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Vanguard customer reviews, complaints, financial services rating from clients, pros and cons. Is Vanguard safe and good brokerage firm for investing account?

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Vanguard Customer Reviews

by Paul, 12/20/2018

Pros: Can't think of any

Cons: Too many to list

Worst website on the Internet, hands down. I always have trouble logging in, and they make it impossible to reset your account. Hyperlinks take you in circles or to dead-ends/404, and when you phone for help, their automated answering service asks questions which are not relevant (enter your six digit account, when the number has eight), etc.

When you finally speak to someone, they transfer to someone else, and then that person transfers you to someone else, AND THEN THAT PERSON TRANSFERS YOU TO SOMEONE ELSE!!!!

I am getting all of my investments out of there. My wife uses Fidelity and their website is light years better.

by Leo Jones, 10/15/2018

Pros: None I can think of.

Cons: Their Web Site and their Customer Service

We have been trying to get a Rollover of a 401k from Vanguard to Edward Jones done for over a month and still do not have it accomplished despite numerous calls to Vanguard's Customer Service number. During a call on Oct. 10th. the Customer Service Rep. told us a check would be cut and sent over night to be with guaranteed delivery before 3:00 pm on Friday Oct. 12th. When the check was not delivered by the guaranteed time we called back to find out why and were told the check had not been cut. We asked to speak with a supervisor to try and get to the bottom of why it has been over a month and this rollover has still not been accomplished. The supervisor we spoke with told us they would do a wire transfer to Edward Jones, but as of today, Oct. 15th. we are still waiting for that to happen.

by IWantMyMoney, 9/24/2018

Pros: None.

Cons: I have a list. Read my review below.

Unfortunately, my husband and I fell on hard times about two weeks ago and we were behind on the rent. We received a three-day notice on our door, and after exhausting all our resources, I decided to take a withdrawal from my 401K with Vanguard.

On 9/15 submitted my request via their website and on Monday, 9/17, I faxed all supporting documents (application and three-day notice) to the 1-800 number provided on the application. I waited about 2-3 days on the decision of my withdrawal request. I decided to call on Wednesday and I was told my documentation would not suffice as it was not on company letterhead. OK, no problem. Our leasing office reprinted the letter on their letterhead and I re-faxed the document on 9/20.

Mind you, during this week I called Vanguard NUMEROUS times asking, "is anything else is missing from the documentation and all I was told was that the three-day notice needs to be on company letterhead." Alright, easy and fair enough.

Since we are in a bind, I called Friday and the representative acknowledged receipt of the letter and said they will review within 2-3 days (so much for a hardship! When you're in a mind, you sort of need the money ASAP). Anyway, I called Friday afternoon and was told the review department could not get to my files and I will have a decision on Monday.

Monday, 9/24, I called Vanguard around 9:00AM to find out my paperwork was AGAIN denied because 1. The reviewers did not "like" or accept the leasing company's letterhead. Apparently, the reviewers noted "the logo looks like it was stamped" and they questioned the verbiage under the logo (which is the leasing companies slogan). WHAT? I, in no way, have control over my leasing office's letterhead, so I am sorry you don't like how it looks. 2. The date is wrong on the letter (WHY DIDN'T SOMEONE TELL ME THIS LAST WEEK WHEN I CALLED ABOUT 8X?) AND 3. THE LETTER NEEDS TO BE SIGNED. When I called Vanguard I specifically asked if the new document on the letterhead needs to be signed and this young man (probably right of college with the hopes of being an investment banker) told me "no, it doesn't need to be signed if it's on letterhead."

The misinformation is UNREAL at Vanguard and moving forward, I will no longer contribute to this 401K plan.

If they want to reach out to me and "resolve" this issue, send my money to my bank as noted on my account. If not, there is no use in trying to resolve this matter. I WANT MY MONEY.

by Evan, 2/26/2018

Pros: N/A

Cons: Where do i begin?

Well to say the least, this is the worst company I have ever had the displeasure to have contact with. They have a system set up with my employer to automatically set up an account for you without your consent. Pretty crazy to have an account in your name taking money out of your paycheck without any consent whatsoever (having direct deposit really hides this until tax season). After contacting vanguard, i was met with a stern one hour and thirty minute wait which left me with the following knowledge: 1.) Even with every ounce of information to prove your identity and ownership of an account you still have zero authority over it. 2.) The only way to close the account in your name that you had no part in creation, you must terminate employment with your current company and lose all benefits gained just to get rehired without the account.
3.) After asking for a manager and waiting on hold for over 10 minutes I was told the manager was working on an important spreadsheet and didn't have any time for me and that he'll take down my number and call me within 48 hours. Absurd is it not?
In conclusion, If you like to do business with people who prefer spreadsheets over customer service, force you into an account without your consent, and then lock you out of that account until you terminate your employment, then Vangaurd is for you. Otherwise use your common sense, take my words of advice, and stay away from this Business.

by Jen, 2/23/2018


Cons: The website is busted and there is no browser capable to deal with it.

Soooo bad. I cannot access my account for over a month now.

by Blaze, 2/12/2018

Pros: Vanguard brokers not helpful at all. Furthermore look like cheaters. Calling them multiple times about getting my money back after 2 weeks still they operate my money.

Cons: Totally disorganized. Two weeks of calling trying to get my money back, still waiting.

This is 21st century and average transaction lasts fraction of a second. After waiting for 2 weeks still can not get my money back from the account I did not ask to invest to. Scary. Will have to notify authorities.

by Blaze, 2/12/2018

Pros: Vanguard brokers not helpful at all. Furthermore look like cheaters. Calling them multiple times about getting my money back after 2 weeks still they operate my money.

Cons: Totally disorganized. Two weeks of calling trying to get my money back, still waiting.

This is 21st century and average transaction lasts fraction of a second. After waiting for 2 weeks still can not get my money back from the account I did not ask to invest to. Scary. Will have to notify authorities.

by TK, 2/2/2018

Pros: Absolutely none!!

Cons: Very Poor, very high brokerage fees, no trailing stop to protect your positions!

Vanguard has very good ETFs, but very poor and rude customer support, and high brokerage fees. Also, they like to push income averaging and don't like for you to trade!! My advice is to put you money at a major brokerage and trade and/or invest in Stocks and ETFs. Again, Vanguard has great ETFs and are available through any brokerage.

by Dale Painter, 1/19/2018

Pros: None

Cons: Vanguard exhibits a pastern of retaining cclient funds.

Vanguard exhibits a pastern of retaining client funds. They have onerous procedures to delay and frustrate clients hoping many give up. That is certainly my experience and as I read the reviews of Vanguard that appears to be the experience on most reviewers. I have dealt with other brokerage firms and never encountered anything similar. Unfortunately clients look for reviews such as these when they are frustrated and not before they commit funds to Vanguard. As in my case my company used Vanguard for deferred income and 401K accounts; therefore, I assumed Vanguard had a good reputation. My experience since my retirement three years ago has not been good. I began trying to withdraw the funds immediately after my retirement and to date they still retain a small portion of my funds which they refuse to relinquish to me.

by elizabeth jagla -, 10/19/2017


Cons: the worst

I am pulling all my money out of vanguard. After months of trying to setup a simple CD under my trust they still haven't got it straight. I no longer trust this company. Beware! They have wasted months of my time.

by T. Green, 10/11/2017



Requesting a HARDSHIP withdrawal should not be a longer process than requesting a loan! The 1-3 day cycle restarts each time additional information is needed and being that mines is for dental work which can not begin until I receive the funds I’m pissed and very dissatisfied with Supervisor Sehloth who tried yelling at me and also with the agent Alshara who doesn’t communicate well!

by Amy D., 9/20/2017



Customer service is very slow. An all day long event to contact someone.

by Lucinda, 9/16/2017

Pros: I would not be giving them any star. V gives prompt response on the phone if they believe you will be putting money in their hands, but you must beware!

Cons: significant, see below

in my interactions with V the representatives misrepresented what V would do to help me establish my clear wishes on a recorded line. They used an inadequately prepared form to close an account, and then held onto the money for at this point more than two weeks, using my money presumably for their secondary gains. How the government allows them to continue doing this seems concerning. V did not uphold the fiduciary relationship they had with me as a client, and they have caused consistent harm in a number of circumstances that I can see on the internet. I have contacted FINRA and my states Attorney General's office. I believe that government action is needed to actual require V to maintain an ethical standard. As everyday citizens we are reasonable to ask that be protected by such corporate greed. I encourage folks that have had this kind of disrespectful and illegal behavior to contact FINRA and your respective state's AG office to file appropriate complaints against V. If enough of us stand up, maybe there is some recourse for our needs against what such companies feel entitled to do.

by JRFITCH, 8/31/2017



I have been with Vanguard since 1979. Last year Sept 2016 vanguard wanted accounts to be upgraded I did so. All cost bases were gone. I have call a number of times on this problem most of the accounts were IRA's and no help from vanguard. Since I have been investing since 1979 and now retired I buy and sell securities to either make money by buying or make money selling. The cost bases is one way to do that. Now since I use Quicken 2017 Premier I tried to down load just a vanguard file. I found out that the account number use to down load and the account number showing when I log into vanguard are not the same. Why ?? who knows and who cares not VANGUARD. It seems as if the fools and buffoons are running the ship. Not a Boggle way to do things. Will be moving my IRA's from Vanguard .

by Hillary Bressler, 8/29/2017

Pros: They answer the phone.

Cons: They lie.

They lie. Horrible customer service. Tried for 3 month to set up an account for my mother. They continue to say they have everything and then send my check back twice. I have given them everything they have asked for. 3 month to open an account with $67k. Ha!

Do not invest with them especially if it involves a parent or trust account.

by AngryVanguardCustomer, 8/8/2017

Pros: Nothing

Cons: Everything

According to my own experience, do NOT use their service for trading!

by Tony, 5/24/2017

Pros: Cheap expense ratios

Cons: Horrible Customer Service and Online Website

I switched to vanguard. The experience, has been nothing short of horrendous as far as the customer service to get things up and running. They send all their forms to you. They require many of the forms to be notarized, which is a pain but understandable. However, they continually tell you different information as far as what needs to be filled out and notarized, leading to several trips to the notary and expenses. It is beyond frustrating. The only positive is the cheap prices for Admiral shares for their funds. Other than that, I would give them 1 star for their brokerage. Their interface is also lousy. The website looks like it was built 10 years ago. I was far more impressed with the website of the competitor I switched from, but their prices weren't as good. So their's the compromise.

by Amy, San Marcos, 4/28/2017



Vanguard has been horrible to deal with after the death of my father. It's taken multiple mailings and several phone calls to get his IRA transferred to my mother, and after 6 months still isn't resolved. The same transaction at Ameritrade's brick and mortar office was completed in less than an hour. They may or may not be good portfolio managers but do your beneficiaries a favor and invest elsewhere.

by Steve McEvoy, 3/16/2017

Pros: Some good mutual funds.

Cons: Making multiple mistakes that waste my time and causes aggravation.

Vanguard does have some great no-load/no-transaction-fee mutual funds, but so do Schwab and Fidelity.
As a brokerage, Vanguard seems to have some poorly qualified people and they do not seem to care. I have had several problems with Vanguard and none ever with Fidelity or Schwab.
My current problem has to do with a transfer of specific broker CDs from my IRA account to our joint account to thereby create a necessary IRA distribution. Fidelity and Schwab take such instructions orally on a recorded line, without requiring any paperwork.
Vanguard requires six pages of paperwork, and a medallion signature guarantee, which is not easy to get.
I sent in the proper paperwork, and it was initially rejected. I called and was told that I had to have federal tax withheld and they therefore could not move the CDs intact.
I pointed out that on their own Vanguard form, they offered no withholding, and I checked the box for no withholding. I also pointed out that under the IRS regulations, I am allowed to take distributions without withholding.
After talking with a representative who had no clue, and after being held on the line for a long hold time, I was told that they would try to process the transfer of the two securities between the accounts.
Now, I see that even though I requested the full $15,000 value of the two positions moved, they only moved $200 worth of the two positions. Their form had no pre-printed decimal point and I wrote $10000 for one position and $5000 for the second position without any decimal points. I also checked “all” for moving/transferring both positions.
Vanguard screwed up badly and I will have to waste precious time tomorrow to get this straightened out.
In 20 years, I have never had problems with Schwab or Fidelity, but I have had several serious problems with Vanguard.
I only have a Vanguard account because my Fidelity and Schwab accounts are at the SIPC insurance limit.
I recommend Fidelity and Schwab and avoiding Vanguard whenever possible. Vanguard seems to have some incompetent people and the Vanguard management does not seem to care.
Steve McEvoy

by buck, 3/3/2017

Pros: low cost

Cons: Terrible customer service

to many forms. you almost have to fill out a form to get to the forms. If you are an average man on the street with little knowledge about dealing with investment companies, you will have a difficult time trying to make a withdrawal from Vanguard. The customer service reps are NOT trained to work with common people with little knowledge about how to remove or transfer money invested with Vanguard. So disappointed in this company

by Dean, 1/7/2017

Pros: good customer service, low cost

Cons: cant really think of any

Been with Vanguard for 25 years or so now. I have retirement and non-retirement accounts with them. I just do long-haul investment in self-researched mutual funds they have. I have never had a bad experience with Vanguard. I have transferred a lot of money in and on occasion taken some out with no issues I remember. I don't generally put a lot of credence in any reviews of any company, because any business will never have 100% satisfaction by its customers. You also don't know what people's motives are for reviewing (i.e. do they work for the competition). I suggest that anyone investing with this company or any other, do a LITTLE HOMEWORK for yourself first. Become at least a little knowledgeable about what you are doing, otherwise you set yourself up for problems. This is YOUR money. Make sure you know what is happening. I try to take charge of my own situation. Don't totally rely on others. My 2cents.

by Karen, 12/27/2016


Cons: TERRIBLE customer service, months of paperwork with no results, lack of security

I am appalled at the poor service I've received from Vanguard on a substantial (over 500,000) account. From the comments here, I see others have been experiencing problems very similar to mine. I also have been trying unsuccessfully to transfer assets from a deceased parent's trust account and set up my own trust account.

Getting through to someone on the phone was the first ordeal. It took several attempts, with long hold times, to speak to a human. Then said human was only able to make an appointment for me to talk to another human 10 days in the future! That appointment resulted in Vanguard snail-mailing me (eventually) some forms to fill out. Unfortunately, they required medallion signature guarantees, which are apparently very difficult to get nowadays. I have been a Schwab customer and a B of A customer for decades, and neither was willing to do it. So I called Vanguard to discuss this problem. Again, I waited on hold for long periods. Finally I got a human and, guess what, I would have to make another appointment for a week later just to discuss this problem!

At that point, I told them that I will probably just go ahead and transfer everything to Schwab, which has excellent customer service, and had already handled the same transaction in about two weeks. Suddenly, she remembered that Vanguard could do Voice Verification instead of medallion signature guarantees. But for that, she would have to have them call me "next week" at some unknown time and date, to set up the Voice Verification. If I missed the call, I was to call them back at the number they would give me and they would also email me if I missed the call.

Well, next week came and went with no call or email, but I get a letter in the mail dated 3 days before this conversation saying that Vanguard Voice Verification had been set up using the voice passphrase I had created! Interesting, since I had never gone through this process, or had even heard of its existence until after they had set it up. Even more interesting, when I next called Vanguard (and was put on the usual 30-60 minute hold) the recording had me repeat a phrase about Vanguard and that was enough to verify my identity! The last conversation with a rep informed me I would have to resubmit the forms because of an error. He also had no explanation for how the Voice Verification could have been set up without my participation.

My next project will be to transfer everything over to Schwab, but judging by some of the other comments here, that will likely be an ordeal as well. One of the excuses one of the reps gave me for the difficulty of doing business with Vanguard vs. Schwab was that Vanguard is more secure and they require more steps and forms. Ha! Now anyone can call in and pretend to be me. I can hardly wait until I don’t have to deal with Vanguard any more! With Schwab, I have always gotten through right away to a human who is knowledgeable and who efficiently and courteously handles my business. The difference is like night and day.

by John Peters, 12/25/2016


Cons: Transfer processing completely incompetent

Trying to get a simple transfer from a deceased parent into my account for weeks without success. Began with them sending incorrect forms and wait times of over a hour for phone contact. Have since had 4 "delays" due to unexplained "errors" in the processing department. Last deadline passed, and still not completed. Feedback to upper level supervisor might as well have been a recorded message...complete denial, scripted responses, zero listening skills.

by wondering in Penna. Sept 2016, 9/16/2016

Pros: had been very good for a number of years

Cons: recent changes to their system....

haven't been beneficial.
unexplained delays which sharply differ
from what the online brokerage menus
show is the primary issue i see now.
not sure what the reason(s) are
but have asked without responses.

by Frustrated, 9/13/2016

Pros: Could never get an Account

Cons: Anything requiring organization or competence

Been trying to get a brokerage account set up for 5 months. They keep sending me the wrong forms to sign and never follow up once they've received the mail from me. And it takes all day to call them and ask "Hey, did you get my mail? Can I for the love of god finally open this account?"

by Randy C., 9/2/2016

Pros: Not sure - could never get to that stage of the transaction.

Cons: Long wait times, no local contact, gave up on moving funds.

A friend recommended Vanguard based on their returns. I tried for two weeks to open an account and I'm glad it never worked to be honest. Was placed on hold for over 45 mins. on the initial call. They never called back until my friend complained to them. Called me back while i was out of the office so we scheduled a call for the next day in a two hour window. Never got the call back ! I'm done - especially after reading the tons of 1 star reviews, many if which I can identify with.

by Mike, 8/18/2016



Wow what happened? I tried calling them, put on hold for 45 minutes They SUCK

by giovanni, 8/2/2016



What a joke:
1)they keep you on hold for hours (and I am not exaggerating)
2) you tell them to do a transaction, they say it has occurred, however, it never happened
3) when you discover it, you call and after 45 minutes of silence somebody recognizes the mistake and says it will be rectified
4) 7 days later nothing has happened
5) you call, another 50 minutes of silence and I am still waiting for an answer.
6) You send written instructions, they email you that they need further information, but it takes 2 days to finally have somebody answering and I am still not sure that the order was, is or will be executed

Meanwhile....I have lost thousands of dollars!
WHo is going to refund me?

by Nick in Tarpon Springs, 4/7/2016


Cons: Incompetant

My employer invested my retirement plan and deferred compensation plan with Vanguard. Now that I have retired I cannot reliably retrieve my delayed compensation.

I requested a monthly direct deposit because I do not live in the same house all of the time. The first month the funds were successfully direct deposited. The second month I received a check - late. I complained and the associate told me that the plan rules do not allow a direct deposit. I asked to see a written copy of the plan rules, and was told that there aren't written rules. I spoke with a supervisor who told me that a direct deposit is allowed, and implemented it.

The third month the check was direct deposited. The fourth month it was not only sent by mail but was not mailed until the 4th of the month. When I called on the 4th to determine why it was not direct deposited on the 1st, a smarmy associate told me that "the check is in the mail." It is not acceptable to have some one who is responsible for my funds act in a flippant manner. Not giving me my funds as agreed upon is not a joking matter.

Receiving the funds on the 1st of the month is part of my financial planning and is used to pay bills. Vanguard's inconsistent and incompetent behavior is not acceptable. I have moved my retirement funds elsewhere, but the unwritten "plan rules" do not allow me to move my deferred compensation account.

I will not deal with Vanguard in the future, and do not recommend that anyone else trust them.

by OnHoldForever, 1/21/2016


Cons: Lost my 401k rollover check (after they cashed it); can't make appt w/advisor; long, long holds on the phone

What a horrible company. They don't know what happened to one of my 401k rollover checks made out to them and cashed. They did not reply to my online inquiry about this, then I spent 1.5 hours on hold with them today (3 different calls). My company pays them for financial advising for employees. But good luck getting an appointment. They'll put you on hold forever to reach a "scheduler." This company is way too big. I greatly regret rolling over my other 401ks to them. Worst decision ever.

by BEE, 1/8/2016


Cons: Terrible customer service, lack of communication as to current funds, loss of documentation mailed by request, conflicting answers from representatives

Don't go to Vanguard. It has taken months to transfer/liquidate inherited funds for a late relative. Every time I call I get a new representative with different answers. Even when the appropriate paperwork is submitted (following the exact instructions provided by a representative) there are security issues, unknown holds or freezes on the accounts subject to internal reviews, and no confirmation as to when the issues can be resolved. Awful and infuriating experience.

by Vanguard Customer, 12/29/2015

Pros: Cost

Cons: Service

The objective merits of Vanguard and its products are well documented.

I will not keep more than a token amount of money at Vanguard however, because their customer service is inadequate. Their phone hours are far too limited outside of East Coast business hours.

Getting through to them during business hours recently has been beyond difficult. For example, after waiting an hour to speak to a person, that person transferred me to another department, where I just ended up in an interminable hold. What good is a brokerage that will not speak to its customers?

by longterminvestor, 7/7/2015

Pros: Low costs, easy to understand funds

Cons: Mistakes

Vanguard is one of the best firms for plain vanilla index funds with low fees. Once you have set up accounts, which I agree can be very tedious to do, and just add to accounts automatically you will have few problems.

The issue on difficult tax forms is accurate however. BUT if you want to transfer money out-WATCH OUT. Have had numerous problems making what should have been simple partial transfer to another financial institution. Long paper work delays, checks mailed to the WRONG address MULTIPLE times. Many, many calls to customer service. One duplicate transfer that was made without my consent because of their original mistake and now refusal to return all shares withdrawn due to time out of the market (that they caused). Just sort of my bad luck they messed up appears to be the response.

So in summary, if you have money going in and have patience for dealing with antiquated set up system on accounts and only plan to add you are probably OK. When you want to withdraw, watch every step and anticipate problems. Was not always like this seems things have changed in last few years.

by Michael, 6/1/2015



They seemed good while I was working and adding to the account -- but after I retired and tried to draw on my money, there has been nothing but problems. Customer service is useless; all they can say is "NO." It's been eight months of back and forth and I'm yet to receive a penny of my money from them. They demand forms, then ask again for the same forms over and over again. Their policies and procedures are designed to make it as hard as possible to satisfy them -- and then they'll just deny you for the fun of it.

by Lindsey, 5/25/2015


Cons: No customer service

Won't provide account number or any information on my money. Won't provide updates on QDRO account being moved/"processed". Told it will take one day after being processed - we are now at weeks. No information. Refuse to provide redemption paperwork despite asking more than once. Every time I reach out to **, they respond back with "For further questions please contact 1-800" but in order to speak to a person on that 800 number you need an account number. Their titles are senior client service people and yet I'm receiving no customer service.

by Max, 10/27/2014

Pros: Low fees

Cons: Service is iffy at best

Recently my wife made a pension fund deposit and it didn't clear into the Vanguard accounts for 2 weeks. She spent an hour on the phone and they finally said "Yes we have the check and it will be deposited tomorrow." A week later it still hadn't cleared and I called and I was on the phone 1 and 15 minutes. They said no such account existed! Odd....because they had just sent me information saying some address changes had been made (neither my wife nor I asked for these and no one at Vanguard could explain how they happened.) Finally I asked to speak to a supervisor and the rep didn't want me to, so I said, "Look, either I talk to your supervisor or I pull all my accounts...I may pay more elsewhere, but you won't see any of it." The supervisor took forever. Finally he said that all the addresses had been changed back to the original configuration. Five days later I got notifications proving just the opposite. The place is a giant cluster. Don't let older folks deal with this.

For a while we had a guy at Vanguard we could call and talk to by name. It was great because it cut through all the crap and you could get things done. They must have found out he was efficient because he's not there anymore. Looking to move all the accounts. How can I trust a company that changes my addresses without permission and then denies I have a rather large account with them?

I did find out why the check was delayed. Seems their arbitrary changing of addresses temporarily suspended the account...but this was not mailed to us, I only happened by chance upon it in a Vanguard email that can only be received at their site. This circus can clown with someone else's money,but not mine.

by Lina, 8/21/2014


Cons: no help

at work for years our 401K was with Vanguard. About a year before I left my job they switched us to Fidelity. After I left my job I was going to put my 401K money back into Vanguard. When I called the representative I got was not helpful at all. I understand that to them $250,000.00 is not a lot of money, but for me it is a large chunk of my retirement. Since the rep at Vanguard seemed totally uninterested, and unwilling to help me I kept my money if Fidelity.

by cjr, 2/7/2014



Vanguard has been nothing but cordial from transfer to release of funds. the paperwork is cumbersome but always done in a timely manner .

by Ron, 11/27/2013

Pros: efficient service, honest brokerage


I agree, Keith. I have been with Vanguard for over twenty years and the experience has been positive. I have had maybe two "people" problems, which were quickly resolved.

Their service is generally brisk and efficient. On-line trades are executed flawlessly. If you are looking for a touchy-feely sugar coated experience, this is not the place for it. They just do their jobs well, and are honest stewards of investors' money. Their brokerage operation is admittedly an adjunct to the mutual fund operation and run as a service to those investors who want to buy individual stocks. It is a no-frills operation with competitive commissions from Voyager Class on up.

It should be noted that Vanguard is investor owned; the only one of the financial institutions so run.

by Keith, 11/27/2013

Pros: reliable service, professional advice, good trading conditions


I can only speak of my experience with Vanguard and would not want to comment on other posts. I have been a Vanguard client for about 10 years, having come over from Merrill Lynch. Wish I had done it 20 or 30 years ago. I am much more of a buy and hold investor so for day traders or very frequent traders this review will not address your situation. I have accounts for myself and my wife, sub accounts for our IRA's and sub accounts for my kids college investments.

Over the years I have had to call Vanguard numerous times for assistance and have had a professional, informative experience every single time. I have never, not once experienced rude, unprofessional behavior but rather received answers to the questions I had. I do notice that some transactions require a bit more hoop jumping as far as paperwork but in this day and age of identity theft I am fine with that.

I see Vanguard as a trade-off. I received more "personal service" from Merrill, periodic phone calls,etc., but I also paid a hefty price in commissions and fees that I do not pay at Vanguard. I kept getting sold ML mutual funds that made them money but did nothing for me. I realized that I could do just as good or better myself so I read everything I could on investing for about 6 months, put together a plan and executed it with Vanguard and am 100% satisfied with that decision.

Our nest egg has grown considerably and I am positive that it would not have with Merrill or any other high cost, high fee investment house. You just have to know going in that you will have more control and ultimately more responsibility for your investments.

by Guest, 11/27/2013


Cons: arrogant customer service, incompetent, irresponsible to client's needs

I wanted to transfer $1.5mm from fidelity and found the front office people very inept and ill informed. They were reluctant in providing the management agreement for my review unless I committed to signing up. I wanted a sample copy of the client's annual report and was provided sample schedules in miniature where they could not be read unless a strong magnifier was used. When I asked for a regular size copy of the report, it took several calls to three people before they responded no regular size model reports are available. I took a look at their customer reviews on line and am grateful to find out early their customer service is horrible, they are arrogant,have a take it leave attitude and are generally incompetent. Beware, they appear interested in themselves first and not at all responsive to the client needs.

by Sower, 11/27/2013

Pros: polite workers, low fees

Cons: poor customer service,

I have been a VG customer for 10+ years. I first rolled over my wifes 401k and just recently moved my retirement acct into VG after retiring. I have done most of my contact over the years on-line but the 3-4 times I have had to call the CS folks they were helpful and polite. The most recent (a week or 2 ago) was when I didn't understand their accounting method in my brokerage acct. and called and spoke to a young lady. She said she understood my question but didn't have an immediate answer. After asking to put me on hold she came back in a minute and fully explained the process - so to date I have had great dealings with VG and their CS folks. If I had a complaint, it would be when you make a trade and buy a stock it takes all day for your money to be posted so if you're looking to make a quick turnaround profit, you'll have to wait for the next day. Maybe that's good, gives me a little reflection time :). So for a 2 dollar trade and access to some of the best low cost Mutuals on the market I'm sticking w/ VG!

by rob zhunt, 11/27/2013


Cons: Incompetent service representatives

Vanguard is terrible, Incompetent service representatives who are not familiar with their own policies so you get constant calls for verification., had to go through ridiculous loopholes to withdraw. Closed my account.

by Popart, 11/27/2013


Cons: unreasonable fees policy

I beg to differ with you. The $500,000 must be in Vanguard Funds and/or Vanguard EFTs. They do not count any funds in the brokerage accounts.

When I first started with them, the requirement for Flagship status (some free and low cost trades, free Turbotax, etc.) was, I believe, $500,000 in total assets. Then they raised that to $1,000,000 in total assets. Now they have changed that to $1,000,000 in Vanguard Funds and EFTs. And noone is grandfathered in. The change in requirements affect each class--Flagship, Voyager,etc.

by Rodger, 11/27/2013

Pros: excellent service, low stock commissions


Been investing with Vanguard for many years. If you have total assets with them over $500,000.00 stock commissions are only $2 a trade. That's hard to beat. I still pay a $25 annual fee for an Annuity I have with them but that doesn't concern me considering the excellent service I have received all these years.

by anomous, 11/27/2013


Cons: ensecure website,

There website is a very big problem. Some users cannot trade bonds on Bonddesk. All the equity guys may think this is a non-issue but real investors buy bonds and stocks. A secure reliable site that works is all any one that is a real investor needs.

by Will, 11/27/2013


Cons: for long terms investors

I also agree with your comments. Vanguard is not going to give you a bunch of trading tools to do your own technical market analysis (which lets be honest 90% of the population has no clue how to do this anyway let alone be successful with it). Vanguard is for long term investors, not day traders. I would expect people to be unhappy with Vanguard if they opened an account there and wanted those types of services.

by RPR, 11/27/2013

Pros: fast online trade execution, reliable brokerage


I concur with everything you have said about Vanguard. My brokerage experience has been positive. Vanguard is definitely for the self directed buy and hold INVESTOR.

I can comment on the trade executions. On line they are very fast. Broker assisted, they are also quick. $7 either way (Voyager clients). What more can you ask?

by hardrightedge, 11/27/2013

Pros: very competitive fees

Cons: more money you have to invest, less frequently you trade

I'm considering moving my on-line brokerage account to Vanguard after being a fund investor with them for many years, and the comments here reflect what I would expect from Vanguard.

The more money you have to invest, the less frequently you trade, the more you focus on index ETFs, the more self-directed you happen to be, and the more you rely on a variety of other research resources, the better Vanguard adds up. Their fees are very competitive for infrequent traders, i.e., long view investors. Clearly, this is not the place for active traders and Vanguard makes no pretense to being such. The low-cost approach should indicate this is not the place for hand-holding.

I don't see any comments here on trade execution, but it would not surprise me if there are brokers out there who can get you a couple extra pennies per share on a trade, but if your holding period is long the difference is insignificant. On the other hand, given Vanguard's financial heft and conservative culture, you won't find yourself entangled in an MF Global or like fiasco.

When buying shoes you don't expect one size to fit all. Why expect that from a brokerage?

by Dave, 11/27/2013


Cons: unreadable tax statements

No one mentioned tax statements. Some are unreadable. Some like trade king have maxit, which pops out completed schedule-d at tax time. Any brokerage review should have this super important subject included. If anything is rated top notch by Barrons It is probably worthless, just paid advertisement.

by hardrightedge, 11/27/2013



I would add, star ratings are irrelevant. Best fit depends on personal needs and objectives.

by Remy, 11/27/2013


Cons: the worst customer service, incompetent representatives

Vanguard is a horrible campany! They have the worst customer service and could care less! I once went on a interview there and they kept me waiting for over 45 minutes without any apologies or regrets. When the interviewer showed up, she just stared at her piece of paper without any eye contact. The second interviewer was the same. I was a long-time customer there but after seeing the type of people they hire, I pulled all of my money out of there. They are awful! They stand behind the slogan that they are client owned which is a joke and a half. You are better investing elsewhere, your payoff will be worth it in the long run.

by Scott, 11/27/2013



What if I only want an account with them only for the vanguard funds? It's their own product so I could not worry about their fees? It should be easier (and cheaper) than getting it through third parties?

by Ron, 11/27/2013



I was referring to their mutual fund operation. Their brokerage operation is quite acceptable for my needs as a buy and hold dividend investor. :-)

by Ron, 11/27/2013

Pros: efficient service, varius ways of money transfer, low costs


I've been with Vanguard for twenty years with over 200K invested between mutual funds, brokerage and money market accounts. I've experienced none of the hideous experiences some of these other people talk about. I find them to be very efficient and have never had any sort of administrative or paperwork screwup. I can transfer money between my accounts either by phone or on-line.

Having said that, I do agree that they do not give touchy-feely service. They don't hold your hand and won't always say what you want to hear. You state your business, they take care of it and it's done. I've had one complaint about a rep. in 20 years, about which I spoke to a manager and I received a call of apology from the representative the next day.

I stick with them because nobody has a better stable of funds at lower costs. Contrary to uneducated opinion, only 18% of their funds are indexes, not counting ETFs, which are all indexes, regardless of the issuer. Their brokerage "stuff" is simple and competitive. I don't do options, futures, FOREX, day trade or trade on margin, strictly stocks and ETFs. I trade about a dozen times a year. They are fine for my needs.

by Kelly, 11/27/2013


Cons: terrible customer service

Vanguard's customer service is terrible. I have yet to talk to a person there who was helpful. They are condescending, disrespectful, and arrogant. My favorite line from the last call was that a plan administrator would not call me back because they felt my question had already been answered and it would be a waste of the person's time. I'm stuck with them for my employer plan, but if I ever see them in the future, my money will be put elsewhere.

by Ron, 11/27/2013

Pros: good service

Cons: primitive research options

I'm a Vanguard Voyager customer and my experience has been positive. I rolled over an IRA brokerage account from MS/Smith Barney and it was handled seamlessly.

I would categorize myself as an investor, not a trader. I buy/sell approximately a dozen times a year. I'm charged $7 for trades, online or on the phone. I haven't had any problems with the brokers, other than a certain aloofness, typical of people in the northeastern part of the country where Vanguard is located.

I do agree that the research options are primitive, to say the least, and I am looking at other more advanced brokerages for some additional disposable income that I have to invest. Scottrade and Options House are a couple of them. I'll stick with Vanguard with this current account, however.

by Elaine, 11/27/2013



My mother died in 2009. They have refused to disburse her estate - citing all sorts of excuses. We have sent birth and death certificates. Notorized copies of the will. Notorized letters from the executor and my sisters. Letters from my mothers attorney. There's always something preventing them from disbursing the funds.

Please - do not do business with this company. You get a better and more timely response from a Nigerian King wanting to discuss a long-lost relative.

by M. Reilly, 11/27/2013


Cons: simply wants to make profit

had the exact same experience with Fidelity when I rolled over my 401 K to another brokerage house. Our financial advisor told us we would have trouble with Fidelity - and we did. They are known for that, None of them want you to take your money out. Vanguard is no exception.

by John, 11/27/2013


Cons: Worst customer service

I've had a vanguard acct for 20+ years. Worst customer service Ive ever experienced due to their haughty arrogance.
I use them only for trading vanguard funds.

by John, 11/27/2013


Cons: High commissions, stupid workers

High commissions. Brokers are assholes. You can do better almost anywhere else.

by IODutton, 11/27/2013

Pros: great website

Cons: nice broker

I think you need to update your chart of fees. It makes it look like Vanguard charges $35 every time you make a mutual fund purchase, but the vast majority of their funds are no load funds that charge no fee when you make a purchase. Instead of writing "Mutual funds: Standard: $35; Voyager® and Voyager Select®: $20; Flagship®, $8" I think you should change that to something like "Vanguard mutual funds, free, all other mutual funds..."

Additionally, on this page you list a $3 per transaction fee for Dollar-cost-averaging, but on the page linked to under "all Vanguard fees" it lists a zero fee for DCA.

Great website though and thanks for the great review articles. I have my 401k with Vanguard but am shopping for a home for my IRA and regular investment accounts that will be better for active trading. With Vanguard I put everything in a single diversified mutual fund and plan to just keep adding to it up to retirement, regardless of how the market is behaving. But I'm looking to be more active with the rest of my money. This site is a great resource.

by Matt, 11/27/2013


Cons: awful customer service

My comments below may not be exactly what this thread is about, but I wanted to voice my opinion to anyone who googles "Vanguard reviews".

I had my 401k invested with Vanguard for years, but when I changed companies and wanted to roll it over I had a terrible time with their customer service. They erroneously told me the address that the rollover checks would be mailed to after numerous confirmations of where it was going, so they ended up getting lost in the mail for almost a month. Turns out my previous company had the wrong mailing address and they mailed it for some reason, even when I repeatedly asked the Vanguard representatives "Are you sure this is where the checks are going?". Why are they mailing checks these days anyway?!

During this whole fiasco I was told I'd be getting called back which never happened, they were supposed to reissue the checks and screwed that up, oh, and the Euro crashed and I lost a few thousand dollars.

I would not recommend Vanguard to anyone, purely because of their customer service.

by Ron, 11/27/2013

Pros: simple onlone trades, instantaneous confirmation

Cons: research tools

When were these reviews written? I transferred my brokerage account to Vanguard from Morgan Stanley/Smith Barney a year and a half ago and I couldn't be happier. Stock and fund trades are $7.00 whether online or phone-cheapest I've found in the industry. Online trades are simple to do, and confirmation is instantaneous. I will grant that their research tools aren't much, but I do my own on other financial blogs and sites. The money I save on trades allows me to subscribe to vehicles like Morningstar.

by Scott, 11/27/2013


Cons: bad customer service, a lot of paperwork

I'm having a terrible time dealing with Vanguard's customer service personnel, just trying to effect a change of address. Forms that will have to be sealed by a notary public, when I was able to do the same with my American Funds account online. My most recent conversation with Vanguard's poor excuse for customer service has just convinced me to pull out all of my Vanguard funds, and transfer them to my American Funds account

by Greg, 11/27/2013

Pros: low-cost index funds


In regards to account fees for a taxable investment account, (or traditional IRA or ROTH-IRA for that matter), this comes from their website:

"Vanguard charges a $20 annual account service fee for each Vanguard fund in which you have a balance under $10,000 in an account. You can eliminate this fee by signing up for our e-service package. This fee also does not apply if you're a Voyager, Voyager Select, or Flagship client. See how you qualify for our Flagship and Voyager Services."

The only low balance fees seem to be in regards to their VanguardAdvantage Account

"VanguardAdvantage® Account

Offered to clients of Voyager Select ($30, charged annually) and Flagship (free).
Insufficient funds: $20. Stop payment: $15. Checkbook reorder: Voyager Select, $9.95; Flagship, free. VanguardAdvantage Billpay® service: Voyager Select, $4.95 per month; Flagship, free. Possible fees at automated teller machines not affiliated with PNC Bank.

In conclusion, for a regular Vanguard Brokerage Service Account, there is no fees unless you want to receive paper statements instead of e-delivery. As always, consult Vanguard's website directly to obtain information first hand but this should give you a good idea of their services. I like Vanguard for their low-cost index funds.

Essentially, signing up for the e-service delivery of statements waives the fee.

by Michael, 11/27/2013


Cons: HORRIBLE CUSTOMER SERVICE, useless research and trading facilities

Internal SNAFUs make customer experience horrible. Incredibly slow to convert from 401k to IRA. forms galore for everything. IRA account doesn't automatically have brokerage account. Their research and trading facilities are useless and laughable. Don't do it, just move your money to a good discount broker.

by Bodan, 11/22/2011



Vanguard is a good place to keep really long-term, lazy, sometimes re-balanced index fund money. As a trading platform they are not even in the running. If you keep enough money with them and fall asleep for five years their charges are very low. However if you want to trade anything use another broker.

by dcs, 10/18/2011

Pros: who are they???

Cons: can't find out???

Don't deal with... can't get my late mother's funds out... Tried to insist that funds be transferred to an inherited IRA with payments over my life expectancy....refuse to abide by IRS documented and particular case tax rate......... Finds a good firm that will let you get funds out when you want to.


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Leading U.S. Brokerage Review Websites About Vanguard Brokerage

"Vanguard is a provider of mutual funds as well as online brokerage services. As a client of Vanguard Brokerage Services, you can buy individual stocks and bonds as well as mutual funds outside of the Vanguard family. Although the pricing structure favors account holders with significant funds in Vanguard accounts, even if you have less than $50,000 in Vanguard, the price per trade competes with online stock brokers better known as discount brokers."

TopTen Reviews

"Vanguard is great if you use their funds and ETFs. When you venture outside of this realm, their service is ok at best. If you ever decide to buy individual stocks, you are best to find another stock broker for that purpose... It is assumed you go for Vanguard only for their low cost indexed mutual funds and ETFs. Though they are no longer have exclusivity in this area. Most mutual fund houses offer similar, and in some cases lower annual fees when compared to Vanguard."

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Vanguard reviewed by former and current clients. Vanguard customer reviews: 69. Rating: 2.