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Service at Vanguard improving?
Old 11-03-2005, 02:47 PM   #1
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Service at Vanguard improving?

After doing a search I see this topic has been beat on at different times. Just looking for the latest input. Getting ready to switch from a full service broker (oh well) into Fidelity or Vanguard. Feels like a coin toss.

Vanguard- more choices, lower fees over the whole range (?)
Fidelity- better service

So has Vanguard service been improving lately or was it never really down?
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Re: Service at Vanguard improving?
Old 11-03-2005, 03:13 PM   #2
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Re: Service at Vanguard improving?

I am a Fidelity customer and I am satisfied enough to stay with them. Never had any problems. If you are planning on using Vanguard's funds anyway, then they are the obvious choice.*
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Re: Service at Vanguard improving?
Old 11-03-2005, 05:58 PM   #3
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Re: Service at Vanguard improving?

Long-time Vanguard customer and couldn't be happier. My experiences with Fidelity have been frustrating.
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Re: Service at Vanguard improving?
Old 11-03-2005, 06:37 PM   #4
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Re: Service at Vanguard improving?

At Vanguard the service is definitely better at the "Voyager" level. You get that at $250k invested (all family members count). There is a separate staff for Voyager clients with a higher level of training than the staff for "regular" acccounts. I had all kinds of trouble trying to get an account reregisterd for my father as he was not at the Voyager level. Then I called the Voyager customer service number and explained the problem and they took care of me immediately.

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Re: Service at Vanguard improving?
Old 11-03-2005, 07:00 PM   #5
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Re: Service at Vanguard improving?

Fidelity since 1986 and love it. Once I reached a certain value I got assigned a Vice President/Senior Account Executive and something called Private Access.

I can see her office window (in the John Hancock building) from my condo. My calls are directly to her desk.

Fidelity has been great for me.
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Re: Service at Vanguard improving?
Old 11-03-2005, 07:03 PM   #6
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Re: Service at Vanguard improving?

Dave
Have both Fidelity and Vanguard accounts. *Sit higher in the Fidelity food chain *(Gold) but manage my Mom's accounts which are at the Voyager level.
I personally found better online tools and access at Fidelity. *The web access is more robust and frankly more intuitive for me. *As a Gold level investor I get my stock transactions a lot cheaper than Vanguard.
When I have talked with Vanguard I just never seem to get quite the professionalism I get from the Fidelity staff. *I have had admin problems on my Mom;s account that got fixed but not without a lot of unnecessary effort. *When her husband died, and we rolled the accounts into her name only (they were joint with POD status), it took six months to get right.
I have not really had any admin problems from Fidelity and their Retirement Planning tools pretty much set the standard. *To the best of my knowledge Vanguard does not offer anything anything close to Fidelty Retirement Income Planner.
Encourage you to explore the web interfaces, and the tools and pick the ones the work most like you.
Either way the choice is not bad.
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Re: Service at Vanguard improving?
Old 11-04-2005, 07:11 AM   #7
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Re: Service at Vanguard improving?

So it still seems pretty split. Spent some time on the 2 web sites and it does feel like Fidelity has better online stuff (always hard to tell without live accounts) but the Vanguard fund choices still seem to come out slightly ahead (not always). We'd end up at the higher service level for either (Flagship-Private). I guess that means one person to work with who isn't fresh out of newbie training. Is it always the same person or do they tend to revolve a bit as well?

Curious which funds form the core of the Fidelity advocates out there? I assume you've done the Vanguard comparison and feel content where you are?
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Re: Service at Vanguard improving?
Old 11-04-2005, 07:34 AM   #8
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Re: Service at Vanguard improving?

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldAgePensioner

I can see her office window (in the John Hancock building) from my condo. My calls are directly to her desk.

Fidelity has been great for me.
Now put down those binoculars.
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Re: Service at Vanguard improving?
Old 11-04-2005, 08:58 AM   #9
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Re: Service at Vanguard improving?

Martha,
Every time I go for an appointment she asks about the rings around my eyes.

Just got off the phone with her and got answers to how to change my account to a Trust and how the check for my 401k should be made out. Her answers were:

1. I'll fill out the Trust paperwork and you just bring by the Trust cover and witness pages.
2. I'll call your 401k people and give them the proper Fidelity info.

That's why I like Fidelity, she (a VP) is doing all the work. I just sign.


I have nothing against Vanguard, just have never used them. They sound like a great choice also. I think you can't go wrong with either.
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Re: Service at Vanguard improving?
Old 11-04-2005, 09:20 AM   #10
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Re: Service at Vanguard improving?

Have accounts at both places, after tax at Vanguard and IRA with Fido.* I have not had to converse much with any employees at either place and the web sites are well, web sites. Both very easy to navigate and fairly intuitive. No problems with either institution.* You're right, it is a coin toss.*

BTW: The title VP doesn't mean much these days.
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Re: Service at Vanguard improving?
Old 11-04-2005, 10:52 AM   #11
 
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Re: Service at Vanguard improving?

Thumbs up for VG.
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Re: Service at Vanguard improving?
Old 11-04-2005, 11:05 AM   #12
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Re: Service at Vanguard improving?

Since nobody else has, I will put in a good word for Schwab. Reasonable prices, good service, and not too hard to escape unnecessary butt-kissing if you find it irritating (as I sometimes do). Only downside is that mutual fund access is not the equal of VG. Good for those who hold ETFs and equities, though.
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Re: Service at Vanguard improving?
Old 11-04-2005, 11:15 AM   #13
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Re: Service at Vanguard improving?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TargaDave
We'd end up at the higher service level for either (Flagship-Private).
For me a big consideration is fees for buying & selling mutual funds. At each of the two, there would be no transaction fee on their own funds. But for other funds (unless NTF) Fidelity charges $75 to buy, nothing to sell, and Vanguard $35 to buy or sell.
At Flagship, you get a bunch of free transactions per year. Not sure if they have to be stock transactions, or if they can be mutual fund transactions.

Another option is to use both. Enough to get to flagship in Vanguard, and rest in Fidelity. If it were me, I'd try to put my ETF's in Fidelity where that's cheap, and transaction fee mutual funds in Vanguard, assuming those can be the freebie transactions.
It can be nice to have two brokers, for example, to get real time quotes from both as a check on each other. If hold same securtity with both brokers, can also be a check of tax info, such as foreign tax credit. (Though should always verify that with the fund itself, in the annual report or website.)
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Re: Service at Vanguard improving?
Old 11-04-2005, 11:18 AM   #14
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Re: Service at Vanguard improving?

Yeah, but is it worth the trouble? I already get enough paper and stuff from the myriad accounts I have at one broker. Can't imagine what it would be like with two.
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Re: Service at Vanguard improving?
Old 11-04-2005, 11:24 AM   #15
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Re: Service at Vanguard improving?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lazyday
I'd try to put my ETF's in Fidelity where that's cheap
Actually, ETF trades would be $8 with either with large accounts, but if frebies can be mutual funds, wouldn't want to waste freebie on stock.

Brewer--Would be easier with one broker, I agree.
But if already need multiple accounts, Roth, T-ira, margin, can spread across two or even three brokers, if desired, for only a little more work.
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Re: Service at Vanguard improving?
Old 11-04-2005, 11:38 AM   #16
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Re: Service at Vanguard improving?

Quote:
For Flagship clients, no commissions will apply to the first 12 online trades in each calendar year for any combination of stocks (other than stocks priced less than $1 a share), options, or transaction-fee mutual funds. The number of trades is limited to 12 per client, as identified by the primary Social Security number on the account.
http://flagship5.vanguard.com/VGApp/...eesContent.jsp

For me, this, and free trading of Vanguard funds, would strongly push me to Vanguard.

(I haven't used either broker, sorry can't comment on service. With big account, I'd expect good service with either, especially Fidelity. Would trust Vanguard to care more about my interests though. Fidelity would care, to protect a profit source, but would IMO be much more happy to screw me for a dollar, if it can.)
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Re: Service at Vanguard improving?
Old 11-04-2005, 01:36 PM   #17
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Re: Service at Vanguard improving?

Quote:
Originally Posted by brewer12345
Yeah, but is it worth the trouble? I already get enough paper and stuff from the myriad accounts I have at one broker. Can't imagine what it would be like with two.
Definitely one account for us, though I have been trying to read up on these private insurers they use (CAPCO and Pershing) on top of SIPC. Hopefully we'll be reducing the number of holdings (stocks and funds) over time as well. If you saw the big mish-mosh we have now you'd cringe. I don't know that we could ever do a full Unclemick approach but something a little closer to it is our goal.

Fidelity told me they use a group of 8 people to act as backup to an assigned rep on a Private Access account and Vanguard said they use a backup group of 12 for Flagship (so the account isn't passed all over the place if a quick answer is needed and the assigned rep is tied up or not in). Otherwise they tell me I can leave a message and they supposedly get back pretty quickly, minus vacations. Sure seems pretty equivalent to me. Guess I'll let DW flip the coin.
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Re: Service at Vanguard improving?
Old 11-04-2005, 10:33 PM   #18
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Re: Service at Vanguard improving?

frayne, I take it that you have at least VP status ?
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Re: Service at Vanguard improving?
Old 11-05-2005, 11:24 PM   #19
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Re: Service at Vanguard improving?

I have generally felt I had good service at Vanguard (Flagship) and trust the organization to give me a fair shake and keep my fees low. Been with them 20 years +.

Negatives: They seemed to have a lot of issues wiring money to Canada, though they got the right expert to manually do it for me -- it took a couple days, though. Website can be a bit clunky to use -- lots of steps to do things, and not always obvious where. THis is the sort of stuff you probably can only know once you have accounts.

I very much like the "Cash Edge" feature that lets me load in all the other accounts/assets in various places which have web access (and manually enter those which don't) and thus get one consolidated position every day. Fidelity may have this, too, but it is a feature I find very handy at Vanguard.

Basically, as long as they don't lose my money or screw up the balances, I can more or less live with minor hassles if they arise. The staffers at Flagship all seem pretty on the ball, though, and I can't remember any material problems ever hitting me. (They did have a bunch of un-needed sub- accounts on my web display after they converted me to some Admiral funds this summer, but that is the sort of thing that I don't get riled up by -- others may react differently.)

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Re: Service at Vanguard improving?
Old 11-06-2005, 12:44 PM   #20
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Re: Service at Vanguard improving?

Fidelity has their "Full View" page that lets you link in accounts from other places. I have our Fidelity accounts, Schwab accounts, Checking account, and Credit card linked in Full View. Everything (assets + recent transactions) comes up on one page. Very handy!
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