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Vanguard Fit
Old 07-31-2008, 10:17 PM   #1
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Vanguard Fit

After today's interaction with a Vanguard Flagship rep, I have about decided that Vanguard and I are not made for each other. Perhaps the Board will weigh in if I am being too harsh.
Situation: I call in to verify what is required to sell specific lots of mutual fund to establish ST loss/gain. Also want to understand what "mechanism" will be used to establish the 1% redemption fee (Energy).
Rep says he is not sure and will have to call me back. Odd to me that a Flagship rep does not know the answer.
He calls back (the good) and proceeds to lecture me about average cost basis and importance of choosing and that once chosen have to live with for everything--WRONG (bad news). Actual IRS rule per Pub 564 is that your costing basis choice is tied to each fund not the "universe". On top of that bad advise, I have to drilll down on him to get the answer on the redemption fee which turns out to be simply FIFO (first in, first out). Every transaction starts with oldest and layers itself though purchase "layers" until it hits layers less than a year old when redemption fee is charged.

Am I unreasonable to expect a Flagship rep to be able to provide the correct answer without research? I am Private Access with Fidelity and have never come across any rep so poorly informed.
nwsteve
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Old 07-31-2008, 11:46 PM   #2
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I'm using wells fargo PMA for brokerage and roth accounts.. nice to hold vanguard funds / etfs there without dealing with vanguard directly.
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Old 08-01-2008, 12:02 AM   #3
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Wrong forum. Complain at www.bogleheads.org They have whole threads on the specific lot identification and how to get Vanguard to do your bidding.
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Old 08-01-2008, 06:51 AM   #4
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Am I unreasonable to expect a Flagship rep to be able to provide the correct answer without research?
You may have misunderstood his advice regarding individual funds vs. the universe. I can't believe that anyone would make that mistake.

I'm much happier for a rep to go get the right answer than confidently give a wrong one. What should a rep know? All I ask is that they know what they don't know, and take appropriate action.

We've had good luck with VG reps in my family, but we don't use them for technical info unless no other alternative is available.

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Old 08-01-2008, 06:52 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by nwsteve View Post
After today's interaction with a Vanguard Flagship rep, I have about decided that Vanguard and I are not made for each other. Perhaps the Board will weigh in if I am being too harsh.
Situation: I call in to verify what is required to sell specific lots of mutual fund to establish ST loss/gain. Also want to understand what "mechanism" will be used to establish the 1% redemption fee (Energy).
Rep says he is not sure and will have to call me back. Odd to me that a Flagship rep does not know the answer.
He calls back (the good) and proceeds to lecture me about average cost basis and importance of choosing and that once chosen have to live with for everything--WRONG (bad news). Actual IRS rule per Pub 564 is that your costing basis choice is tied to each fund not the "universe". On top of that bad advise, I have to drilll down on him to get the answer on the redemption fee which turns out to be simply FIFO (first in, first out). Every transaction starts with oldest and layers itself though purchase "layers" until it hits layers less than a year old when redemption fee is charged.

Am I unreasonable to expect a Flagship rep to be able to provide the correct answer without research? I am Private Access with Fidelity and have never come across any rep so poorly informed.
nwsteve
Why were you looking at Vanguard anyway? Just curious.
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Old 08-01-2008, 07:52 AM   #6
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I have always simply identified the specific lots when I did my taxes. My broker doesn't care or need to know which shares I am selling or redeeming.
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Old 08-01-2008, 08:40 AM   #7
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Uh, good luck with that. IIRC the IRS requires that you obtain and keep a document from the brokerage stating which lots were sold. I guess its not a problem unless you're audited.

Many brokerages have issues with selling specific lots. As far as vanguard goes, I've called them a bunch of times regarding a wide variety of issues. Always got the right answer in a timely manner and never had any major problems with them.
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Old 08-01-2008, 08:53 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by nwsteve View Post
After today's interaction with a Vanguard Flagship rep, I have about decided that Vanguard and I are not made for each other. Perhaps the Board will weigh in if I am being too harsh.
Situation: I call in to verify what is required to sell specific lots of mutual fund to establish ST loss/gain. Also want to understand what "mechanism" will be used to establish the 1% redemption fee (Energy).
Rep says he is not sure and will have to call me back. Odd to me that a Flagship rep does not know the answer.
He calls back (the good) and proceeds to lecture me about average cost basis and importance of choosing and that once chosen have to live with for everything--WRONG (bad news). Actual IRS rule per Pub 564 is that your costing basis choice is tied to each fund not the "universe". On top of that bad advise, I have to drilll down on him to get the answer on the redemption fee which turns out to be simply FIFO (first in, first out). Every transaction starts with oldest and layers itself though purchase "layers" until it hits layers less than a year old when redemption fee is charged.

Am I unreasonable to expect a Flagship rep to be able to provide the correct answer without research? I am Private Access with Fidelity and have never come across any rep so poorly informed.
nwsteve
Why would it be unreasonable? He's probably a glorified customer service rep!
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Old 08-01-2008, 08:59 AM   #9
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By the way, when I saw the thread title I thought that maybe vanguard had bought nintendo. And it seemed like good synergy.
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Old 08-01-2008, 10:13 AM   #10
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I guess its not a problem unless you're audited.
It's not a problem, even if audited, if you have kept your records and can show what you sold, the cost basis, and dates. A lot of times, your broker doesn't know your cost basis anyway. For example, I have transferred some stock, in kind, to a different broker and they don't know what I paid for the stock or when it was purchased.
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Old 08-01-2008, 10:16 AM   #11
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By the way, when I saw the thread title I thought that maybe vanguard had bought nintendo.
Maybe they can crank up production, or at least stop sending almost all of their product to Europe.
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Old 08-01-2008, 10:17 AM   #12
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Check with the IRS regs. They want a document from your broker specifying that they sold the specific lots. I dont make up the rules nor do I have much say in how they're applied.
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Old 08-01-2008, 10:18 AM   #13
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Maybe they can crank up production, or at least stop sending almost all of their product to Europe.
I've walked into stores and seen pallets of the things on several occasions and I wasnt even looking. Once at Target and just a couple of days ago at Costco.

Last I heard, they werent sending them here because due to the drop in the dollar, they make more money selling them in asia and europe. Their profit margins after the currency conversion to dollars is too small to bother sending many here.
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Old 08-01-2008, 10:39 AM   #14
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I'd prefer the correct answer over an immediate answer. If they called you back in a timely manner (which I would say within a few hours unless you called near close of business), then the service is adequate.

I know I have had issues for fidelity that required research and they were very good about calling me back the same day.
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Old 08-01-2008, 11:17 AM   #15
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Thanks to all for your comments and observations.
I have positions at Vanguard and find it helpful to confirm with reps anytime I want to do something other than buy. They always seem to have way more hoops to jump through than what I am accustomed to at Fidco
I agree it is best to have some research done to get the right answer vs being given a convenient wrong answer. HOWEVER, Flagship reps are suppose to be Vanguard's creme le creme folks for providing the highest standard of support. Yes he called back timely but on the other hand, the question was not complex other than confirming what approach is used by Vanguard and how to do online. (actually if you want to do specific lot sales, he insisted that it was best if you did it through a rep so their a formal recording and their records indicated the lot. Of course, only important if auditited) And given he "researched" the questions, why is it I still got a patently incorrect answer around costing basis for mutual funds??
Since my Vanguard positions are long term, rarely do I trade them. After they totally screwed up my Mom's account, I have been doubly careful with their administration as I recommend everyone be. Low fund costs are their forte'--adminstrative effectiveness is NOT.
nwsteve
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Old 08-01-2008, 11:22 AM   #16
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The one thing I will say is that sometimes a lot of stuff takes a lot more paperwork and tends to move more slowly than most other companies. I was really annoyed with it at first when I was used to doing things with ameritrade that involved little or no paperwork and executed instantaneously with the push of a button.

Along the way I realized that vanguard not only doesnt like quick and easy, they dont like people that want to flip things around a lot or do things fast. They're more into people who buy a set of investments and then leave them alone. Thats how they get the low costs and minimize churn in their funds.
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Old 08-01-2008, 11:46 AM   #17
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The one thing I will say is that sometimes a lot of stuff takes a lot more paperwork and tends to move more slowly than most other companies. I was really annoyed with it at first when I was used to doing things with ameritrade that involved little or no paperwork and executed instantaneously with the push of a button.

Along the way I realized that vanguard not only doesnt like quick and easy, they dont like people that want to flip things around a lot or do things fast. They're more into people who buy a set of investments and then leave them alone. Thats how they get the low costs and minimize churn in their funds.
What I was going to say but you said it better.

DD
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Old 08-01-2008, 02:10 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by cute fuzzy bunny View Post
The one thing I will say is that sometimes a lot of stuff takes a lot more paperwork and tends to move more slowly than most other companies. I was really annoyed with it at first when I was used to doing things with ameritrade that involved little or no paperwork and executed instantaneously with the push of a button.

Along the way I realized that vanguard not only doesnt like quick and easy, they dont like people that want to flip things around a lot or do things fast. They're more into people who buy a set of investments and then leave them alone. Thats how they get the low costs and minimize churn in their funds.
It took cajones' to say that on this forum, but it's true. As far as the comments made about a broker not knowing YOUR cost basis, well, that's a topic for a whole nuther thread.........
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Old 08-01-2008, 02:26 PM   #19
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Well, I think I have some cojones...hold on... ("honnneyyy?!?...")...

Yep. Its confirmed.

But I dont think it takes balls to say something like that here. I think a lot of people here like vanguard for their cheap access to good performing funds. I sure do. But if theres an actual problem with them I dont think anyones going to put them on a pedestal. Maybe at bogleheads or one of those sites you might get a 'true believer' on your case.

Funny thing in crossing stuff together. I see claims like this, or that you cant talk about annuities or that someone thinks someone else is picking on them or not being nice.

In the thread where we were talking about signs I mentioned that a lot of early retirees are INTJ's. I happened to read the description of INTJ's after that and the following piece popped out at me:

"INTJs can sometimes be seen in groups as unbending, although they often don’t see themselves as unwilling to change. They simply want data that would convince them to change their minds."

I think that sometimes people get a perception that this INTJ heavy 'group' has its mind made up and that certain topics are verboten. I think the truth is that a lot of this stuff has been talked through over and over, and until new data becomes available and is presented, a change of minds is unlikely to happen.

It also doesnt help when people make up their own facts or only want to look at the facts they like or the ones that support their predisposition...two things that are known to drive INTJ's up the wall.

Okay, back to your topic still in progress....
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Old 08-01-2008, 02:38 PM   #20
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FWIW I've had Fidelity reps lecture me on subjects in which they were, to put it politely, inadequately informed. But as I've elevated the discussion the right answer has always surfaced.

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I have positions at Vanguard and find it helpful to confirm with reps anytime I want to do something other than buy. They always seem to have way more hoops to jump through than what I am accustomed to at Fidco
Since my Vanguard positions are long term, rarely do I trade them.
Low fund costs are their forte'--adminstrative effectiveness is NOT.
Here's a thought: Transfer your Vanguard assets in kind to Fidelity. Fidelity will hold them at no fee and will sell them at no fee (subject to Vanguard's short-term fees). Of course if you want to buy more shares in a Vanguard fund you would pay Fidelity's transaction fee, but you could either do it via an equivalent ETF or buy through Vanguard and repeat the transfer-in-kind process.

For those of you complaining about specific shares, Fidelity's website tracks that info and allows them to be designated on sale. Assets transferred to Fidelity have to have the cost-basis info entered manually but after that it's tracked and available for that type of sale.

Every time I consider a Vanguard account I read somone's complaints about their bureacracy or their discouragement of service. It's a powerful deterrent...
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