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Old 10-17-2013, 09:41 PM   #21
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I never had any problems with Vanguard's web site, I've been with them for 25 years. I'm not a frequent trader, I don't need any handholding, and I'm happy there.
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Old 10-18-2013, 09:54 AM   #22
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I never had any problems with Vanguard's web site, I've been with them for 25 years. I'm not a frequent trader, I don't need any handholding, and I'm happy there.
+1, and I am completely happy with Vanguard too (about 10 years with them), but I am a full on DIY investor.

But IME Vanguard's tools are mediocre at best **, and their reps are less than knowledgeable/helpful outside the most basic asset allocations and generic questions (you won't get much more than the info you find online anyway). The few times I have asked questions (not basic, but not that esoteric either), no rep has ever had an answer, had to get back to me, and the "answer" was pretty useless.

For DIY investors OR folks who are willing to just follow Vanguard's recommendations without a lot of questions, Vanguard is great. For people who need a lot of handholding, I'd think Vanguard would be very limited. And handholding is not free, you should expect to pay (fees) for that kind of service.

** I was with Fidelity for more than 10 years before Vanguard, and their tools were much better even way back then! Fidelity reps sold harder than Vanguard, but most weren't that knowledgeable at Fidelity either vs Vanguard IME.
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Old 10-18-2013, 10:51 AM   #23
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I have been with Fidelity for over 20 years, and have generally been very happy with them. However, about 18 months ago I asked to speak with a financial advisor who I was supposed to have free access to due to having a minimum amount invested to be entitled to this service. I ended up scheduling about four sessions with him, each going for about 45 minutes. I found the guy to be friendly enough, but he would pontificate endlessly about a lot of nothing and gave me no real advice. On the fourth session, he introduced me to Portfolio Advisory Services, where they offered to manage my investment for me for a fee of about 1.35%.

It was on that session that I really started to feel like I was being slimed. The guy was very slick and fast talking. He said he would manage my money based on tax efficiency, which included buying and selling funds on average once every nine months. Looking back, I have no idea how he was going to save me on taxes by generating so many buy/sell transactions, which would ultimately create excessive capital gains. Maybe he was planning on making some really bad decisions, and generating capital losses? That would have saved me on my taxes...I guess.

It was after that experience that I began reading more about index investing, and ultimately ended up with Vanguard. In reality, I could have easily stayed with Fidelity and purchased their low cost index funds. The only reason I did not is nobody at Fidelity ever mentioned them to me or suggested I consider them. So ultimately, that cost them most of my business.

In reading about other people's experiences, it seems clear that our views toward brokerage firms can be formed almost exclusively from the experience of one or two people who we interacted with at these firms. So of course we are going to see a wide variation in satisfaction levels here. I'm sure both firms have some great people, and some mediocre ones. The key is to rely more on the advice given by the members of this forum, the Bogleheads forum, or other forums that you find useful. And use the reps at these firms for mostly administrative functions, and not so much for expecting useful advice.
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Old 10-18-2013, 11:26 AM   #24
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Thanks for all the responses. I went to the Fidelity office today and they are going to initiate the transfer next week. I sent an e-mail to my former FA. Initially I am going to transfer everything into NTF ETF's and then transfer into funds at a later time. I am not a complete newbie as I have managed my taxable and Roth accounts for the last 7 years.

They asked me about transferring in kind. If they did that, would they charge you per fund because they are not funds they offer NTF? I was just planning on starting from scratch. If I could get them T-I-K at no fee, I would consider that. As one poster replied this feels very liberating!!
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Old 10-18-2013, 12:06 PM   #25
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Congratulations on making the leap to Fidelity....I don't think you'll regret it!
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Old 10-18-2013, 12:13 PM   #26
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Without knowing what your current and proposed holdings are (your prerogative), it's hard to answer your question. I know I wanted to take advantage of transfer in kind for as many of our holdings as possible to avoid a large tax hit from selling old funds/stocks and buying new. I assume that's why Fidelity is asking, the tax consequences are probably substantial for you, and not to be taken lightly.

As you probably know, you can transfer in kind some or all funds/stocks that qualify and sell and buy funds later on your own schedule to manage the tax bite over more than one year, and maybe take advantage of offsetting capital gains and losses, you don't have to do it all at once...

And you need to make these decisions before transfers begin, there are no "do-overs." The tax consequences are permanent once transactions take place.
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Old 10-18-2013, 12:31 PM   #27
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Without knowing what your current and proposed holdings are (your prerogative), it's hard to answer your question. I know I wanted to take advantage of transfer in kind for as many of our holdings as possible to avoid a large tax hit from selling old funds/stocks and buying new. I assume that's why Fidelity is asking, the tax consequences are probably substantial for you, and not to be taken lightly.

As you probably know, you can transfer in kind some or all funds/stocks that qualify and sell and buy funds later on your own schedule to manage the tax bite over more than one year, and maybe take advantage of offsetting capital gains and losses, you don't have to do it all at once...

And you need to make these decisions before transfers begin, there are no "do-overs." The tax consequences are permanent once transactions take place.
Excellent advice!
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Old 10-18-2013, 12:38 PM   #28
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They asked me about transferring in kind. If they did that, would they charge you per fund because they are not funds they offer NTF?
Dude, this calls for radical action! Ask them.

Ha
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Old 10-18-2013, 02:08 PM   #29
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I transferred most of my funds from Fidelity to Vanguard last year. I was assigned a financial advisor who is available any time I have questions. I have done several financial plans with him and found him to be very helpful. He confirmed my decisions to invest in index funds with extremely low fees, like the Vanguard Domestic Index Fund and Vanguard International Index Fund.

And most importantly, I never paid a cent for his services. They were provided free of charge for maintaining a minimum balance with Vanguard. I'm amazed at people who pay 1% or greater of their net worth each year for something available completely free at Vanguard. I believe the minimum you need to have to access these services is $500K, so a relatively modest minimum threshold.
Is anyone else worried about keeping all of their retirement $ with one single institution? Sure VG is a well-known and well-trusted institution, been around long time, etc., but after Madoff, et al, does anyone else have misgivings about trusting any single entity with the whole kitty?
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Old 10-18-2013, 02:25 PM   #30
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Is anyone else worried about keeping all of their retirement $ with one single institution? Sure VG is a well-known and well-trusted institution, been around long time, etc., but after Madoff, et al, does anyone else have misgivings about trusting any single entity with the whole kitty?
Sure. There are inherent risks in everything and people often worry about it. Personally I think the risk is small enough that the convenience outweighs it but others feel differently.

Here's just one of many discussions over at Bogleheads on the subject.....

Bogleheads • View topic - All my eggs in one basket?
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Old 10-18-2013, 02:36 PM   #31
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Is anyone else worried about keeping all of their retirement $ with one single institution? Sure VG is a well-known and well-trusted institution, been around long time, etc., but after Madoff, et al, does anyone else have misgivings about trusting any single entity with the whole kitty?
I use two institutions and it works for me. Both are major Canadian banks and are among the 10 strongest in the world (at least according to Bloomberg). If they failed, we would all have a lot more to worry about. I have invested with other firms in the past but I would never entrust my money to a private firm led by an individual.

The World's Strongest Banks: The World's Strongest Banks - Bloomberg
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Old 10-18-2013, 03:24 PM   #32
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Is anyone else worried about keeping all of their retirement $ with one single institution? Sure VG is a well-known and well-trusted institution, been around long time, etc., but after Madoff, et al, does anyone else have misgivings about trusting any single entity with the whole kitty?
As you might imagine, that's a topic that's been discussed here many times. Just one example All the eggs in one basket? all the typical POVs usually come up.

Many hold all their assets in one place for the convenience and often lower costs associated with a larger $ portfolio. There are lots of safeguards.

Many others spread their assets around to protect themselves.

Ultimately it's what YOU are comfortable with given the tradeoffs.

What happened with Madoff's clients doesn't enter in the decision in any way for most though...
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Old 10-18-2013, 08:45 PM   #33
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Is anyone else worried about keeping all of their retirement $ with one single institution? Sure VG is a well-known and well-trusted institution, been around long time, etc., but after Madoff, et al, does anyone else have misgivings about trusting any single entity with the whole kitty?
Vanguard safety - Bogleheads
That article explains Vanguard structure, which is not a single entity.
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Old 10-19-2013, 03:35 AM   #34
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Dude, this calls for radical action! Ask them.

Dude, sarcasm acknowledged. Thanks for contributing.
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Old 10-19-2013, 04:23 AM   #35
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I'm late to this discussion, but I did the same thing a number of years ago. FA (a "friend" from my church) was doing some crazy things that I did not agree with. I called TRP and they yanked the whole thing for me. I notified the FA after the transfer was underway. He was ticked, but hey - it's my money! Never looked back. And as others have said, it was sooooooooooo liberating.
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Old 10-19-2013, 08:32 AM   #36
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But IME Vanguard's tools are mediocre at best **, and their reps are less than knowledgeable/helpful outside the most basic asset allocations and generic questions (you won't get much more than the info you find online anyway). The few times I have asked questions (not basic, but not that esoteric either), no rep has ever had an answer, had to get back to me, and the "answer" was pretty useless.
Agree 1000%...........

Quote:
For DIY investors OR folks who are willing to just follow Vanguard's recommendations without a lot of questions, Vanguard is great. For people who need a lot of handholding, I'd think Vanguard would be very limited. And handholding is not free, you should expect to pay (fees) for that kind of service.
100% true.......
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