Originally Posted by photoguy
Re: TD Ameritrade. If you go to the link and look at the numbers vanguard is actually cheaper than Ameritrade on an ongoing basis. ....
Trades for Vanguard ETFs at TDAmeritrade are commission free. We have had an account at TDAmeritrade nee TDWaterhouse for almost 2 decades. We have not paid any fees in quite some time, so I am not seeing how TDAmeritrade extracts money from me. We do not keep any cash with them (cash sweep accounts are a source of money due to interest-rate differentials).
We are also not traders. We haven't sold anything in a number of years in these accounts (we rebalance in our 401(k)s). So just because commission-free Vanguard ETFs are available does not turn one into a trader.
On the WellsTrade/PMA deal, one needs to be aware that they will no longer offer free trades to new customers who sign up after April 1st. Previous customers will be grandfathered into still having free trades. This does not bother me as we have had a WellsTrade/PMA account even before there were free trades there because at the time, the trades were under $5.
Fidelity has very decent Spartan Advantage class index funds, but they do not appear to be as tax efficient as Vanguard funds. This would not be a problem if held in a tax-advantaged account. Fidelity has no-commission ETFs in the form of a number of iShares ETFs, too.
Now as I wrote previously, Vanguard is a good company, we have assets there as well, but when I compare these places nowadays, Vanguard does not come out on top.
The beauty of all this is that one should be able to find what they need in a cost-less, fee-less platform. And we are comparing apples-to-apples since I am writing about Vanguard products at all these places (except Fidelity).
And to touch base again on the thread topic: I don't think Flagship gives one any useful perks other than to casually mention that one has Flagship status on message boards.