Vanguard Flagship Service

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Kimchi2
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Mar 05, 2022 1:31 am

Vanguard Flagship Service

Post by Kimchi2 »

A few years ago, Vanguard moved us from the ordinary Flagship tier to a supposed, still-higher level of service. The main difference I see is that the so-called relationship managers assigned to us are very difficult to reach and seem to leave their positions after only a few months. As a result, we are now on our fifth relationship manager in approximately three years and none has been there long enough to establish any sort of relationship with us.

This is getting really annoying and ironically, has resulted in a lower level of service than we experienced under Flagship, wherein service was excellent and we had a RM who actually knew us and was very helpful over several years. All but one of the higher-tier replacements seemed rather less than enthusiastic on the phone and in their introductory calls, were not very good at hiding the fact that they were reciting from a script, making sure to make a pitch for their asset management services.

Don't get me wrong: we are still able to get what we need fairly readily from other Vanguard staff and frankly, we don't need much other than to have a question answered once in a while.

Perhaps this is nothing more than our bad luck in a changing job market that offers these workers countless new opportunities and incentives to leave. Maybe we're now much smaller fish in a bigger pond. Or perhaps it's something else. I wonder if anyone else has experienced anything like this.
indexlover
Posts: 183
Joined: Mon May 11, 2015 10:39 am

Re: Vanguard Flagship Service

Post by indexlover »

I don't even have anyone assigned to me. Don't need one.
“If a statue is ever erected to honor the person who has done the most for American investors, the hands-down choice should be Jack Bogle.” - Mr. Buffett - Berkshire Hathaway ’s 2016 annual report.
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anon_investor
Posts: 11602
Joined: Mon Jun 03, 2019 1:43 pm

Re: Vanguard Flagship Service

Post by anon_investor »

Kimchi2 wrote: Wed Jun 22, 2022 7:24 pm A few years ago, Vanguard moved us from the ordinary Flagship tier to a supposed, still-higher level of service. The main difference I see is that the so-called relationship managers assigned to us are very difficult to reach and seem to leave their positions after only a few months. As a result, we are now on our fifth relationship manager in approximately three years and none has been there long enough to establish any sort of relationship with us.

This is getting really annoying and ironically, has resulted in a lower level of service than we experienced under Flagship, wherein service was excellent and we had a RM who actually knew us and was very helpful over several years. All but one of the higher-tier replacements seemed rather less than enthusiastic on the phone and in their introductory calls, were not very good at hiding the fact that they were reciting from a script, making sure to make a pitch for their asset management services.

Don't get me wrong: we are still able to get what we need fairly readily from other Vanguard staff and frankly, we don't need much other than to have a question answered once in a while.

Perhaps this is nothing more than our bad luck in a changing job market that offers these workers countless new opportunities and incentives to leave. Maybe we're now much smaller fish in a bigger pond. Or perhaps it's something else. I wonder if anyone else has experienced anything like this.
Ordinary Flagship doesn't get an assigned rep anymore. They took mine away a few years ago.
AQ
Posts: 702
Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2008 11:38 pm

Re: Vanguard Flagship Service

Post by AQ »

I just had a call today. The call was picked up right away, and the representative was super nice. Still, he clearly knows little about my issue, and then kindly offered to go to find a supervisor to help. Half-hour later, he came back and said he couldn't find any supervisors!

I'm with Vanguard for decades. I rarely called them and otherwise quite pleased with what they have to offer. But I had to call them twice this year, and the experiences reminded me of all those rants on this forum about their services...
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HMSVictory
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Re: Vanguard Flagship Service

Post by HMSVictory »

My mother uses PAS services and has an assigned advisor. They want to matriculate everyone into PAS to capture the 0.30 bps fee.

Previously she was a flagship only investor and we actually went to Vanguard and met with her assigned advisor. That ended when they introduced PAS and she lost her assigned flagship advisor. I think what Vanguard charges for PAS is reasonable but I do not find the $10k a year in fees she pays to be worth it (but she feels a lot better with some hand holding). Flagship select is I believe what you are referencing ($5M > in assets) and I'm not surprised they are trying to capture the management fee on that size account. My gut tells me they have matriculated all the experienced advisors to the PAS service and left the interns and new guys to handle the complimentary advice.
Stay the course!
quietseas
Posts: 640
Joined: Fri Dec 27, 2013 4:43 pm

Re: Vanguard Flagship Service

Post by quietseas »

OP is describing Flagship Select (over $5M, or other reason Vanguard has given them a Relationship Manager).

The RM does not do what the Flagship Rep used to do. For one, the RM is not a financial planner. Per Vanguard website the RM will:
Learn about your family’s needs and financial goals.
Partner with you and your family as you navigate your wealth management journey.
Provide you with tools and techniques to help maintain and grow your wealth.
Apply their expertise to rapidly address your complex service needs.
Research issues and offer a menu of options and services.
Act with integrity, honesty, and transparency.
To me, that's a longwinded and polite way of saying the RM isn't going to do much of anything except send you links to different parts of Vanguard's website. I am not Flagship Select but perhaps some who is can chime in if the RM will provide single point of accountability for solving any problems the way a Flagship rep did previously, or will the RM just transfer you to the call center.
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galawdawg
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Location: Georgia

Re: Vanguard Flagship Service

Post by galawdawg »

What you are experiencing is, unfortunately, symptomatic of the direction Vanguard has been moving over the past several years, IMO. All of the former "Flagship" benefits have been eliminated or monetized as fee-added services, Flagship Select purportedly gets you a relationship manager or what they now call a "wealth management concierge." Vanguard touts the benefits of Flagship Select as
Our specialized services for ultra-high-net-worth investors like you can help preserve your legacy. We can be your guide to all of your wealth management needs, including helping you meet your financial, investment, family, and estate planning goals.
But of course, they also say "Vanguard Personal Advisor Services provides a team of professionals to advise on wealth management topics at a competitive cost. Talk to us about which of these services are available to you" and "if you're seeking wealth management advice from a Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®) professional, consider Vanguard Personal Advisor Services®." So what you really get with Flagship Select is a dedicated, often inexperienced, customer service representative and the offer, aka sales pitch, to provide those touted services at additional cost through PAS.

I left Vanguard several years ago and am very satisfied with Schwab. Customers with a portfolio of at least $250k have a dedicated financial consultant, who they can choose themselves, and can contact them by their direct phone line and direct email. My financial consultant is a CFP and has been very happy to review our investment and retirement planning and give us a "second opinion" without any sales pitch and at no cost. I even have his cell phone number!

No brokerage can be all things to all people. Those who are happy at Vanguard should stay at Vanguard. Those who, for whatever reason, find Vanguard to be lacking or are otherwise dissatisfied with them have a number of excellent alternatives, such as Schwab and Fidelity! :beer
trailmk
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Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2007 2:16 pm

Re: Vanguard Flagship Service

Post by trailmk »

Vanguard is definitely pushing their PAS services. In April this year, our personal flagship representative called to check in and catch up. She usually calls 1-2 times a year to see how we're doing. We have a very strong, personal relationship and she has helped us out several times with special situations. In April, she made a strong pitch for the PAS services. As in the past, I politely declined and told her I was comfortable handling our finances. She then talked about getting estate planning advice. Again I politely declined. We had a very pleasant conversation and I thought all was well.

About 2 weeks after her phone call, I received an email informing us that we would no longer have a dedicated flagship representative. I quickly sent our rep a secure email and asked if we had lost her. Unfortunately, I wasn't home when she called but she left a long message. In her message she said she checked the system and yes, she was no longer our rep. She then made a valiant attempt to support VG's decision, stating she would be spending her time helping customers who needed more advice and assistance. I could tell she didn't like delivering the news but she was on a recorded line. However, she did give us her personal phone number which she said we could use if we needed to get in touch with her.

I immediately sent her a secure email thanking her and praising her professionalism and expertise. The next day I received a boiler plate response saying my email would be passed on to her supervisor. That same day our secure email disappeared and we never received a reply from her about our final email.

I'm sure John Bogle is spinning in his grave seeing the way long time flagship customers are being treated. She had been our representative since 2007. It was very sad news and a very sad day.
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