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Fidelity or Vanguard
Old 07-23-2020, 07:22 PM   #1
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Fidelity or Vanguard

Hola from Ecuador (trapped on a REALLY long virus holiday, another story...)


I am thinking of consolidating my 3 brokerage accounts down to 2. Idea is to make it easier to manage my assets and have them in one place for quicker access when needed.



I am considering which to stay with - Fidelity or Vanguard. Fid is my preferred choice and kinda decided to move that direction for these reasons:


- Good service
- Free wires domestic and intl *

- Free WW ATM usage via fee rebate *

- Easy website to use
- Low cost trading (I don't do much though)
* very important


Brief search of VG didn't show the * features and I have less assets in there so it seems logical to consolidate with Fid.



So my question is: Does anyone have any ideas about why keeping the VG account open would make sense? Am I missing anything important about VG?



I have access to all VG Index funds via Fid and I don't do anything with VG other than check the balance regularly and get my 1099.
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Old 07-23-2020, 07:49 PM   #2
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I kept my Vanguard IRA account for the VG Admiral shares (Wellesley and Wellington funds) can not buy at FIDO.
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Old 07-23-2020, 08:08 PM   #3
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Ah, but you can move your Wellesley and Wellington funds to FIDO. I kept mine and reinvested the dividends. Fidelity Balanced is a good alternate choice.

I have had both and have been frustrated with Vanguard's practicates re survivor options. I like Fidelity because I can easily bring in my DD as an authorized representative, we can all go to their office together and get that paperwork done. When I represented my Mother (now long gone) they handled her account professionally. The fractional advantage of Vanguard is less important than Fidelity's customer service at this stage in my life (80+).
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Old 07-23-2020, 08:23 PM   #4
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I kept my Vanguard IRA account for the VG Admiral shares (Wellesley and Wellington funds) can not buy at FIDO.
I think that is not the case any more. At Schwab anyway I can now buy Admiral.
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Old 07-23-2020, 08:53 PM   #5
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Old 07-23-2020, 10:11 PM   #6
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Both are great companies with many, many clients. Fidelity has the specific services you want so consolidating there makes sense to me. In some of these discussions of consolidation, folks will suggest keeping assets split between at least two companies to avoid any potential issues of having all your eggs in one basket. I personally believe risks are low enough I am consolidating all to Vanguard.
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Old 07-24-2020, 02:15 AM   #7
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Use both. Prefer Fidelity.
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Old 07-24-2020, 06:37 AM   #8
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Fidelity.

I also use both, but will eventually move my Wellington shares to Fidelity, as I don't want my kids to have to deal with Vanguard when I die. The reps at both companies are very polite; the difference is that the reps at Fidelity are polite, helpful, and knowledgeable whereas the reps at Vanguard are usually polite and clueless (and occasionally seem stupid - maybe they are just required to read a dumb script).

My mother died in May and left most of her assets in equal shares to her five children. This included IRA accounts at both Vanguard and Fido. The Fidelity process was seamless, all paperwork done completely online and the money was moved into my inherited IRA account two days after it was established. Vanguard, by contrast, makes it impossible to do this all online and requires telephone numerous conversations with their "associates" all of whom act like they have never done this (distribute an IRA account to multiple beneficiaries) before. This is, sadly, consistent with my Vanguard experience in 2014 on the death of my father. His IRA was set up the same way, distribute in equal shares to five beneficiaries. Vanguard, after months of unexplained delay, distributed the entire account to one of my brothers. "Simple human error" was the only explanation we ever got, but it took additional months to get it straightened out -- all in all, close to a year. "Vanguardian" has become a word we siblings use to describe previously unimagined levels of incompetence.

The nano-second that IRA money hits my account it's moving to Fidelity. My mother, who grew up very poor and was extremely thrifty, had a strong attachment to low-cost financial institutions with terrible customer service. I do not.
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Old 07-24-2020, 07:16 AM   #9
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Fido all the way!
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Old 07-24-2020, 07:34 AM   #10
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I have all my holdings with VG because Fido didn’t/doesn’t have all the funds I wanted. I’ve held investments with VG, Fido and Schwab and they’re all good. Fido has more services than VG, so if Fido has all the funds you need or expect to need, no reason not to stay with Fido IMO. The decision should always be driven by who has the funds you want first IMO, not pick an investment house and then choose from available funds. YMMV
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Old 07-24-2020, 07:46 AM   #11
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Yes, fund driven vs firm driven makes a lot of sense.
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Old 07-24-2020, 08:29 AM   #12
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...The decision should always be driven by who has the funds you want first IMO, not pick an investment house and then choose from available funds. YMMV
That's really not a factor at all in my thinking. We house everything at Fidelity for the better website, excellent DIY tools and customer service. But half of what we own are Vanguard ETFs. For index investing, you can own almost anything you want and house it wherever you want at ultra-low cost, or zero in some cases. So for me, the decision does not start with what I want to own. It starts with who has the better platform and customer service for my DIY style of investing.
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Old 07-24-2020, 08:31 AM   #13
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I use both. I'll never have everything at one providers datacenter. Stuff happens.
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Old 07-24-2020, 08:33 AM   #14
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I donít want to hijack the O P but I have a related question.

Is Fid easier to get a transfer in kind done? I did one years ago with VG and it was a pain.

I am planning on losing my TDA financial advisor.

Thanks!
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Old 07-24-2020, 08:40 AM   #15
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Yes, fund driven vs firm driven makes a lot of sense.
I agree completely -- in principle. But VG funds are now all Admiral class/lowest fees, and most are available from both Fido and Schwab.

The other thing is that there is little to choose from among the more vanilla funds like total US market, international market, etc. You can plot them all at PortfolioVisualizer and see almost perfect correlations. Even international EAFE funds and international total market funds are correlated enough that it probably doesn't matter which one is chosen.

Certainly there are exceptions to the "all the same" argument. For example, VG has VT/VTWAX, total international, and I don't think Fido or Schwab do. Fido also has an everything-but-the-S&P500 fund and I don't know that VG or Schwab does (though I am too lazy this AM to check).

So IMO @VungTau's principle is sound but may not have much of an effect on an investors choice of brokers and funds.
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Old 07-24-2020, 08:45 AM   #16
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... Is Fid easier to get a transfer in kind done? I did one years ago with VG and it was a pain. ...
Two or three years ago I decided to run a small experiment with DFA funds, which necessitated a transfer from Schwab to the DFA FA's custodian, Fido. Recently I terminated the experiment and transferred the funds back. IIRC the outbound transfer was in kind and the return was cash. Both were completely painless and didn't involve any telephone calls at all.

In general I think there is a sort of reversion to the mean with these three brokers -- competition is tight enough that are constantly converging with respect to features, offerings, and customer service. To not do that is to eventually die. So "years ago" probably isn't relevant experience.
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Old 07-24-2020, 09:18 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Cobra9777 View Post
That's really not a factor at all in my thinking. We house everything at Fidelity for the better website, excellent DIY tools and customer service. But half of what we own are Vanguard ETFs. For index investing, you can own almost anything you want and house it wherever you want at ultra-low cost, or zero in some cases. So for me, the decision does not start with what I want to own. It starts with who has the better platform and customer service for my DIY style of investing.
At all? So you'd choose an investment house for the platform and customer service even if they didn't have the funds you wanted? Semantics maybe, but as a general rule as a DIY investor I'd certainly make sure I could get the funds I wanted, and then choose the best platform and customer service from among them. If I wasn't a DIY investor, by all means I'd put platform and services first. Better?
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Old 07-24-2020, 09:27 AM   #18
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It must be harder and harder for the big players to differentiate and attract new money. The whole market has moved in the direction of low costs, broad services and a wide variety of investment options.


And we should all be thankful for the opportunity to invest in America. I have lived in many countries and we have the best investment options, lowest costs, most services and least surprises from my experiences.
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Old 07-24-2020, 09:57 AM   #19
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Our Vanguard advisor told us a major upgrade to their site is coming later this summer, which Iím looking forward to.
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Old 07-24-2020, 10:48 AM   #20
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So you'd choose an investment house for the platform and customer service even if they didn't have the funds you wanted?...
Is there a major brokerage house today where I'm not allowed to buy VTI and BND? That's the point. Limitations on what you can own and where you choose to hold it are almost nonexistent for low-cost index investors. It really does just boil down to service and platform. Twenty years ago was a different landscape and your post would have been more meaningful.
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