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The website is atrocious. I'm won't go into details. Suffice to say that people who complain about Vanguard's website likely haven't yet had the "pleasure" of dealing with TIAA's. And you won't know what funds you can buy through the IRA brokerage window until you actually open an account.
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TIAA Eligibility https://www.tiaa.org/public/pdf/eligibility_flyer_external.pdf
TIAA Products https://www.tiaa.org/public/invest/financial-products
"The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. found that from November 2019 to September 2020, Vanguard Marketing Corp. miscalculated the estimated annual yield and annual income for nine money market funds on approximately 8.5 million account statements, according to the Finra order posted Thursday."
"The firm failed to update the yield data due to 'a technical issue where newer information received through an automated data feed did not overwrite certain existing data,' which led to the yield and income projections being overstated."
"From October 2019 to March 2021, the firm received communications from 100 customers who pointed out miscalculations and other errors on their statements. It failed to investigate promptly, Finra said, but did correct the statements after finally looking into the problems."
"Brokerage assets are held by Vanguard Brokerage Services, a division of Vanguard Marketing Corporation, member FINRA and SIPC."
Now the complaint about a marketing subsidiary makes more sense.
May be they were VG competitors who questioned the VG yields even after accounting for VG's low ER. VG shouldn't have much advantage pre-ER.
The errors that customers saw on their statements were not in reported 7 day SEC yields. Rather they were in "the estimated annual yield and annual income" figures provided to these customers.
If I paid any attention to estimated income on my statements, something I admittedly do only rarely, I certainly would have noticed a discrepancy of about 1.8%. Low ERs can only explain so much, as you said.
According to FINRA, the difference was between "an estimated yield of 1.87 percent for the Vanguard Federal Money Market Fund" and a correct estimated yield of around 0.06 percent.