Will Vanguard Advisors ever recommend a Fidelity Fund?

Will Vanguard Advisors ever recommend a Fidelity Fund

Will Vanguard Advisors ever recommend a Fidelity Fund?

Will Vanguard Advisors ever recommend a Fidelity Fund?

A nice email from Vanguard Personal Advisor Services popped into my personal email box recently. They (Vanguard Advisors) wanted to tell me how much they “love” me. Hmm… I’m immediately suspicious. The last email that said they loved me came from an unknown female admirer in Russia. What’s up? I immediately ponder as my eyes look for some tantalizing photo further down the page. No picture.

Vanguard Group, the bastion of Do It Yourselfers, has another arm to provide advice to their customers for a fee. Not a very large fee as advisor fees go. Just what do they offer us beloved customers for that modest fee besides love?

  • Access to advisors (no one named in particular, so I suspect it’s the newer employees getting their baptism of fire by answering customer questions)
  • A personalized financial plan. Your name will be on it. I wonder if it will cover all the facets of financial planning like getting out of debt, budgeting, insurance, real estate, estate planning, and taxes. I really wonder.
  • Portfolio management. Sounds good. Is it cookie cutter or somehow personalized to my fear of running out of money? Do they know their economist Joe Davis just predicted 4-4.5% returns for the next ten years and how that makes me feel?
  • Real-time goal tracking. Even on an app. Wow. I wonder if it makes a bonging sound when my next deposit goes into my Vanguard Roth IRA. Will the app know I’m in bed with their competitors too? I like to spread it around.
  • Investment Coaching. I couldn’t really figure out what they meant by looking around their website or Googling the “Vanguard Investment Coaching” phrase. I imagine it refers to the access to advisors listed above where they go over your investment results and make recommendations.

 As a Certified Financial Planner™, I thought about what might be missing from their offering as our firm offers competing services on a fee-only, hourly or project basis.

  • We offer advice, assistance, and coaching without regard to products or vendors. Whatever will service the client’s interest best.
  • Conflicts avoided or missing. Our SEC disclosure document details we only accept compensation from clients and management does not tell us to only recommend one firm’s products or services. We do have a bias towards Vanguard and index funds, and we’re open about that. However, we don’t “love” Vanguard, we just enjoy their non-profit business model.
  • Ongoing Relationship. We offer personal and frequent interactions with our clients including education, ideas, and assessment. We don’t have a number attached to clients. We organize them by name and year we began our relationship.

Now to answer the title of their article’s question. We love some T. Rowe Price, Fidelity, and Blackrock funds just as much as we love Vanguards products. I’m pretty sure Vanguard’s Advisors can’t say that. What else can’t they say?

So, Vanguard Advisors, we love you too, but sorry, we’ll remain independent in our personal and professional lives. Thanks for the offer.

Jim Ludwick
Jim Ludwick

Jim Ludwick is the founder of MainStreet Financial Planning. His varied education and life experiences have enabled him to apply his knowledge and experience into useful solutions for personal financial problems. His writing and broadcasting activities allow him to help many more than just individual clients. He loves a microphone.

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