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Choosing broker
Old 02-28-2015, 03:02 PM   #1
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Choosing broker

Which is best choice if plans are to transfer IRA and invest all in Vanguard Index ETFs; no online investing experience:

Fidelity--already have an account there, but absolutely no confidence in advisor (2nd one in 6 months). However, I can get $2,500 bonus to move $$ there. Somewhat familiar with their website.

Vanguard--have heard nothing but good about them, talked to rep on phone who was very helpful, but would not be my actual rep.

Plan is to invest and hold for the long term.
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Old 02-28-2015, 03:09 PM   #2
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By "broker" are you asking which firm to choose or how to choose a paid advisor?

I'm very happy with Fidelity but I don't have an advisor there. I make my own decisions so I see no need to pay for advice.

If you're looking for a paid advisor at either firm, I'm not sure why; there's plenty of good information about mixes of ETFs you can choose, based on your risk tolerance. All you have to do is rebalance periodically. I have a paid advisor on my major account at Morgan Stanley but the folks here will tell you it's a foolish waste of money. The value of our investments have gone up 7% since I retired in May despite the fact that we've been withdrawing money and not saving a dime, so I'm hesitant to change what works!
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Old 02-28-2015, 03:21 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silverlocks View Post
Which is best choice if plans are to transfer IRA and invest all in Vanguard Index ETFs; no online investing experience:
If you know what your going to invest in and just looking for who to use as the custodian... and you want to invest in vanguard index ETF... I would think this would be a no brainer.. use vanguard since they don't charge commissions to by their ETFs.

If you need an advisor... then I'd wonder how you already know what you want to invest in... not that I have any issue vanguard ETFs.

There are many good ETFs out there... both at vanguard and other houses.
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Old 02-28-2015, 03:46 PM   #4
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I wasn't clear enough...I meant which firm to go with. I am NOT looking for a paid advisor. Anywhere or anytime! I feel I have been ripped off both times I did fee-based paid advisor.

For $2,500 bonus at Fidelity, I could pay many $7.95 trade fees to buy Vanguard. Should not be big expense trading since I plan to buy and hold.

Guess it boils down to ....$2,500 bonus for poorer customer service, but won't be used much. Or no bonus, better customer service.
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Old 02-28-2015, 04:01 PM   #5
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as I said.. If you know what you want to buy and they are vanguard etfs.. then go with vanguard.

I've had better service from Fidelity than vanguard... that is my experience. YMMV
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Old 02-28-2015, 06:09 PM   #6
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I think several brokerage firms have a list of ETFs that are commission free. My only experience is with TD Ameritrade which allows trading of many Vanguard ETFs for free. I also buy individual stocks and prefer TD Ameritrade overall. Several years ago I did use Vanguard for my Roth but did not like the brokerage interface. I think TDA is also currently offering up to $2500 to add funds or open a new account.

If you already had online experience with Fidelity, I would say that might be a consideration but sounds like that is not the case.
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Old 02-28-2015, 06:18 PM   #7
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I have mutual funds at both Fidelity and at Vanguard, although only at Vanguard I have Flagship benefits. Vanguard has the reputation of being the low cost index fund leader, while Fidelity has a bit higher costs with actively managed funds. I think Fidelity's customer service is no less than Vanguard.
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Old 02-28-2015, 06:30 PM   #8
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I hold Vanguard funds through 401k so no direct contact. I use Fidelity for some managed funds but more iShares ETFs, and individual equities.

Gotta tell you I think highly of my Fidelity guy, he's never pitched anything, he helped me see how I could retire a year earlier. Phone customer service second to none. You never know.
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Old 02-28-2015, 07:26 PM   #9
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I have consolidated all investments except residual employment plans at Vanguard. I'll have my company plans all but emptied in two months. I have an online checking account left at Etrade that I use for traveling and a local bank savings and checking accounts.

I found that I prefer the Vanguard mutual funds over ETFs for the ease of dividend reinvestment. You can't get Admiral shares through Etrade. I don't know about getting them through Fidelity.
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Old 03-01-2015, 11:58 AM   #10
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Several years ago I decided to consolidate our accounts at one online brokerage. I researched extensively on the web (including this forum and others), read probably hundreds of reviews, called and spoke to someone at each firm, and ultimately decided that Fidelity was the best match for my DIY/buy&hold needs. Schwab was a very close second, with E-Trade third. Vanguard was no where on the list, mainly due to the very poor reviews of VBS (Vanguard Brokerage Services), and when I called them to clarify some things, the rep couldn't answer many of my questions, which were mainly about the logistics and timing of transferring my accounts.

My portfolio consists almost entirely of Vanguard and iShares index ETFs; no Fidelity mutual funds. If my plan was to own only Vanguard mutual funds, then Vanguard would probably make most sense. Otherwise, I think it is wise to think carefully about your criteria and then research which firm best meets those needs. For most buy & hold investors, commissions will not be high on the list of criteria.
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Old 03-01-2015, 04:46 PM   #11
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I have accounts with both Vanguard and Fidelity. Was Flagship at Vanguard until I transferred chunk to Fidelity for a cash incentive. Was and am at Private Client status at Fido.
That being said, I find Vanguard primary and almost sole priority is cost minimization. For a buy and hold, and mutual fund client, they make a good choice, otherwise, the value proposition at Fidelity is much superior IMHO.
For example, at Vanguard many of their funds are subject to trading restrictions which bars repurchase in 90 days if you make a sale. This a major irritant for me when I am trying to manage gains and losses to stay in the 15% bracket. If I need to make a sale in one of these funds, no matter the size, I can not replace in less than 90 days. If you sell ETF's you will find execution can be an issue unless it is one of their funds. In the world of ETFs, V clearly has the lead in low expenses. If you are interested in TOTAL RETURN, than do some 1,3,5,10 year comparison with other top ETF providers and you will find V's ETFS are routinely out-performed.
At Fidelity I have never had an unresolved customer service issue. Do they screw up? Yes but they do a far better and more expeditious job of fixing than I have ever experienced at Vanguard. Vanguard reps ONLY seem to know the answers listed in their computers. I have never experienced effective problem solving by any of them. In contrast, when I have a need of something out of the norm, I experience effective listening and action from my Fido rep--even when I am talking with the "first available Private Client rep".
When I sent a letter to Vanguard VP of Client Services (titled: Why I will never be Flagship again") just after moving the bulk of my balances, I noted the record of customer services "failures". I was surprised to get a response that "yes" V did have an opportunity to "listen" better to client needs and explain V policies.
I can buy and have V EFTs in my Fido account for the same 7.95 as any other EFT. As poster 2B noted in an earlier posting, the EFT is same as an Admiral mutual fund. BTW, you can not hold Admiral funds or buy them at Fidelity but the EFT is so much better plus you get the convenience of selling at any intra day price and NO restrictions on your future trading.
This Fido vs Vanguard debate is a common one on the Forum so you can search and find multiple threads with a variety of experiences to guide your decision.
My conclusion is if you care only about cost than V is your choice. BUT, if you make your decision based on the total value of the offerings and services, than Fido clearly offers the better option in my experience at least.
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Old 03-01-2015, 07:08 PM   #12
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I use fidelity, they provide a person given account size. I do talk with them every 6 months to a year, but I don't pay anything for that and use ETF like vanguard VTI extensively. Beyond the $2,500 they will pay you, ask for 100 free trades for your account. They do that and while trades are minimal expense, free is even better. Fidelity has a good online system for managing, reports and tax info for turbotax. All good, wish you luck


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Old 03-01-2015, 07:37 PM   #13
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The no-commission ETFs at TDAmeritrade come with a couple of minor catches:

1. One must sign up for them.
2. They really are not for trading in that if one sells any shares of the ETF within 30 days of a previous purchase, then there is a $20 commission which is like a retroactive $10 commission and a $10 commission to sell.

Fortunately, a purchase from automatically re-invested dividends does not appear to count towards the limitation in point 2.
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Old 03-01-2015, 07:55 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silverlocks View Post
I wasn't clear enough...I meant which firm to go with. I am NOT looking for a paid advisor. Anywhere or anytime! I feel I have been ripped off both times I did fee-based paid advisor.

For $2,500 bonus at Fidelity, I could pay many $7.95 trade fees to buy Vanguard. Should not be big expense trading since I plan to buy and hold.

Guess it boils down to ....$2,500 bonus for poorer customer service, but won't be used much. Or no bonus, better customer service.
Ripped off by a paid adviser? Sounds like whoever you went to broke the law. When you PAY someone for advise they should have a fiduciary duty to you.
Fiduciaries are the good guys. Brokers are the bad guys who don't legally work for you and WILL sell you expensive crap.
I hope by "broker" you mean "deep discount brokerage". If so then I recommend AmeriTrade, E Trade or Scottrade. All of them should charge less than $10 per trade and not give advice.
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