated the assets for me. But I worry that when I go the need for a Medallion Signature Guarantee could pose issues to my heirs whose assets are all at Vanguard.
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Re: Fed up With Flagship

Post by backpacker61 »

Scooter57 wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 12:35 pm Does anyone with a Fidelity brokerage account know whether if you needed a Medallion Signature Guarantee you could get one from Fidelity? We could not get one from Vanguard when settling my parent's estate and it made for some serious nail biting as the bank where my sibling banked would not give him one. I was a customer of a big bank at the time and the rep there who was a decent guy I had known for years was kind enough to go out on a limb for my sibling as he had investigated the assets for me. But I worry that when I go the need for a Medallion Signature Guarantee could pose issues to my heirs whose assets are all at Vanguard.
I've been going through this recently; my (late) parents, my sibling, and I all had accounts at Vanguard. My sibling and I both wanted to consolidate all my parents' non-Vanguard assets into their Vanguard brokerage account before dividing them. I had to get Medallion Signature Guarantees to retitle the trust documents (with me as the new trustee) for the non-Vanguard assets, but I did not have to get MSG's for retitling the assets at Vanguard, nor to transfer non-Vanguard assets into an identically titled trust brokerage account at Vanguard.

You could probably help yourself and your executor with the succession process if you can both agree to have brokerage accounts at a common provider. Better still if all of the heirs do. And definitely, consolidate and minimize the overall number of different accounts that you have.
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wander
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Re: Fed up With Flagship

Post by wander »

What are the benefits of Flaship? I am capable of investing my money so why do I want a flagship?
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Re: Fed up With Flagship

Post by hagridshut »

wander wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 1:55 pm What are the benefits of Flaship? I am capable of investing my money so why do I want a flagship?
About 10-15 years ago, I think Flagship status came with a lot of free perks, like (1) access to a designated personal advisor at Vanguard and (2) free stock trading.

With many people just investing in lowest-cost funds, and commission-free stock trades available on almost all major Brokerage platforms today, I think those perks are not really important to customer retention anymore.

It was a moot point for me anyhow, as I've never had anywhere near the amount of assets needed to qualify as a Flagship customer. Maybe in 20 years I'll qualify (assuming the markets don't crash), but I didn't need handholding in 2005, I don't think I'll need it in 2040.

The only personal attention I think I might need is to make sure 401(k) rollovers go smoothly. I've done 3 rollovers from employers to IRAs, and I'm lucky that nothing ever went wrong. I still have mild anxiety about a transfer going missing though, so I'd hope that Vanguard's customer service is experienced in dealing with those potential issues.

I don't think I've spoken to a Vanguard customer service employee in over 10 years.
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FIREchief
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Re: Fed up With Flagship

Post by FIREchief »

Scooter57 wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 12:35 pm Does anyone with a Fidelity brokerage account know whether if you needed a Medallion Signature Guarantee you could get one from Fidelity? We could not get one from Vanguard when settling my parent's estate and it made for some serious nail biting as the bank where my sibling banked would not give him one. I was a customer of a big bank at the time and the rep there who was a decent guy I had known for years was kind enough to go out on a limb for my sibling as he had investigated the assets for me. But I worry that when I go the need for a Medallion Signature Guarantee could pose issues to my heirs whose assets are all at Vanguard.
That's a great question. I have a local Fidelity office that I visit on occasion. I believe that I once asked the question and was told that they could provide a Medallion Signature Guarantee if needed. In my experience, Vanguard has more forms requiring such a guarantee than Fidelity does. Also, with some Fidelity forms, if they are submitted in person the Medallion requirement is waived.

I don't believe that any banks in my area provide them.
I am not a lawyer, accountant or financial advisor. Any advice or suggestions that I may provide shall be considered for entertainment purposes only.
backpacker61
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Re: Fed up With Flagship

Post by backpacker61 »

FIREchief wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 2:41 pm
I don't believe that any banks in my area provide them.
That would surprise me. Wells Fargo does them; most banks do. I understand Bank of America doesn't.

I had a marathon meeting with one of my bank's officers to get six of them a few months ago.
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FIREchief
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Re: Fed up With Flagship

Post by FIREchief »

backpacker61 wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 7:03 pm
FIREchief wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 2:41 pm
I don't believe that any banks in my area provide them.
That would surprise me. Wells Fargo does them; most banks do. I understand Bank of America doesn't.

I had a marathon meeting with one of my bank's officers to get six of them a few months ago.
If it took a "marathon meeting with one of your bank's officers" to get them, than I would suggest that they really don't "provide them." :?
I am not a lawyer, accountant or financial advisor. Any advice or suggestions that I may provide shall be considered for entertainment purposes only.
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wander
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Re: Fed up With Flagship

Post by wander »

hagridshut wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 2:21 pm About 10-15 years ago, I think Flagship status came with a lot of free perks, like (1) access to a designated personal advisor at Vanguard and (2) free stock trading.

With many people just investing in lowest-cost funds, and commission-free stock trades available on almost all major Brokerage platforms today, I think those perks are not really important to customer retention anymore.

It was a moot point for me anyhow, as I've never had anywhere near the amount of assets needed to qualify as a Flagship customer. Maybe in 20 years I'll qualify (assuming the markets don't crash), but I didn't need handholding in 2005, I don't think I'll need it in 2040.

The only personal attention I think I might need is to make sure 401(k) rollovers go smoothly. I've done 3 rollovers from employers to IRAs, and I'm lucky that nothing ever went wrong. I still have mild anxiety about a transfer going missing though, so I'd hope that Vanguard's customer service is experienced in dealing with those potential issues.

I don't think I've spoken to a Vanguard customer service employee in over 10 years.
Thanks, with that, I am happy with non-flag ship status.
backpacker61
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Re: Fed up With Flagship

Post by backpacker61 »

FIREchief wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 7:10 pm
backpacker61 wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 7:03 pm
FIREchief wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 2:41 pm
I don't believe that any banks in my area provide them.
That would surprise me. Wells Fargo does them; most banks do. I understand Bank of America doesn't.

I had a marathon meeting with one of my bank's officers to get six of them a few months ago.
If it took a "marathon meeting with one of your bank's officers" to get them, than I would suggest that they really don't "provide them." :?
It was only "marathon" because they had to review each of the six legal documents they were guaranteeing my signature on. A couple of them required notarization also. They definitely do them, and have for years.
“Now shall I walk or shall I ride? | 'Ride,' Pleasure said; | 'Walk,' Joy replied.” | | ― W.H. Davies
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FIREchief
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Re: Fed up With Flagship

Post by FIREchief »

backpacker61 wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 7:16 pm
FIREchief wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 7:10 pm
backpacker61 wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 7:03 pm
FIREchief wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 2:41 pm
I don't believe that any banks in my area provide them.
That would surprise me. Wells Fargo does them; most banks do. I understand Bank of America doesn't.

I had a marathon meeting with one of my bank's officers to get six of them a few months ago.
If it took a "marathon meeting with one of your bank's officers" to get them, than I would suggest that they really don't "provide them." :?
It was only "marathon" because they had to review each of the six legal documents they were guaranteeing my signature on. A couple of them required notarization also. They definitely do them, and have for years.
Were these Vanguard documents?
I am not a lawyer, accountant or financial advisor. Any advice or suggestions that I may provide shall be considered for entertainment purposes only.
palanzo
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Re: Fed up With Flagship

Post by palanzo »

stan1 wrote: Fri Nov 20, 2020 7:39 pm
galawdawg wrote: Fri Nov 20, 2020 7:27 pm I believe that there is universal support on this site for Vanguard funds, be they mutual funds or ETFs. It is when the discussion surrounds the brokerage part of Vanguard that the debate begins.

Whenever I see these threads and some of the responses from Vanguard Brokerage supporters, I wonder how many would feel the same way if the Vanguard brokerage was completely divorced from Vanguard funds. Different name, different branding, different phone number, different city, etc.

Then what would folks have to say about:
  • Customer service hours that don't include evenings and weekends
  • Often long telephone wait times
  • Lack of online chat
  • Long delays in responding to secure messages
  • Inconsistency in competence and ability of representatives to assist
  • Failure to return phone calls when promised
  • Periodic IT issues
  • Lack of responsiveness to customer concerns or complaints
  • Lack of services available at every other major brokerage, such as a cash management account
  • Cutback of services formerly offered at no cost, now offered for a fee
I can't help but think that the "spillover" effect from the excellent reputation of their funds helps prop-up the reputation of their brokerage. Likewise, is suspect that the fact that this is the company that our mentor founded has created a loyalty and sentimental attachment that is difficult to give up. I certainly understand...I greatly admired Jack and all that he created and it took several years of declining service and several significant issues with Vanguard before I reluctantly parted ways with the brokerage arm last year after thirty years as a "client-owner". Now, I still only hold Vanguard mutual funds in my portfolio...I just hold them elsewhere.
You are onto something, and maybe people clinging to their legacy Vanguard mutual fund accounts and not wanting to upgrade to brokerage accounts are still hoping somehow that will bring back the Vanguard they knew and loved 20 years ago. It won't.
You're correct unfortunately. It won't. But why would I want to stay with a brokerage with the above characteristics?
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Re: Fed up With Flagship

Post by palanzo »

tibbitts wrote: Fri Nov 20, 2020 7:46 pm
stan1 wrote: Fri Nov 20, 2020 7:39 pm
galawdawg wrote: Fri Nov 20, 2020 7:27 pm You are onto something, and maybe people clinging to their legacy Vanguard mutual fund accounts and not wanting to upgrade to brokerage accounts are still hoping somehow that will bring back the Vanguard they knew and loved 20 years ago. It won't.
I didn't cling to my Fidelity mutual fund accounts, although Fidelity was in no hurry to convert them to brokerage accounts, which does make me wonder a little what the hurry is at Vanguard. I cling to the Vanguard mutual fund accounts because they let me do things I can't on their brokerage platform: specifically redirecting dividends. Once that's fixed I probably won't mind migrating, although I think many people seem to experience less difficult with the older interface.
I've been told by my "representative" that they will NOT add the feature to redirect dividends. I agree the new interface is awkward and badly designed.
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Re: Fed up With Flagship

Post by palanzo »

sport wrote: Fri Nov 20, 2020 7:48 pm
stan1 wrote: Fri Nov 20, 2020 7:39 pm You are onto something, and maybe people clinging to their legacy Vanguard mutual fund accounts and not wanting to upgrade to brokerage accounts are still hoping somehow that will bring back the Vanguard they knew and loved 20 years ago. It won't.
Perhaps if Vanguard brokerage accounts offered all the features of the mutual fund accounts, there would be less reason to resist the change. It seems very strange to me that an "upgrade" results in features disappearing.
Especially since Vanguard is building the new platform in-house. The truth is they just don't care about customer feedback.
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Re: Fed up With Flagship

Post by palanzo »

wander wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 1:55 pm What are the benefits of Flaship? I am capable of investing my money so why do I want a flagship?
None. Purely marketing nowadays.
drzzzzz
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Re: Fed up With Flagship

Post by drzzzzz »

Scooter57 wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 12:35 pm Vanguard has recently telemarketed me about their PAS, right around the time they took away my dedicated rep. That would cost a decent chunk of change every year because of the size of my portfolio and who knows what they will start selling grieving widows in the future. Since we don't know how their execs are compensated we don't know what motivations they have to increase non-fund profit streams.

I saw a post way up thread where the poster seemed to think that since we fundholders "owned" the funds we owned the company the way that people owned shares in mutual savings banks way back when. The poster thought fundholders would be compensated if the company de-mutualized. This is nonsense. Vanguard is playing with words in its claim that the shareholders own the funds. I'm sure the words have been carefully vetted by lawyers, but you can be sure that individual Vanguard shareholders do not own anything at Vanguard but their shares of the funds they own. They have no say at all in the management of Vanguard.

Does anyone with a Fidelity brokerage account know whether if you needed a Medallion Signature Guarantee you could get one from Fidelity? We could not get one from Vanguard when settling my parent's estate and it made for some serious nail biting as the bank where my sibling banked would not give him one. I was a customer of a big bank at the time and the rep there who was a decent guy I had known for years was kind enough to go out on a limb for my sibling as he had investigated the assets for me. But I worry that when I go the need for a Medallion Signature Guarantee could pose issues to my heirs whose assets are all at Vanguard.
Fidelity does medallion signatures although with Covid and offices closed I am not sure how that would work right now
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Bluce
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Re: Fed up With Flagship

Post by Bluce »

Nate79 wrote: Tue Nov 17, 2020 3:53 pm If you want the phone number for excellent customer service here it is: 800-435-4000

.
.
.
.
That's the phone number for Schwab. :sharebeer
I agree. I've been with Schwabbie since 1997 and cannot say anything but good things about them.

They are the most polite, respectful people you will ever talk to on the phone. No wait times, and unless you have a very technical question, usually the first person you talk to will be able to help you.
"There are no new ideas, only forgotten ones." -- Amity Shlaes
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Re: Fed up With Flagship

Post by marcopolo »

backpacker61 wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 7:16 pm
FIREchief wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 7:10 pm
backpacker61 wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 7:03 pm
FIREchief wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 2:41 pm
I don't believe that any banks in my area provide them.
That would surprise me. Wells Fargo does them; most banks do. I understand Bank of America doesn't.

I had a marathon meeting with one of my bank's officers to get six of them a few months ago.
If it took a "marathon meeting with one of your bank's officers" to get them, than I would suggest that they really don't "provide them." :?
It was only "marathon" because they had to review each of the six legal documents they were guaranteeing my signature on. A couple of them required notarization also. They definitely do them, and have for years.
That seems odd. Why would they need to review the documents? They are not endorsing, or in any way certifying anything in the document. All they are doing is certifying that you are who you say you are when you sign the document. Why would they need to review what is in the document?
Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right.
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Re: Fed up With Flagship

Post by tibbitts »

palanzo wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 7:49 pm
tibbitts wrote: Fri Nov 20, 2020 7:46 pm
stan1 wrote: Fri Nov 20, 2020 7:39 pm
galawdawg wrote: Fri Nov 20, 2020 7:27 pm You are onto something, and maybe people clinging to their legacy Vanguard mutual fund accounts and not wanting to upgrade to brokerage accounts are still hoping somehow that will bring back the Vanguard they knew and loved 20 years ago. It won't.
I didn't cling to my Fidelity mutual fund accounts, although Fidelity was in no hurry to convert them to brokerage accounts, which does make me wonder a little what the hurry is at Vanguard. I cling to the Vanguard mutual fund accounts because they let me do things I can't on their brokerage platform: specifically redirecting dividends. Once that's fixed I probably won't mind migrating, although I think many people seem to experience less difficult with the older interface.
I've been told by my "representative" that they will NOT add the feature to redirect dividends. I agree the new interface is awkward and badly designed.
Interesting. It's becoming less important to me - primarily I was using that feature in my taxable account, and I'm drawing that down as the years go on doing Roth conversions (to pay the taxes.) I wonder why they won't implement it?
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Re: Fed up With Flagship

Post by prudent »

marcopolo wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 8:16 pm
backpacker61 wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 7:16 pm It was only "marathon" because they had to review each of the six legal documents they were guaranteeing my signature on. A couple of them required notarization also. They definitely do them, and have for years.
That seems odd. Why would they need to review the documents? They are not endorsing, or in any way certifying anything in the document. All they are doing is certifying that you are who you say you are when you sign the document. Why would they need to review what is in the document?
There is liability involved with medallion signature guarantees for the institution that provides it beyond just saying John Doe showed ID and he signed the form. If it's a forgery, the bank that provided the MSG is on the hook for the money. It's what distinguishes the MSG from a notary stamp saying John Doe provided ID. I imagine the bank wants to see documents that show John Doe is an owner of or has signature authority on the funds being transferred.
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Re: Fed up With Flagship

Post by Bluce »

FWIW: I still hold Wellesley and BIV -- but they are within Schwab.

The last direct connection I had with VG was when I bailed out of Prime MM probably 3-4 years ago. I'd had it since 1990.
"There are no new ideas, only forgotten ones." -- Amity Shlaes
marcopolo
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Re: Fed up With Flagship

Post by marcopolo »

prudent wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 8:26 pm
marcopolo wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 8:16 pm
backpacker61 wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 7:16 pm It was only "marathon" because they had to review each of the six legal documents they were guaranteeing my signature on. A couple of them required notarization also. They definitely do them, and have for years.
That seems odd. Why would they need to review the documents? They are not endorsing, or in any way certifying anything in the document. All they are doing is certifying that you are who you say you are when you sign the document. Why would they need to review what is in the document?
There is liability involved with medallion signature guarantees for the institution that provides it beyond just saying John Doe showed ID and he signed the form. If it's a forgery, the bank that provided the MSG is on the hook for the money. It's what distinguishes the MSG from a notary stamp saying John Doe provided ID. I imagine the bank wants to see documents that show John Doe is an owner of or has signature authority on the funds being transferred.
Thanks for the explanation.
Did not realize MSG puts that kind risk on the instituition.
No wonder so few places are willing to do it.
Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right.
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Re: Fed up With Flagship

Post by TedSwippet »

marcopolo wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 8:43 pm
prudent wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 8:26 pm There is liability involved with medallion signature guarantees for the institution that provides it beyond just saying John Doe showed ID and he signed the form. If it's a forgery, the bank that provided the MSG is on the hook for the money. It's what distinguishes the MSG from a notary stamp saying John Doe provided ID. I imagine the bank wants to see documents that show John Doe is an owner of or has signature authority on the funds being transferred.
Thanks for the explanation.
Did not realize MSG puts that kind risk on the instituition.
No wonder so few places are willing to do it.
If you think it is hard to source a Medallion Signature Guarantee inside the US, try finding one when you live outside the US.
Nahtanoj
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Re: Fed up With Flagship

Post by Nahtanoj »

One reason to use a Vanguard brokerage account instead of an account at another broker is if you use mutual funds that do not have generic equivalents at the other broker, and you periodically place trades in these mutual funds - for example, for rebalancing.

Trades in Vanguard mutual funds are always commission free at Vanguard. With Flagship, you also get 25 trades per year in non-Vanguard funds commission-free, and that is a lot. When a Schwab or a Fidelity is charging you $49.95 per purchase, Vanguard looks like a better deal.

Of course, if you are exclusively using ETFs, you may be better off with a Fidelity or a Schwab, because the trading cost is zero and you might prefer the customer service at those places. Same thing if you are exclusively using index funds that have low cost generic equivalents sponsored by the other brokerage, and Schwab and Fidelity sponsor a bunch of those generic index funds.

Now, you might ask why anyone would ever invest in a non-index, non-generic mutual fund, but lots of people do - including even some Bogleheads. (Popular examples of actively managed funds that some Bogleheads use include Vanguard Wellesley Income, Wellington, Primecap, and some of Vanguard's excellent actively managed bond funds, etc.)

Around 15 years ago, I switched from Schwab to Vanguard because I wanted to start doing systematic rebalancing, and at that time Schwab was charging something like $79 per mutual fund trade. (Schwab has subsequently cut their prices.) Since a lot of my funds were Vanguard funds, and Vanguard at the time only charged $20 per trade for non-Vanguard funds, it saved money for me to move to Vanguard - even for the non-Vanguard funds.
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Re: Fed up With Flagship

Post by backpacker61 »

FIREchief wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 7:36 pm
backpacker61 wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 7:16 pm
FIREchief wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 7:10 pm
backpacker61 wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 7:03 pm
FIREchief wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 2:41 pm
I don't believe that any banks in my area provide them.
That would surprise me. Wells Fargo does them; most banks do. I understand Bank of America doesn't.

I had a marathon meeting with one of my bank's officers to get six of them a few months ago.
If it took a "marathon meeting with one of your bank's officers" to get them, than I would suggest that they really don't "provide them." :?
It was only "marathon" because they had to review each of the six legal documents they were guaranteeing my signature on. A couple of them required notarization also. They definitely do them, and have for years.
Were these Vanguard documents?
No, none of them were.

Vanguard was somewhat unique in that my parents and I both had accounts there, and they already had the trust documents on file from when the first of my parents passed away (they had maintained an electronic copy from 12 years before). I just had to send them a copy of the death certificate. I was impressed; it saved me some work and bother. Thanks, Vanguard!
“Now shall I walk or shall I ride? | 'Ride,' Pleasure said; | 'Walk,' Joy replied.” | | ― W.H. Davies
backpacker61
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Re: Fed up With Flagship

Post by backpacker61 »

marcopolo wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 8:43 pm
prudent wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 8:26 pm
marcopolo wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 8:16 pm
backpacker61 wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 7:16 pm It was only "marathon" because they had to review each of the six legal documents they were guaranteeing my signature on. A couple of them required notarization also. They definitely do them, and have for years.
That seems odd. Why would they need to review the documents? They are not endorsing, or in any way certifying anything in the document. All they are doing is certifying that you are who you say you are when you sign the document. Why would they need to review what is in the document?
There is liability involved with medallion signature guarantees for the institution that provides it beyond just saying John Doe showed ID and he signed the form. If it's a forgery, the bank that provided the MSG is on the hook for the money. It's what distinguishes the MSG from a notary stamp saying John Doe provided ID. I imagine the bank wants to see documents that show John Doe is an owner of or has signature authority on the funds being transferred.
Thanks for the explanation.
Did not realize MSG puts that kind risk on the instituition.
No wonder so few places are willing to do it.
Yes, this is why most banks won't provide MSG's except for bank customers, and many will require that you have maintained an account there for some period of time before providing them.

I would not consider using a bank or CU that doesn't provide MSG's for customers; I wouldn't consider it a complete solution. It's one of the things I would most need a bank/CU for, though my need for them is very infrequent.
“Now shall I walk or shall I ride? | 'Ride,' Pleasure said; | 'Walk,' Joy replied.” | | ― W.H. Davies
Housedoc
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Re: Fed up With Flagship

Post by Housedoc »

Time to shut this thread down. Either love it or leave it. Too much pissing and moaning over and over about VG, Schwab, and Fidelity. Just do it!
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Re: Fed up With Flagship

Post by SmileyFace »

Housedoc wrote: Sun Nov 22, 2020 7:53 am Time to shut this thread down. Either love it or leave it. Too much pissing and moaning over and over about VG, Schwab, and Fidelity. Just do it!
Disagree. I get something out of all the different perspecitves.
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Re: Fed up With Flagship

Post by Cheez-It Guy »

I think mostly what you get is confirmation bias.
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Re: Fed up With Flagship

Post by TedSwippet »

Housedoc wrote: Sun Nov 22, 2020 7:53 am Time to shut this thread down. Either love it or leave it. Too much pissing and moaning over and over about VG, Schwab, and Fidelity. Just do it!
Exit, Voice, and Loyalty - Wikipedia
The basic concept is as follows: members of an organization, whether a business, a nation or any other form of human grouping, have essentially two possible responses when they perceive that the organization is demonstrating a decrease in quality or benefit to the member: they can exit (withdraw from the relationship); or, they can voice (attempt to repair or improve the relationship through communication of the complaint, grievance or proposal for change).
...
While both exit and voice can be used to measure a decline in an organization, voice is by nature more informative in that it also provides reasons for the decline. Exit, taken alone, only provides the warning sign of decline.
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Re: Fed up With Flagship

Post by Cheez-It Guy »

But will Tim Buckley be reading this thread?
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Re: Fed up With Flagship

Post by tioscrooge »

galawdawg wrote: Tue Nov 17, 2020 4:38 pm I moved to E*TRADE last year after thirty years at Vanguard and experiencing a decline in competence, service and benefits over the past few years. Unlike Fidelity and Schwab, they offer most Vanguard mutual funds with no transaction fees. I've been very pleased with the level of customer service at E*TRADE.

Here was a thread I posted on the subject: viewtopic.php?t=291658

Right now, E*TRADE has a generous bonus offer with $2,500 for a $1 million transfer. If you have more than $1 million, check with a local advisor as they can sometimes sweeten the pot. https://us.etrade.com/what-we-offer/how-it-works/promo
Second vote for E*TRADE. I have accounts at Schwab and E*TRADE. Both provide excellent customer service over Vanguard, where I still have some accounts.
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Re: Fed up With Flagship

Post by Broken Man 1999 »

Cheez-It Guy wrote: Sun Nov 22, 2020 9:26 am But will Tim Buckley be reading this thread?
I honestly wonder how many of Vanguard's 30+ million (I think) clients have experienced any of the former freebies and things that are so missed by some?

As well, though Mr Bogle is obviously a known person here, how many of those new Vanguard clients have any knowledge of him? And, with no disrespect to Mr Bogle, why should they care?

I started with Vanguard around 2003, and Mr Bogle had already been gone for a few years by then. Wikipedia says he left his last position in 1999.

Vanguard will never be what it was under Mr Bogle. Just like Ford isn't what it was under Henry Ford.

Business must grow, or they atrophy. The business environment changes, and thankfully Vanguard changed as well.

Interested parties can wax elegant about the changes they might vehemently dislike, but Captain Bogle's last voyage sailed decades ago.

Broken Man 1999
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palanzo
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Re: Fed up With Flagship

Post by palanzo »

Housedoc wrote: Sun Nov 22, 2020 7:53 am Time to shut this thread down. Either love it or leave it. Too much pissing and moaning over and over about VG, Schwab, and Fidelity. Just do it!
Disagree. I am finding a lot of useful information in this thread. You don't have to read it if you find it is not helpful.
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Re: Fed up With Flagship

Post by palanzo »

backpacker61 wrote: Sun Nov 22, 2020 7:39 am
marcopolo wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 8:43 pm
prudent wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 8:26 pm
marcopolo wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 8:16 pm
backpacker61 wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 7:16 pm It was only "marathon" because they had to review each of the six legal documents they were guaranteeing my signature on. A couple of them required notarization also. They definitely do them, and have for years.
That seems odd. Why would they need to review the documents? They are not endorsing, or in any way certifying anything in the document. All they are doing is certifying that you are who you say you are when you sign the document. Why would they need to review what is in the document?
There is liability involved with medallion signature guarantees for the institution that provides it beyond just saying John Doe showed ID and he signed the form. If it's a forgery, the bank that provided the MSG is on the hook for the money. It's what distinguishes the MSG from a notary stamp saying John Doe provided ID. I imagine the bank wants to see documents that show John Doe is an owner of or has signature authority on the funds being transferred.
Thanks for the explanation.
Did not realize MSG puts that kind risk on the instituition.
No wonder so few places are willing to do it.
Yes, this is why most banks won't provide MSG's except for bank customers, and many will require that you have maintained an account there for some period of time before providing them.

I would not consider using a bank or CU that doesn't provide MSG's for customers; I wouldn't consider it a complete solution. It's one of the things I would most need a bank/CU for, though my need for them is very infrequent.
When does one need a MSG? When does Vanguard require a MSG?
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Re: Fed up With Flagship

Post by abuss368 »

Many of Vanguard’s client are pure do-it-yourself investors. I never really understood the differences in services offered with Voyager, Flagship, and so forth. Seemed small and almost immaterial.
John C. Bogle: “Simplicity is the master key to financial success."
Scooter57
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Re: Fed up With Flagship

Post by Scooter57 »

drzzzzz wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 7:58 pm
Fidelity does medallion signatures although with Covid and offices closed I am not sure how that would work right now
Well, I'm hoping they won't actually need that Medallion Signature Guarantee for another 25 years or so. :D

But applying "Umbrella theory" if I make sure they can get it they won't need it. (Umbrella theory being that if you remember to bring your umbrella it won't rain.)
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