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What's wrong with Schwab?
Old 04-22-2021, 11:49 AM   #1
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What's wrong with Schwab?

Hi There,

I have the majority of my portfolio in Schwab, mostly because my company's 401K and stock administration is through them. I also have a bit of money in Fidelity from an old 401K that turned into a rollover IRA that I never moved. My company is in the process of being acquired and the new company uses Fidelity so we're going to be moving the work stuff to Fidelity.

Anyway, following the posts on this forum for the past few years, I never see anyone say hardly anything about Schwab, people are indifferent-to-hostile to Fidelity, and Vanguard seems to be a favorite (very unscientific, but that's my take).

I've had zero issues with Schwab. Their customer service has been great and their website is pretty easy to use, there's a branch near my house where I can get a free cup of coffee from time to time. On the other hand, the few times I've needed support from Fidelity, it's really been sub-par, though their local office also has free coffee. :-)

I've never used Vanguard (and they don't have a local office).

So what does Vanguard do better than Schwab? Since things are going to be in turmoil for me with the acquistion, I'm interested to know if there's a compelling reason to move my non work stuff to Vanguard.

Thanks!

DC
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Old 04-22-2021, 11:58 AM   #2
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I found Vanguard to be difficult and slow to move assets in or out. Schwab and Fido are both easy to work with in this case. I preferred Fido and moved all from Vanguard and Schwab for both convenience, and overall ease of access. Schwab was always trying to educate me toward their outside advisors or funds. Fido has tried a few times, but not pushy. I am OK with the website at Fido, and features provided for credit cards, trust accounts, and other accounts for flexible transfers between accounts without need to contact them. They always step up and provide immediate wire transfer support over the phone without the need to go in to sign. Overall, either Schwab or Fido is good for most investors needs, but I like Fido more for the overall ability to manage all our major financial moves.

The only downside to Fido is there small fee to trade Vanguard funds, but you can hold all of the them there even Admiral shares now.
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Old 04-22-2021, 12:03 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DenverCraig View Post
Hi There,



I have the majority of my portfolio in Schwab, mostly because my company's 401K and stock administration is through them. I also have a bit of money in Fidelity from an old 401K that turned into a rollover IRA that I never moved. My company is in the process of being acquired and the new company uses Fidelity so we're going to be moving the work stuff to Fidelity.



Anyway, following the posts on this forum for the past few years, I never see anyone say hardly anything about Schwab, people are indifferent-to-hostile to Fidelity, and Vanguard seems to be a favorite (very unscientific, but that's my take).



I've had zero issues with Schwab. Their customer service has been great and their website is pretty easy to use, there's a branch near my house where I can get a free cup of coffee from time to time. On the other hand, the few times I've needed support from Fidelity, it's really been sub-par, though their local office also has free coffee. :-)



I've never used Vanguard (and they don't have a local office).



So what does Vanguard do better than Schwab? Since things are going to be in turmoil for me with the acquistion, I'm interested to know if there's a compelling reason to move my non work stuff to Vanguard.



Thanks!



DC

We have a large chunk of our assets with Schwab and my wife has her 401k and a Roth with Fidelity. We have a few Vanguard ETFs. I personally donít use Vanguard because I live too close to their campus and know some folks there. Just donít want them knowing my business.
I like Schwab and have no desire to move. I like getting invites to Webinars and market updates. My contact at Schwab is the same guy I had for years at USAA before they sold their investment business to Schwab. We have talked with some folks at Fidelity, but havenít been as impressed. They are all competitive with fees, but Schwab and Fidelity have better websites. Schwab will also be integrating TD Ameritrade in their company and will bring in some new things when that completes.
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Old 04-22-2021, 12:04 PM   #4
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My current 401k, as well as a 401k that rolled over into an IRA with a previous employer, are at Schwab. No complaints so far, although I haven't had to do anything complicated yet. I've just been contributing, and rebalancing every once in awhile.

I have another IRA, that was rolled over from a 401k, with Fidelity. And, once again, no complaints. I also have two inherited IRAs with Fidelity. When I inherited the first one, my first choice was with Janus. I have a good deal of mutual funds with them, both in a regular account and a Roth. But, when I tried to do set up the Inherited IRA, the representatives I talked to said they didn't know how to do that! Apparently, Janus isn't too strong, in that department. So, I tried Fidelity. No problems so far. And, when I inherited the second one, I just went with Fidelity again, because the first one was fairly easy.
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Old 04-22-2021, 12:10 PM   #5
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Anyway, following the posts on this forum for the past few years, I never see anyone say hardly anything about Schwab, people are indifferent-to-hostile to Fidelity, and Vanguard seems to be a favorite (very unscientific, but that's my take).
I think you may have seen a very limited sample of posts here.

We have a great many members who are very happy with all three brokerages, and I think I've seen at least as many positive comments about all of them as negative ones.

Also, since satisfied customers are much less likely to post than those who have experienced a problem, there is a kind of built-in bias. I think the majority here would say you're likely to be happy with any of the three.

Personally, I have accounts at both Fidelity and Schwab, and I'm very happy with both. I used to have accounts at Vanguard but my reasons for moving them were simply that I could get better service at the others -- no particular grievance.
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Old 04-22-2021, 12:11 PM   #6
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My take is very different. Vanguard is the leader in DIY low cost mutual fund investing but many believe their frugal ways mean they are lacking in some ways wrt customer service. Vanguard has done a huge favor to individual investors. They donít have any local branches., though. We have a VG account and it is just fine. Mostly I use Fidelity since my 401k is there. They have a lot of resources plus local branches are handy when you need one. I have no experience with Schwab but my impression is they are very comparable to VG and Fido. They also seem to be focused on individuals and they also offer local branches. I canít recall many complaints from Schwab clients so my impression is very favorable
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Old 04-22-2021, 12:17 PM   #7
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Thanks for the quick feedback. The point "you may not hear much about Schwab because people are more likely to post a complaint not a compliment" is well-taken. Good to know I'm not really missing anything, short of people don't dislike Fidelity as much as I was inferring.

Gonna just stay put with my non-work portfolio. It ain't broke.
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Old 04-22-2021, 12:24 PM   #8
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The only downside to Fido is there small fee to trade Vanguard funds, but you can hold all of the them there even Admiral shares now.
We consolidated at Fido several years after enduring multiple indifferent customer services experiences. Fido has its blemishes but unlike Vanguard, when you seek help, our Fido contacts have always proved competent and capable of getting it right the first time. For Vanguard, our experience was if there wasn't an answer in their script, the csr pretty much punted.

If you are an ETF investor, note there is NO cost for buying or selling any Vanguard ETF.
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Old 04-22-2021, 12:27 PM   #9
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I have been with Schwab since 1979. No complaints, excellent service the few times I have needed it.
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Old 04-22-2021, 12:29 PM   #10
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Iíve been with all three and have been mostly happy with all three. One question you might ask yourself is, ďWhich company is in best alignment with my investing style?Ē In my case, I only want index funds, so I am now a Vanguard partisan.

I once had the bulk of our assets at Schwab, where I owned Vanguard index funds. One day, I got a call from a Schwab financial planner, who told me Iíd always have subpar results with index funds and that he could do better. I was insulted, feeling it revealed Schwabís true actively-managed fund orientation. I decided Iíd rather have my money in the company that invented index funds.

I made the move to Vanguard and have been very happy ever since. I have enough there that I have an assigned advisor, Michael _____, and I get terrific customer service every time. Iíve never met Michael, because heís in Scottsdale. Vanguard does not have fancy, expensive downtown storefronts. Itís a co-op with the lowest fees in the industry, so I feel Vanguard is aligned best with my interests. They arenít trying to satisfy Wall Street shareholders or family owners.

I have had retirement plans at Fidelity and always received excellent customer service there. However, Fidelity is out of alignment with my unshakeable commitment to index funds and low fee everything, except for a few loss-leader index funds that are designed to get people in the door so that higher fee funds and products can be sold to them.

All that said, all three companies are the relative white hats in the industry and one canít go too far wrong at any of them.
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Old 04-22-2021, 12:34 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by DenverCraig View Post
Thanks for the quick feedback. The point "you may not hear much about Schwab because people are more likely to post a complaint not a compliment" is well-taken. Good to know I'm not really missing anything, short of people don't dislike Fidelity as much as I was inferring.

Gonna just stay put with my non-work portfolio. It ain't broke.
Good decision. I have all three and they are all ok, but some days they suck. I've only had a relationship with Schwab or month or two but so far I think they're pretty good.
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Old 04-22-2021, 12:36 PM   #12
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Nothing is wrong with Schwab.

Got my various tIRA and Roth accounts there. Got all my kids set up with Roth accounts there.

Local office to drop off stuff I don't want to get lost/slowed in the US mail.

Regional office with rep to talk me through/facilitate occasional pieces of business I have questions about.

Schwab has done me well.
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Old 04-22-2021, 12:41 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by DenverCraig View Post
Thanks for the quick feedback. The point "you may not hear much about Schwab because people are more likely to post a complaint not a compliment" is well-taken. Good to know I'm not really missing anything, short of people don't dislike Fidelity as much as I was inferring.

Gonna just stay put with my non-work portfolio. It ain't broke.
There's nothing wrong with Schwab or any of the other two. I prefer to have assets distributed across a couple systems of record. Sometimes things go wrong internally or externally and it's great to have a backup.
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Old 04-22-2021, 12:44 PM   #14
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I manage accounts at Fidelity, Vanguard, Schwab & T. Rowe Price. TRP is the most cumbersome but itís a 457 that stays there. The others are fine once you get used to them (website and mobile apps).
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Old 04-22-2021, 12:52 PM   #15
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Schwab is good. Vanguard is garbage for many reasons.
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Old 04-22-2021, 01:15 PM   #16
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I would go with any three of VG, Fido, and Schwab. The bulk is with VG because they had the best low cost index funds back when that's what I wanted. I also have an HSA and DAF more recently opened with Fidelity because they had the best products for those when I needed them. I have old dormant accounts at TDAmeritrade and Schwab back when I invested in individual stocks.

I've had some issues with VG but not enough to make me move. If I go, I don't know if I'd go with Fido or Schwab. Schwab may have a bit of growing pains from taking in Ameritrade but that's probably temporary. They have an office within our hour, while Fidelity's is 2 hours away. Handier than trusting mail or chasing down a medallion signature if needed.
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Old 04-22-2021, 01:30 PM   #17
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As other's have also said, they all are fine really.

We have accounts with all three. Schwab and Fidelity had work 401k/IRA accounts and so have kept the money there. I added Vanguard for most of our taxable money because they have the best low cost MFs - while the others are now pretty competitive, so there you go.

I've done ROTH conversions with all three as well. All worked out fine with no problems.

That said, I'm a pretty low maintenance customer. I use the web sites and they all work just fine.

I actually like having our money spread around. I recall the 2008 panic and I was reassured that if one of them had a hiccup, there was a good chance at least one of the others would still be operating smoothly. For the same reason I keep "cash" in at least two different places in case one has a problem.

Not sure I'm being helpful, but frankly they are all three good companies.
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Old 04-22-2021, 01:42 PM   #18
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I have used all 3 and been equally happy with each.
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Old 04-22-2021, 01:56 PM   #19
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We're fine with Schwab serious seven figures. VG is a lower-service, lower-price shop that suits many. Fido is fairly competitive with Schwab, though AFIK Abigail Johnson (CEO) still thinks indexing is some kind of passing fad, a demerit in my mind.

A lot has to do with the individual account rep and his/her empathy with the client. My impression, though without data/just from anecdotes here, is the Fido is a little more hard sell towards annuities and managed accounts. But again, that is the rep more than the company.

@DenverCraig, I would expect that you will be happy using Schwab.
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Old 04-22-2021, 02:10 PM   #20
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We have all of our non-401(k) investment accounts at Schwab. Never had any problems.
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