Where should I move to from Vanguard?

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DonQuijote
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Where should I move to from Vanguard?

Post by DonQuijote »

I have been a Vanguard Flagship customer for over 20 years, with taxable, Roth, and Rollover IRA accounts. I seldom trade and have most of my assets in Vanguard ETFs. During most of that time, the customer service was superb. When I called, I could have a Flagship rep on the line in less than a minute; it usually wasn't my rep, but my questions were usually generic, and I had the choice of leaving a message for my rep to call back. The important part was that I could have a knowledgeable person on the phone promptly. I probably averaged calling two or three times a year, usually with simple questions. I also would have a longer conversation about goals and ways to reach them with my Flagship rep about once a year, usually on their initiative. Over the years, I enthusiastically recommended Vanguard to many people because of the high-quality service.

Things started to change a few years ago. There were more automated menus to navigate and longer waits on hold when I called. Things have continued to deteriorate. At first, both Vanguard reps and I attributed the change to the pandemic; now, they don't and I don't. Vanguard has obviously decided to downgrade service. Now, the automated menus have grown longer, the first person to answer seems to be nothing more than a receptionist who directs calls, and there are no longer any Flagship reps. It feels like calling a government office, not a financial institution that values me as a customer.

I have concluded that it's time to transfer my accounts to another company that cares more about the quality of their customer service. I solicit recommendations. I would appreciate having some detail about what is good and isn't about the service from other companies. I would particularly like to hear from former Vanguard customers who switched.

Thanks for any help.
steadyosmosis
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Re: Where should I move to from Vanguard?

Post by steadyosmosis »

DonQuijote wrote: Mon Jan 23, 2023 12:35 pm I have been a Vanguard Flagship customer for over 20 years, with taxable, Roth, and Rollover IRA accounts. I seldom trade and have most of my assets in Vanguard ETFs. During most of that time, the customer service was superb. When I called, I could have a Flagship rep on the line in less than a minute; it usually wasn't my rep, but my questions were usually generic, and I had the choice of leaving a message for my rep to call back. The important part was that I could have a knowledgeable person on the phone promptly. I probably averaged calling two or three times a year, usually with simple questions. I also would have a longer conversation about goals and ways to reach them with my Flagship rep about once a year, usually on their initiative. Over the years, I enthusiastically recommended Vanguard to many people because of the high-quality service.

Things started to change a few years ago. There were more automated menus to navigate and longer waits on hold when I called. Things have continued to deteriorate. At first, both Vanguard reps and I attributed the change to the pandemic; now, they don't and I don't. Vanguard has obviously decided to downgrade service. Now, the automated menus have grown longer, the first person to answer seems to be nothing more than a receptionist who directs calls, and there are no longer any Flagship reps. It feels like calling a government office, not a financial institution that values me as a customer.

I have concluded that it's time to transfer my accounts to another company that cares more about the quality of their customer service. I solicit recommendations. I would appreciate having some detail about what is good and isn't about the service from other companies. I would particularly like to hear from former Vanguard customers who switched.

Thanks for any help.
I left Vanguard and moved to Schwab 15-20 years ago, but I have no opinion on Schwab customer service.
I probably have not called Schwab in 10 years, but occasionally drop off a deposit check at their local office.
I have far more success getting my finance questions answered at Bogleheads.org.
jebmke
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Re: Where should I move to from Vanguard?

Post by jebmke »

I have used VG, Schwab and FIDO over the years. No complaints specifically on any of them. Schwab was a long time ago and they were a disaster on security but I'm sure they fixed that by now.

When I was with FIDO I had an excellent experience with their netbenefits group in rolling over my 401(k) to an IRA.

If I were going to move from VG today I'd look at either of the other two since they both are pretty similar and have offices close enough to me. Schwab is ultra local but FIDO is within an hour and close to other common destinations. I haven't been inside a financial institution in over a decade so an hour isn't a big deal.

I think FIDO is the only one that provides the ability to lock the account from ACATS transfers. That might be the swing criterion for me.

edit: One thing you might want to do is check with alternatives as to what, if any, of your existing assets cannot transfer to them. If there is a difference, that might be important - especially if the asset is in a taxable account.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.
nalor511
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Re: Where should I move to from Vanguard?

Post by nalor511 »

If you have VG ETFs, there's no better place to be than Fidelity. Fractional shares (as little as $1), no wire fees, no NSF fees, a transfer bonus if you have >$1mil, live chat, secure email... best support in the business.

Schwab is a close second, but the lack of Fractional shares bugs me. They also still have transfer-out fees (though they recently lowered partial transfer-out fee to $0 [from $25])
gavinsiu
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Re: Where should I move to from Vanguard?

Post by gavinsiu »

Well both Schwab and Fidelity are pretty good. Both have the advantage of better hours than Vanguard and local branches. I have Fidelity and my mom uses Schwab and both are pretty equal in customer service.

If you travel internationally, I recall Schwab doesn't charge a foreign transaction fee. Schwab's bank is also an actual bank, which might matter in certain situations.

The deciding factors is if they hold the funds you want and which branches are in your area.
bondsr4me
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Re: Where should I move to from Vanguard?

Post by bondsr4me »

Yesterday, I open IRA accounts for myself and my wife at Fidelity.

Very easy; very simple.

We then started an ACAT transfer for these IRA's from Vanguard to Fidelity.
I also did a mobile check deposit yesterday into Fidelity.

We also have a Joint account with Fidelity, Schwab and Vanguard.

I rate Schwab a close second to Fidelity in terms of website and customer service.

OP, if you go with Fidelity (or Schwab) you can't go wrong.
PaunchyPirate
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Re: Where should I move to from Vanguard?

Post by PaunchyPirate »

I am going through the switch right now. I initiated transfer of my Vanguard Rollover and Roth IRA accounts last week and should see them in my Schwab accounts this week. On Wednesday, if Schwab's time estimate is accurate. Assuming that transfer process goes smoothly and after I receive my 2022 tax forms from Vanguard, I will initiate the transfer of my much larger taxable brokerage account.

I researched online for weeks on this decision. I had narrowed my move down to Schwab or Fidelity. From that research, I concluded both could meet my needs. Vanguard's recent website "improvements" were part of why I decided to change. I had used Fidelity's site up to about 5 years ago for employer-related accounts, but didn't use them for major personal investing. I also watched a lot of YouTube videos to try and get a feel for how the online web experience was for each of these. I feel that both Schwab and Fidelity websites were going to be acceptable to me.

On Tuesday of last week, I contacted both of the companies using the main number showed on the "New Account Signup" page on their websites. Both contacts asked a few basic questions and I told them the size of my accounts. They both indicated that they would have a more appropriate person contact me. In Schwab's case, that was from a rep at the closest branch to me (90 minutes away). But they also asked me if I preferred someone from that office or someone from a national team contact me. I chose the branch employee just so I'd have a contact should I need to go into the branch for some reason. In Fidelity's case, they simply had a more experienced person call me, not from the closest branch office.

Basically, I "interviewed" both of these reps with similar questions about how the transfer would be done, who would be doing what, what to expect, confirmed they would hold my existing investments, etc. I had already researched this and have also moved accounts in the past, so I mostly was looking for how experienced they were in answering my questions. Both of them responded equally well to my questions. Both of the reps also asked me a series of questions, but in a very conversational manner. I didn't feel like I was being grilled, but it was clear they were also investigating me as a prospect for their business. I had no problem with that. I had determined that either one of them would be acceptable to me.

During my online research, I had become aware that brokers will often offer financial incentives to get your business if it is sizable enough. I had found typical bonus amounts here on this site as well as a few other places. I did not ask them for a specific amount. But I did ask each of them if they were currently offering incentives for new business. Both indicated they were, and gave me number based on the size of my overall investment portfolio that I would be switching. Fidelity offered $X. Schwab offered $X+500. But Schwab also immediately followed up his offer (before I even reacted to his offer) with "But I can probably get more if I get my boss to approve it." I told him that he was currently in the same ballpark with Fidelity and if he wanted to get an approval for a higher amount, he would likely get my business. 45 minutes later, he called back with an offer of $2X (which was double Fidelity's offer). I accepted his offer and then initiated the process to transfer my accounts. The Schwab rep actually then pulled in a more technical agent to help with the account setup process and to give me more details on how the incentive bonus worked. I did all the account creation on line myself. The technical agent verified them a little. The next day they were all approved and ready to start the transfer process, which again, I did myself online. The technical agent again verified that it all looked good. I will be in continued touch with him as a get all the investments moved over and he will be responsible for triggering the payment of the bonus into my accounts at about the 45 day point after account creation.
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2022fireoops
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Re: Where should I move to from Vanguard?

Post by 2022fireoops »

I find the customer service at Schwab to be exemplary. Even when I make extraordinarily stupid mistakes (such as doubling up my IRA contributions) they quickly and graciously fix my issues without making me feel as stupid as I am. :)
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cspitzer
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Re: Where should I move to from Vanguard?

Post by cspitzer »

My situation is similar to yours. I am a Vanguard Flagship client and have been with Vanguard for over 31 years. Vanguard at one point was my favorite company of any company that I did business with.

I recently made the decision to leave Vanguard primarily because of: (1) my desire to consolidate all of my and my wife’s non-employer sponsored financial accounts at one institution which is not presently possible at Vanguard; (2) marketplace competition that has significantly closed the gap between Vanguard and other brokerage firms and the investment options at those firms since I first began investing on my own; (3) my frustrations with continued takeaways by Vanguard of products and services previously offered, the most recent being an assigned Flagship representative; and (4) a recent bad customer service experience with Vanguard which took over four weeks to resolve (see viewtopic.php?t=394328).

I ultimately decided to move our accounts to Fidelity. I am in the middle of the process so far. I am presently waiting for Vanguard to complete the conversion of all of my and my wife’s eligible Vanguard broad market traditional stock index mutual funds to ETFs before initiate the transfer of our accounts at Fidelity.

The main reasons I chose Fidelity were: (1) the fact that I already had accounts there (i.e., cash management account and personal retirement annuity) due to Vanguard previously giving me the boot with respect to those accounts; (2) the potential ability to consolidate all of my and my wife’s financial accounts at Fidelity after we retire (including HSAs); (3) our ability to qualify for the premium class share of the Fidelity Money Market Fund (FDZXX), which helped narrow one of the main advantages that Vanguard has over Fidelity for us; (4) the 2% cash back Fidelity Signature Rewards VISA credit card; (5) the ability to place ETF trades in dollars for all available ETFs, not just Vanguard ETFs; (6) Fidelity Charitable, which is Fidelity’s outstanding donor advised fund; and (7) Fidelity’s offer of a bonus for transferring my and my wife’s accounts there.

The process of transitioning to Fidelity has been going great so far. I am looking forward to being a Fidelity customer for a long time.
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Squirrel208
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Re: Where should I move to from Vanguard?

Post by Squirrel208 »

I have no experience with Vanguard Flagship.. However I've had great experience with Fidelity's Private Client Group program, which I believe is available at no charge on request for clients with $1M+ under management at Fidelity. (Ironically the vast majority of my portfolio at Fidelity is invested in Vanguard funds.)

My particular PCG team is led by a VP-level CFP Financial Planner based in a regional corporate office. His name, photo, and contact info are prominently displayed on the main Fidelity landing page when I log in. From there I can easily schedule appointments, call, or email he or his team.

His PCG team also generally reaches out to me at least a couple of times a year to schedule a portfolio review and/or answer any questions I might have. They've never pushed any products or services other than making me aware that they have them available should I need them. I've had this service level for around 5 years now since closing my Schwab accounts and moving everything to Fidelity. It's been a great experience.
jebmke
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Re: Where should I move to from Vanguard?

Post by jebmke »

Squirrel208 wrote: Mon Jan 23, 2023 2:49 pm I have no experience with Vanguard Flagship.. However I've had great experience with Fidelity's Private Client Group program, which I believe is available at no charge on request for clients with $1M+ under management at Fidelity. (Ironically the vast majority of my portfolio at Fidelity is invested in Vanguard funds.)

My particular PCG team is led by a VP-level CFP Financial Planner based in a regional corporate office. His name, photo, and contact info are prominently displayed on the main Fidelity landing page when I log in. From there I can easily schedule appointments, call, or email he or his team.

His PCG team also generally reaches out to me at least a couple of times a year to schedule a portfolio review and/or answer any questions I might have. They've never pushed any products or services other than making me aware that they have them available should I need them. I've had this service level for around 5 years now since closing my Schwab accounts and moving everything to Fidelity. It's been a great experience.
What's interesting with this model is that FIDO bears most of the cost and VG gets most of the revenue.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.
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Mr. Potter
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Re: Where should I move to from Vanguard?

Post by Mr. Potter »

About 7 years ago Fidelity was suddenly announced as our new and only work retirement brokerage option. We had 5 before including Vanguard. Being a longtime Vanguard investor I was pissed about the changes. Now I prefer Fidelity and when I retire will likely consolidate everything there. I don’t hate Vanguard but between the 2 I would now go with Fidelity.
teamDE
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Re: Where should I move to from Vanguard?

Post by teamDE »

I'm also half and half Vanguard and Fidelity. Fidelity has some kickers like their DFA product. My wife's 401k and her RSU taxable account are also at Fidelity.

I'm tempted to consolidate all over to Fidelity as well just to clean things up. This prompted me so I actually just called Vanguard to convert my Roth IRA from VTSAX into VTI. The wait was short and they helped me very quickly. Honestly, I haven't personally had any problems with Vanguard support. Almost feel bad if I were to leave them! :)
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JIMX7
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Re: Where should I move to from Vanguard?

Post by JIMX7 »

I have had Vanguard over 30yrs and have never had any problems even when they transferred my other stocks to my account. Most hold times when I call are under 10 minutes.
secondopinion
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Re: Where should I move to from Vanguard?

Post by secondopinion »

I have Fidelity and Vanguard. Fidelity is good enough to replace my old Robinhood account in terms of options and leveraged ETF trading, and also holds my HSA for free. However, the money market accounts and municipal bond funds are good enough to keep an account open at Vanguard.

I tend to say Fidelity is good enough for almost anything that an investor should be buying, unless that is Vanguard mutual funds that are not available via ETF or one must have a good money market fund.
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SmileyFace
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Re: Where should I move to from Vanguard?

Post by SmileyFace »

I had Vanguard, Schwab and Fidelity accounts for years and recently moved everything of mine over to Fidelity. 100 times better customer service than Vanguard in my experience. It was kind of a toss up between Schwab and Fidelity - what broke the tie were my current company having my 401K at Fidelity plus the 2% cashback card plus the more useful tools at Fidelity (I love their Retirement Analysis tools).
alexbogle
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Re: Where should I move to from Vanguard?

Post by alexbogle »

I've been with Schwab for about 6 years now.

I opened a Fidelity account about a month ago to take advantage of their $150 bonus. I decided to move my checking to a Fidelity CMA, paying bills and using checks from there instead of Bank of America.

With customer service, Schwab is the clear winner. I can't think of a single time I've had to wait to get chat help or phone help. And every representative has been extremely knowledgeable and helpful.

Contrast this with my experience with Fidelity so far:

1. Using the phone is a pain because they force you to type your password on your phone's keypad. This doesn't feel secure to me at all. But regardless, it's incredibly inconevient.
2. Hold time on the phone hasn't been too bad but definitely longer than Schwab's.
3. Chat wait time is a lot longer at Fidelity. I've tried to use it a few times in the middle of the day and had to wait almost 10 minutes. Not a super long time but with Schwab, i can get questions answered on a whim. The representatives also communicate in a less friendly way. I think Schwab must be training their representatives better. I really only noticed this after contrasting with my experience at Fidelity. During my last interaction, I the Fidelity representative suggested a solution to me for my problem but didn't mention there would be a fee. I asked explicitly and he confirmed there would be a fee and that there was no way to do what I wanted without incurring a fee. I asked him why the original form had it as an option if it wasn't available. Afterwards, he apologized and said Fidelity would take care of it if I resubmitted the form. My experiences so far have been bad enough that I'm seriously considering just giving up on moving the checking to Fidelity. But at the same time, it's better than Bank of America in terms of customer support; and Schwab's checking doesn't offer competitive rates like Fidelity does with the ability to hold money in a money market fund.

For a brokerage, I would 100% recommend Schwab over Fidelity. I intend to keep the bulk of my investments at Schwab.
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SmileyFace
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Re: Where should I move to from Vanguard?

Post by SmileyFace »

^ OP was/is Vanguard Flagship so will be Fidelity Private Client if he moves over (so will be going thru a different calling experience)
tarheel79
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Re: Where should I move to from Vanguard?

Post by tarheel79 »

Been with Vanguard for over 40 years. Like you my last few experiences with customer service have been less than average. Opened Fidelity account in October to test the water. Very pleased and will migrate the remainder of my portfolio over in the coming year. Refuse to wait for Vanguard to catch up.
Doctor Rhythm
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Re: Where should I move to from Vanguard?

Post by Doctor Rhythm »

We have had accounts at Vanguard, Schwab and Fidelity for 15-30 years each. I have never needed to call Vanguard or Schwab in that time, but I call Fidelity monthly to do a backdoor Roth rollover from my workplace account, which can’t be done on-line. It’s almost always an unmemorable event. That counts as an endorsement.
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Munir
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Re: Where should I move to from Vanguard?

Post by Munir »

JIMX7 wrote: Mon Jan 23, 2023 3:44 pm I have had Vanguard over 30yrs and have never had any problems even when they transferred my other stocks to my account. Most hold times when I call are under 10 minutes.
Agree. I also have been a customer over 30-40 years. Happy with their service but not as much with their "new" web site.
Last edited by Munir on Mon Jan 23, 2023 6:30 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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White Coat Investor
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Re: Where should I move to from Vanguard?

Post by White Coat Investor »

DonQuijote wrote: Mon Jan 23, 2023 12:35 pm I have been a Vanguard Flagship customer for over 20 years, with taxable, Roth, and Rollover IRA accounts. I seldom trade and have most of my assets in Vanguard ETFs. During most of that time, the customer service was superb. When I called, I could have a Flagship rep on the line in less than a minute; it usually wasn't my rep, but my questions were usually generic, and I had the choice of leaving a message for my rep to call back. The important part was that I could have a knowledgeable person on the phone promptly. I probably averaged calling two or three times a year, usually with simple questions. I also would have a longer conversation about goals and ways to reach them with my Flagship rep about once a year, usually on their initiative. Over the years, I enthusiastically recommended Vanguard to many people because of the high-quality service.

Things started to change a few years ago. There were more automated menus to navigate and longer waits on hold when I called. Things have continued to deteriorate. At first, both Vanguard reps and I attributed the change to the pandemic; now, they don't and I don't. Vanguard has obviously decided to downgrade service. Now, the automated menus have grown longer, the first person to answer seems to be nothing more than a receptionist who directs calls, and there are no longer any Flagship reps. It feels like calling a government office, not a financial institution that values me as a customer.

I have concluded that it's time to transfer my accounts to another company that cares more about the quality of their customer service. I solicit recommendations. I would appreciate having some detail about what is good and isn't about the service from other companies. I would particularly like to hear from former Vanguard customers who switched.

Thanks for any help.
If I were leaving (I'm not) I'd go to Fidelity where most of my non-Vanguard accounts (401(k), HSA, credit card) are kept.

For what it's worth, I'm getting better service from Vanguard than I ever have, but I also have a lot more money there these days than I used to so there is some kind of special team taking care of me. Not sure what amount of money you need there to be cared for by this team.

I think Fidelity's regular service is better than Vanguard's. Good luck!
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Wiggums
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Re: Where should I move to from Vanguard?

Post by Wiggums »

I’m not leaving.
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sandburg
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Re: Where should I move to from Vanguard?

Post by sandburg »

I transferred all of our assets from TRowe Price and Vanguard to Fidelity about 12 years ago. No regrets at all.
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Re: Where should I move to from Vanguard?

Post by hicabob »

I have accounts at TD, Vanguard, Fidelity and Wellstrade in that order of account value. I've found there is minimal difference. The local TD office has been useful a couple times. Vanguard's service with an inherited IRA/trust was excellent. Fido has a great HSA and credit card. Wellstrade gets me Wells Fargo freebies. They are all decent, have free trading and have ok websites.
02nz
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Re: Where should I move to from Vanguard?

Post by 02nz »

The answer is pretty much anywhere - almost any other low-cost brokerage has better service than Vanguard - E*Trade, Fidelity, and Schwab are probably among the best, and Merrill Edge is also not bad (and parking $100K there gets you nice credit card rewards at BoA). Then there are the newer players like Public, which has been offering very lucrative bonuses; I just got $2500 for transferring over $250K, but so far they only do regular taxable accounts, no retirement accounts.
Yoshida26
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Re: Where should I move to from Vanguard?

Post by Yoshida26 »

Not to hijack the conversation here but i have a Schwab question.

I've been with Fido for nearly 30 years and no regrets there at al. I had a small amount at VG and decided to move that over to Schwab.
The big difference i have noticed with my deposits into Fido and Schwab, deposits into Schwab take 24-48 hours before the money arrives and you can buy a fund, Fido is almost instantly. Is this common with Schwab clients?
Paullmas
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Re: Where should I move to from Vanguard?

Post by Paullmas »

I did not care for Vanguard.
I have and know people using Fidelity and ETrade.
Fidelity is really good. ETrade is fine from what I have heard.
Fidelity online is top notch.
Merrill is good, but tied to BOA :( .
loghound
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Re: Where should I move to from Vanguard?

Post by loghound »

I have Fidelity at work and I use Schwab for my personal accounts -- I can't speak to any other brokerage options.

Between the two I would recommend Schwab because:
  • The web portal is better at Schwab in my opinion
  • The customer service is better at Schwab in my opinion (I'm not saying Fidelity service is bad, I've just had an overall better experience at Schwab).
My experience in reading the forums for these last few years is that Schwab customer service is generally really highly regarded (I know I do)


The only downside of Schwab is they (nominally) charge to trade in Vanguard funds. If you have enough money (? > 500k? > 1M? I don't know) they have a 'fee waiver' program -- or you can also just but the equivalent ETF.
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Blake7
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Re: Where should I move to from Vanguard?

Post by Blake7 »

I’ve been with Vanguard for about 30 years. I was on the cusp of moving everything out to Schwab or Fidelity recently due to frustration with the increasingly awful redesigned website that is difficult to navigate and buggy, and an app SMS security loophole that bypasses my Yubikeys. I’m currently actually consolidating at Vanguard while I’m evaluating everything again. Once everything is in one place I’m going to give it a second look and will take advantage of a transfer bonus somewhere else if I’m not satisfied. I’ve had several interactions with Vanguard employees recently concerning the the asset consolidation, and they’ve all been very good, which basically bought them some time in my mind, but once everything is consolidated, if they continue to deteriorate the website experience, I’m going to move my portfolio somewhere else. It’s sad that it’s come to this, I’ve always been a huge Vanguard fan. I’m hoping they’ll get it together.
Last edited by Blake7 on Mon Jan 23, 2023 11:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Rudedog
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Re: Where should I move to from Vanguard?

Post by Rudedog »

I have accounts at TD Ameritrade (Schwab soon) and Vanguard. No complaints about either.
BF3000
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Re: Where should I move to from Vanguard?

Post by BF3000 »

My Schwab local consultant (who I have enjoyed interacting with) said fractional ETF transactions is in the works.
MarkVH0518
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Re: Where should I move to from Vanguard?

Post by MarkVH0518 »

White Coat Investor wrote: Mon Jan 23, 2023 6:14 pm For what it's worth, I'm getting better service from Vanguard than I ever have, but I also have a lot more money there these days than I used to so there is some kind of special team taking care of me. Not sure what amount of money you need there to be cared for by this team.
It's conceivable that you get high quality service from Vanguard because you give high quality investment advice to many with high incomes.
It's not that I resent that you get good service, and I certainly appreciate your advice.
It's just that the hurdle for others to get the same service from Vanguard might even be higher than you suppose in this post.

Mark
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White Coat Investor
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Re: Where should I move to from Vanguard?

Post by White Coat Investor »

MarkVH0518 wrote: Mon Jan 23, 2023 8:35 pm
White Coat Investor wrote: Mon Jan 23, 2023 6:14 pm For what it's worth, I'm getting better service from Vanguard than I ever have, but I also have a lot more money there these days than I used to so there is some kind of special team taking care of me. Not sure what amount of money you need there to be cared for by this team.
It's conceivable that you get high quality service from Vanguard because you give high quality investment advice to many with high incomes.
It's not that I resent that you get good service, and I certainly appreciate your advice.
It's just that the hurdle for others to get the same service from Vanguard might even be higher than you suppose in this post.

Mark
I don't think so. As far as I can tell, those who help me are not aware of my work with WCI or Bogleheads. They are aware of how much is in the account and how much goes in there every month though. I'm pretty sure that's what results in better service. They used to be very explicit about the wealth levels at which you got improved service. Now it seems a lot more vague. But at some point, I crossed a threshhold that put me into a different category than just being Flagship.
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nyclon
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Re: Where should I move to from Vanguard?

Post by nyclon »

There’s quite a bit of hatred posts on this forum regarding Vanguard. Fwiw, I’ve had a great experience with them:
-opening trust accounts that are complex
-getting a lot of time to speak with a few folks in their private equity group
-using their app - they are constantly releasing new features. Today they added secure messaging - I’ve been wanting that feature for months now and it arrived!
-trading treasuries directly with their bond desk and getting dealer pricing
-block etf trading
-using their features on the website to look at portfolio metrics, accrued income and dividends
-quick access via phone
-them filling out forms / docusign before I have to look at it - saves time
-e delivery forms and statements (don’t want any paper in the mail for security reasons)
-easy features to withdraw / add cash

It’s hard to believe their brokerage service is free given all of the resources they make available, to be honest.

The only dislike is fixable and likely will be fixed:
-the sms workaround to Yubikey. I want real 2FA.

And something that needs an upgrade is their options trading. But, it’s barebones and works fine for covered calls.
MarkVH0518
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Re: Where should I move to from Vanguard?

Post by MarkVH0518 »

White Coat Investor wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 2:21 pm I don't think so. As far as I can tell, ...
Do you hide your caller id? If I was designing the answering system, phone numbers of valuable customers go the the front of the queue
(or some kind of priority handling).
I'm pretty certain that my calls to Fidelity get answered with more urgency than the (few!) folks I give advice to.
It can only be based on caller id.
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Makefile
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Re: Where should I move to from Vanguard?

Post by Makefile »

MarkVH0518 wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 5:29 pm
White Coat Investor wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 2:21 pm I don't think so. As far as I can tell, ...
Do you hide your caller id? If I was designing the answering system, phone numbers of valuable customers go the the front of the queue
(or some kind of priority handling).
I'm pretty certain that my calls to Fidelity get answered with more urgency than the (few!) folks I give advice to.
It can only be based on caller id.
Random fact: the system used to pass your phone number to the called party when you call a toll-free number is different than Caller ID and predates it, and can't be blocked using the methods you would use to block Caller ID.
Makefile
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Re: Where should I move to from Vanguard?

Post by Makefile »

White Coat Investor wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 2:21 pm I don't think so. As far as I can tell, those who help me are not aware of my work with WCI or Bogleheads. They are aware of how much is in the account and how much goes in there every month though. I'm pretty sure that's what results in better service. They used to be very explicit about the wealth levels at which you got improved service. Now it seems a lot more vague. But at some point, I crossed a threshhold that put me into a different category than just being Flagship.
There is a Flagship Select that's been discussed that kicks in at 5M and the benefits seem to parallel the prior Flagship.
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Re: Where should I move to from Vanguard?

Post by jebmke »

nyclon wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 4:11 pm The only dislike is fixable and likely will be fixed:
-the sms workaround to Yubikey. I want real 2FA.
If I could add one security feature it would be the account lock that Fidelity has that prevents an ACATS transfer.

With a SIM lock, I'm less concerned about sms 2FA.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.
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Watty
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Re: Where should I move to from Vanguard?

Post by Watty »

DonQuijote wrote: Mon Jan 23, 2023 12:35 pm I would particularly like to hear from former Vanguard customers who switched.
I was with Vanguard for maybe 20+ years and could go years between calling them.

Last September for lower value accounts they added the $20 a year charge for paper statements "per account" it was not clear just what they counted as an account.

As a family we had a Roth, 2 IRAs, and taxable account with them so it was not at all clear if the fee would be $20 or $80. $20 I could have lived with but there was no way that I was going to pay $80.

Getting all electronic statements was not a real option for us since my wife is less computer savy and would not be comfortable with that.

There was also very short notice of the new fee for paper statements, only around a month as I recall. The short notice also rubbed me the wrong way.

I tried calling them repeatedly to find out how much I would be charged but could not get through to a live person within a reasonable amount of time. Not being able to get through to a live person was the final straw for me.

I already had a different account with Fidelity so I set up the move of the accounts there which went smoothly and actually a lot quicker than I expected.

After the account transfer I did have one question for Fidelity and when I called I was talking to a live person within two minutes and the question I had was taken care of and I was off the phone within ten minutes.

I am very happy with Fidelity but I do not have any way to know how they compare to other brokerages.
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Re: Where should I move to from Vanguard?

Post by 260chrisb »

DonQuijote wrote: Mon Jan 23, 2023 12:35 pm I have been a Vanguard Flagship customer for over 20 years, with taxable, Roth, and Rollover IRA accounts. I seldom trade and have most of my assets in Vanguard ETFs. During most of that time, the customer service was superb. When I called, I could have a Flagship rep on the line in less than a minute; it usually wasn't my rep, but my questions were usually generic, and I had the choice of leaving a message for my rep to call back. The important part was that I could have a knowledgeable person on the phone promptly. I probably averaged calling two or three times a year, usually with simple questions. I also would have a longer conversation about goals and ways to reach them with my Flagship rep about once a year, usually on their initiative. Over the years, I enthusiastically recommended Vanguard to many people because of the high-quality service.

Things started to change a few years ago. There were more automated menus to navigate and longer waits on hold when I called. Things have continued to deteriorate. At first, both Vanguard reps and I attributed the change to the pandemic; now, they don't and I don't. Vanguard has obviously decided to downgrade service. Now, the automated menus have grown longer, the first person to answer seems to be nothing more than a receptionist who directs calls, and there are no longer any Flagship reps. It feels like calling a government office, not a financial institution that values me as a customer.

I have concluded that it's time to transfer my accounts to another company that cares more about the quality of their customer service. I solicit recommendations. I would appreciate having some detail about what is good and isn't about the service from other companies. I would particularly like to hear from former Vanguard customers who switched.

Thanks for any help.
Welcome to the forum. I don't know my friend; seems a guy can spend a lot of time looking for something perfect. What happens when Fidelity or whomever you go with suddenly doesn't care about customer service to your level of satisfaction? You've been there 20 years. Seems to me you could get answers to your generic questions more efficiently than calling their toll free line. I've been a customer for over 15 years and am yet to call them for anything. Bottom line; great company, great investment options, with perhaps less than great customer service. I've got a Fido HSA and have never called them either. I'm staying at Vanguard and wish you the best whatever you do.
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Re: Where should I move to from Vanguard?

Post by ScooterBob »

260chrisb wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 5:59 pm
DonQuijote wrote: Mon Jan 23, 2023 12:35 pm I have been a Vanguard Flagship customer for over 20 years, with taxable, Roth, and Rollover IRA accounts. I seldom trade and have most of my assets in Vanguard ETFs. During most of that time, the customer service was superb. When I called, I could have a Flagship rep on the line in less than a minute; it usually wasn't my rep, but my questions were usually generic, and I had the choice of leaving a message for my rep to call back. The important part was that I could have a knowledgeable person on the phone promptly. I probably averaged calling two or three times a year, usually with simple questions. I also would have a longer conversation about goals and ways to reach them with my Flagship rep about once a year, usually on their initiative. Over the years, I enthusiastically recommended Vanguard to many people because of the high-quality service.

Things started to change a few years ago. There were more automated menus to navigate and longer waits on hold when I called. Things have continued to deteriorate. At first, both Vanguard reps and I attributed the change to the pandemic; now, they don't and I don't. Vanguard has obviously decided to downgrade service. Now, the automated menus have grown longer, the first person to answer seems to be nothing more than a receptionist who directs calls, and there are no longer any Flagship reps. It feels like calling a government office, not a financial institution that values me as a customer.

I have concluded that it's time to transfer my accounts to another company that cares more about the quality of their customer service. I solicit recommendations. I would appreciate having some detail about what is good and isn't about the service from other companies. I would particularly like to hear from former Vanguard customers who switched.

Thanks for any help.
Welcome to the forum. I don't know my friend; seems a guy can spend a lot of time looking for something perfect. What happens when Fidelity or whomever you go with suddenly doesn't care about customer service to your level of satisfaction? You've been there 20 years. Seems to me you could get answers to your generic questions more efficiently than calling their toll free line. I've been a customer for over 15 years and am yet to call them for anything. Bottom line; great company, great investment options, with perhaps less than great customer service. I've got a Fido HSA and have never called them either. I'm staying at Vanguard and wish you the best whatever you do.
+1 I'm truly amazed how much people complain... I think it makes them feel important. My brother -in - law has a Fidelity account that I'm helping him with (stroke victim) and they are the worst. I wouldn't deal with them ever. The grass isn't always greener...
investor_power
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Re: Where should I move to from Vanguard?

Post by investor_power »

White Coat Investor wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 2:21 pm
MarkVH0518 wrote: Mon Jan 23, 2023 8:35 pm
White Coat Investor wrote: Mon Jan 23, 2023 6:14 pm For what it's worth, I'm getting better service from Vanguard than I ever have, but I also have a lot more money there these days than I used to so there is some kind of special team taking care of me. Not sure what amount of money you need there to be cared for by this team.
It's conceivable that you get high quality service from Vanguard because you give high quality investment advice to many with high incomes.
It's not that I resent that you get good service, and I certainly appreciate your advice.
It's just that the hurdle for others to get the same service from Vanguard might even be higher than you suppose in this post.

Mark
I don't think so. As far as I can tell, those who help me are not aware of my work with WCI or Bogleheads. They are aware of how much is in the account and how much goes in there every month though. I'm pretty sure that's what results in better service. They used to be very explicit about the wealth levels at which you got improved service. Now it seems a lot more vague. But at some point, I crossed a threshhold that put me into a different category than just being Flagship.
Out of curiosity can you give a ballpark on what the amount of Vanguard investments are where you get this type of service?
Last edited by investor_power on Tue Jan 24, 2023 6:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
bearcub
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Re: Where should I move to from Vanguard?

Post by bearcub »

About 25 years ago I had everything at Muriel Siebert. Excellent service. My job switched to Vanguard 401Ks. Near retirement I just transfered everything to Vanguard to keep it simple. I have no complaints about either of the two.
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Cheez-It Guy
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Re: Where should I move to from Vanguard?

Post by Cheez-It Guy »

I think many people want or require affirmation of their choices and want to feel like they are on a "winning team" in addition to some that have the need to feel treated specially. That's why these threads often become tribal with the usual suspects on all sides. The same people give the same feedback always.

I appreciate that Vanguard is mostly egalitarian and rewards those who help themselves. Almost everyone is equally punished as well when they make a strategic decision. I like that for the most part people with millions of dollars have to wait in line with the plebeians. It's also kind of comical when someone gets haughty and decides to bounce for reasons amounting to not being made to feel as important as they think they are. Happened just last week.
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Re: Where should I move to from Vanguard?

Post by nalor511 »

ScooterBob wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 6:28 pm
+1 I'm truly amazed how much people complain... I think it makes them feel important. My brother -in - law has a Fidelity account that I'm helping him with (stroke victim) and they are the worst. I wouldn't deal with them ever. The grass isn't always greener...
I'd take live chat over no live chat any day of the week.
backpacker61
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Re: Where should I move to from Vanguard?

Post by backpacker61 »

I've invested with Vanguard for a little over 30 years. Back then, I would write a paper check, fill out a Vanguard investment slip, put it in an envelope and drop it in the mail.

I had a lot of telephone interaction with Vanguard a few years ago, following the death of the last of my parents. I needed to consolidate their investments into one brokerage account before splitting the assets among the beneficiaries. The representatives were all very helpful, and walked me through the online forms and using Docusign. The distribution of securities among the beneficiaries went pretty smoothly.

I later consolidated more of my assets there, including a security that I'd owned in paper certificate form for several decades.

I have an account with Fidelity also, and don't have complaints about them. I prefer Vanguard's municipal bond funds, though.
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goldendad
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Re: Where should I move to from Vanguard?

Post by goldendad »

For various reasons I have accounts at Schwab, Fidelity, and Vanguard. I really haven't had a bad experience at any of them. Wait time are usually less than 10 mins or so. If I had to pick one it would be Schwab. I prefer their website.
jms
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Re: Where should I move to from Vanguard?

Post by jms »

I too grew weary of Vanguard's lack of customer service. A year ago I transferred 3 IRAs & a taxable account to Fidelity. ACATs transfer was flawless. Since then I've called Fido ~3 times for various things and the service was quick and high quality. And they take online security seriously which I don't think Vanguard ever has. Couldn't be happier with the switch.
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Squirrel208
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Re: Where should I move to from Vanguard?

Post by Squirrel208 »

This thread appears to be ripe for closure after wandering into the proverbial weeds. The original question posed was inquiry regarding Vanguard Flagship service vs. competitive offerings.
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