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Vanguard customer service

edited August 2019 in Fund Discussions
The Big "V" looks more and more attractive to me, looking to start some ancillary accounts. I've heard their customer service leaves a lot to be desired. What have you all encountered in this regard? Thanks. Of course, the low fees can't be beat, and their funds are always consistent performers.


  • Vanguard works best for those who self-serve from their website and don't rely on phoning in for 'support'. If that is YOU .... Vanguard works great!
  • I have three accounts at Vanguard because I hold Vanguard funds in them. I think their funds are fine. I've tried their brokerage services and I've found them frankly subpar compared to, say, Schwab, where I also have an account. Vanguard's customer service is dicier than Schwab's (and I can always walk into a Schwab branch if I have a real issue), and the Vanguard website and trading platform pales in comparison to Schwab's, in my estimation. If I could hold my Vanguard assets at Schwab or Fidelity I probably would.
  • @sfnative- Also a SF native (my wife too!) I agree with your evaluation of the Schwab setup. I went with Schwab because their West Portal office is one block away. We walk past it all the time but other than the original setup have not actually had to go in, because we've had no problems to speak of.
  • I've been investing long enough that I've had problems with most places I've used. It just comes with the territory. Usually it's not particularly egregious and is readily resolved, albeit not without some effort on my part.

    Schwab - my office is three blocks from me. I walked in a form because I wanted them to look it over to confirm that everything was correct. After I left, they proceeded to fax one side of the pages to their back office and shredded the original. I subsequently got a call from Schwab saying that half of the pages were missing. Of course they were - they'd only faxed half and destroyed the rest. I had to fill out new forms.

    Vanguard - I own a closed fund in both my T-IRA and my Roth. The first time I tried to do a partial conversion it took me an hour on the phone with them. They weren't clear that I could move the shares to the Roth because I wasn't opening a new account. Next year, similar problem. I finally had them make a notation on my account that this was permitted.

    I'm now using them for some MMFs. A minor annoyance here is that they won't let you pull money from another institution (e.g. your bank). Instead you have to push from Vanguard. That disrupts my normal usage pattern, but I live with it.
  • ....Taking all of this in..... I'd be keeping it simple, buying into just one or two OEFs.
  • @msf: You said. 'I'm now using them for some MMFs. A minor annoyance here is that they won't let you pull money from another institution (e.g. your bank). Instead you have to push from Vanguard. That disrupts my normal usage pattern, but I live with it. " Could you please put that anther way ?
    Thanks Derf
  • If I want to move money into or out of my Vanguard account, I have to initiate the transfer at Vanguard. I cannot have another institution initiate the transfer.

    My preference is to initiate all transfers (in and out) and all bill pays at a central institution. That makes it easier for me to track. It also means that regardless of where I want to move money to or from, I know I can do it from a single place.

    Here's a Bogleheads thread on how Vanguard restricts ACH transfers from an external account:

    And how to set up ACH transfers that you initiate from the Vanguard side:
  • Wow, this makes Fido and ML / BoA sound like models of enlightened efficiency as to $ movements.
  • It is true that while Merrill Lynch invented cash management accounts (CMAs) 42 years ago, Vanguard takes the opposite approach and focuses strictly on brokerage services. It was just three weeks ago that it discontinued its Vanguard Advantage CMA service. A service that it only offered to Voyager Select ($500K+) customers for $30/year and to Flagship ($1M+) customers for free.

    But I wouldn't get too excited about Merrill Edge. This is a brokerage that sometimes sweeps free cash into a 0.05% APR bank account (Vanguard pays 2.11% on its VMFXX settlement fund), and sometimes just leaves the cash siting in the brokerage earning 0.00%. Even when it pays that paltry interest on the sweep money, it deposits that interest back into the 0% brokerage account where it may sit earning nothing. (What other bank refuses to credit interest on an account directly to the account that earned the interest?)
  • @msf: Thanks for clarification on moving money between accounts. I believe Schwab operates the same way as Vanguard, although I wouldn't bet on that. Can anyone set me straight on the money movement at Schwab ?
  • I have a link set up where I can use an external account to push/pull money from Schwab Bank. It looks like I never set up a link from outside to a Schwab brokerage account. I don't know if that's because I couldn't do it or because I didn't need it.

    (I almost never move money to or from Schwab, except to fund the bank account. I used that bank account for its ATM card - worldwide access with no foreign transaction fee and surcharge rebates.)

    So long as an account provides checks, one can usually set up a link from an external account, using the routing and account numbers off the check.
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