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I'm just about ready to transfer my Vanguard IRA into my Fidelity IRA after the last few days.

I have a program to re-allocate my portfolio over the next 12 to 18 months. Thought I'd dollar-cost average the transactions. Surprise! Vanguard only allows 2 online or telephone transactions per year in 500 Index fund (and several other index funds). Only way to do it is to send written instructions each time. No limit on number of transactions but no control over timing either given the variable of mail service.

So I sent the first letter of instruction. Clearly identified the funds involved by name and number or symbol. $10K from 500 Index to REIT Index. REIT is a new fund for me so I also confirmed I had read the prospectus and to setup beneficiary, etc. identical to all my other funds. Simple, right? Nope. Logged in this morning and discovered they had opened a GNMA fund account with my $10K. Call to my Voyager representative. Oh, we're sorry. We'll fix it. Probably take a day or two.

I pointed out rather strongly that if they didn't have those ridiculous restrtictions on online exchanges I could have done the whole thing correctly myself. I also told him they are one step closer to losing a $400K+ account.

No wonder Vanguard has low fees. They hire idiots.
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I pointed out rather strongly that if they didn't have those ridiculous restrtictions on online exchanges I could have done the whole thing correctly myself. I also told him they are one step closer to losing a $400K+ account.

No wonder Vanguard has low fees. They hire idiots.


While it seems it has caused an inconvenience for you, I believe Vanguard limits the transactions to try and avoid similar problems that other funds have experienced with the recent scandals.

By limiting the trading volume, they reduce the chance of people manipulating the fund.

dt
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No wonder Vanguard has low fees. They hire idiots.

I have had a few poor experiences with Vanguard over the past couple of years and am in the process of moving my accounts. I have had accounts there since around the mid-80s and the level of customer service has definitely eroded in the past couple of years.

rad

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While it seems it has caused an inconvenience for you, I believe Vanguard limits the transactions to try and avoid similar problems that other funds have experienced with the recent scandals.

By limiting the trading volume, they reduce the chance of people manipulating the fund.


It would seem to me to be better to limit the time between transactions absolutely (say via a fee or prohibition on excessive transactions) rather than via an annoyance factor.

I am very glad that my 403(b) through Vanguard does not have the same restrictions.

--B+C
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B=C said "It would seem to me to be better to limit the time between transactions absolutely (say via a fee or prohibition on excessive transactions) rather than via an annoyance factor.

I am very glad that my 403(b) through Vanguard does not have the same restrictions."


That's interesting. Last week I asked the rep if they put the same restrictions on someone buying Vanguard funds through ScottTrade or another outside party. He had no idea.

My suggestion was that they allow individuals to exchange online as often as they want up to a specified dollar amount. That would solve the problem for someone like me who wanted to dollar cost average from one fund to another without allowing market-moving volume. Of course I knew this guy had no authority to do anything, but he didn't even offer to pass my suggestion up the ladder.

Have to say after 23 years with Fidelity and over 15 with Vanguard, if you count the years in 401k, I'm much more impressed with Fidelity's people vs. Vanguard's. Fidelity reps always seem more knowledgable and more willing to help even when it requires extra effort on their part.

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Unfortunately Vanguard got rid of John Bogle at the helm. Even a heart transplant didn't keep him from aging, and his associates it seemed got rid of the raucous old curmudgeon as quickly as they could.
The place hasn't been the same since!
Best wishes, Chris
Who still has an account at Vanguard, but hasn't added to it for awhile....
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Hi everyone. I am new to this board. I have had several bad experiences
with Vanguard as well. They have some great funds and very low fees, but
some real idiots to deal with. I tried to transfer an IRA from T.Rowe
Price to them. They first sent me the wrong form. They then told me they
could keep some of my T. Rowe Price Mutual Funds with them, but they had
trouble trying to transfer them. It was such a waste of time that I wound
up telling them to forget it. A week later a vice president of Vanguard
called, apologized and wanted to make it right. By then it was too late.
It is pretty clear why their fees are so low.
Norm
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I had my bad experience with Vanguard upfront. I put in my address (a "Mail Boxes Etc" box) on their website asking for data, and they sent screwed the address up. It got to me eventually, but I figured if they couldn't be bother to keep up with Post Office regulations, I'd spare them the chore of dealing with my money.

Transamerica, OTOH, does have a competent mailroom. Plus they stop charging a flat fee at $5000 rather than $10,000

-CB

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I've been dealing with Fidelity for about 10 years, and I have always found their service to be completely professional and reliable. I can say with assurance that their customer service is, without exception, the best of any organization I deal with (not just financial firms). Just recently I moved some of my portfolio to Vanguard to take advantage of the lower fees on some Vanguard funds that were not offered by Fidelity.

I didn't move any of my IRAs though, because I didn't want to make the switch permanent until I had some experience dealing with Vanguard. I am already not too happy with how their accounts are handled. For example, with a Fidelity brokerage account, when you buy and sell funds, all the monies are run through the 'sweep' account automatically. Not so with Vanguard, each fund you buy is a different 'account', and the brokerage sweep account is used only for stock trades--this, IMHO, is a crazy way to do this. It's resulted in my receiving checks for checkwriting privileges on 4 different 'accounts'. I also HATE the fact that they charge a $10 annual fee for each fund that you've got less than $10K in (oh! Wait a minute...I think I understand why they have all these separate 'accounts' now--isn't it at least a tiny bit misleading to call each mutual fund purchased an 'account'? 8-(.

If I were to run into any of the problems that you or others have had, I would immediately move my dollars back to Fidelity--no doubt in my mind!

2old
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Since I started this thread I did another Vanguard fund exchange, this time from Primecap to a new Short Term Corp Bond account. Got all the way through the online exchange and then got a screen telling me I would have to call Vanguard to do the transaction. Nothing in the prospectus of either fund showed any exchange restrictions that might have caused this. So I called and waited on hold almost 10 minutes before a rep answered. He couldn't find any reason why the online exchange had been blocked either. He did complete the exchange but what should have taken a minute to do online ended up taking fifteen minutes.

After my recent experiences I'm convinced Vanguard has not been involved in the market timing or late trading scandals. No crook would have the patience to deal with them. OTOH I've about run out of patience too. Maybe if I didn't have 23 years of good experiences with Fidelity I wouldn't know any better, but personal investing should not be this difficult.


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Fidelity reps always seem more knowledgable and more willing to help even when it requires extra effort on their part.

Usually. They have had my 401k (and now my IRA) for many years. No real complaints, but several years ago, while I was in the workforce and still in the company's 401k, we were allowed to occasionally make a few changes among the funds offered. I carefully considered one change and called it in -- only to find, a week later, that it had not been made! Meanwhile, the very thing I had foreseen had happened: my OLD fund had dropped, and the new one I wanted to be in was up!

With my confirmation number at the ready, I called, got a rep, complained, and was promised it would be corrected in a few days.

Another week went by and still no change! I called again, asked for a supervisor, same discussion, same apology, same promise.

Week three goes by, and STILL nothing! Called again, again asked for a supervisor, who promised "in a week or so".

"Not good enough," I told him. "I want that change made NOW and my losses/gains corrected, as well, by next TUESDAY (this was Friday of the previous week). If it's not done by Tuesday, one letter will go to the New York Times and another to the SEC about how poorly Fidelity treats their customers! Might that help?"

He stuttered, stammered, promised it REALLY would happen this time -- and it was.

Threats may work sometimes.

Vermonter
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Threats may work sometimes

A complaint letter officially puts them on notice.

Calls do not.

Even if you think your call was successful, it should always be followed up with a letter.
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A complaint letter officially puts them on notice. Calls do not. Even if you think your call was successful, it should always be followed up with a letter.

Ordinarily, I would agree, but I KNOW my call was successful, because the change WAS made by Tuesday, as I had demanded.

I don't think the folks there wanted a letter of the type I was threatening to write going to the Times or to the SEC, either.

I try a call first. If that doesn't work, THEN I write!

Vermonter
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