While I did not have any difficulty with a recent Roth conversion at Vanguard, according to the pop up that displays on their web site and The Independent Advisor for Vanguard Investors, there have been numerous people who cannot complete conversions transactions and RMDS in the last week or so. This is a real problem if you are trying to ge tit done before the end of the year.
I will say, Schwab made tax withholding on the conversion/distribution painless and on line. Vanguard required a complicated form with many jump through hoops and final signature on Docusign. I said forget it and just bumped up my estimated tax payment.
I am finding fewer and fewer reasons to stay at Vanguard, other than one Admiral fund I have.
Total opposite of Fidelity & Schwab (where I have accounts & I am very pleased).
Literally my ears and brain hurt by the time a rep comes on. And part of the IVR message is "You can do most things online" which most definitively is false.
Can't get the app to work on my phone, but that may because the new Samsung galaxy is very buggy.
Both Vanguard and Fidelity claim they receive no PFOF. However, in Fidelity's case, that applies only to equity trades and not to options trades. With respect to Vanguard, its latest Sec 606 filings (3Q 2021) show it is currently taking no PFOF even for options.
From the NYTimes, Nov. 29, 2019: "The practice, known as “payment for order flow,” is widespread among online brokerage firms. (Fidelity and Vanguard say they do not accept such payments.)"
Vanguard's latest (3Q 2021) Sec 606 filings (no payments received):
Fidelity's latest (3Q 2021) Sec 606 filings (including payments received and/or made):
From S&P Global Market Intelligence, Oct 22, 2019: Schwab CEO: Fidelity's payment for order flow claims not 'the whole story'
There are a number of pieces saying that Fidelity doesn't charge PFOF, while Vanguard does. For example, this Business Insider column from last March says that Vanguard receives PFOF while Fidelity does not. But when one checks the 606 reports (3Q2020) that it links to, Vanguard received payments only on option orders, and the Fidelity report likewise shows Fidelity receiving payment for options orders.
With respect to Merrill, it routes all its orders to BofA Securities. Just as problematic as PFOF. The problem with PFOF is that orders get routed on a basis other than best execution. The problem with routing to your own company is that the routing is on a basis other than best execution.
Merrill's SEC 606 filings (zip files): http://public.s3.com/rule606/mlco_gwim/
Regarding one way transaction fees: AFAIK, only Fidelity and Schwab charge one way fees. Vanguard charges lower two way fees (i.e. to both buy and sell TF funds), and does not jack up that fee on Fidelity funds (unlike Schwab) or on Schwab funds (unlike Fidelity).
Like Fidelity, Vanguard enables one to buy additional shares of a TF fund for a few bucks by using its automated investing system. Fidelity charges $5 per purchase (can cancel after one purchase); Vanguard charges $3 per "dollar-cost averaging" purchase but requires two purchases. Schwab does not offer reduced rates; it charges $49.95 or $75 for each TF purchase.
Three different pricing structures. For my investing pattern, Fidelity works best. YMMV.
These fees apply to investors who are not Flagship ($1M - $5M*) or Flagship Select ($5M+*) investors.
The TF mutual fund fee is now a uniform $20 per transaction.
Voyager Select ($500K - $1M*) investors previously paid $8 per transaction.
Ahhh, to live the simple life...
*in qualifying Vanguard assets
Are there any brokerages that would accept limit orders for a fixed number of OEF shares that would trigger based on prior day's NAV? I would think it should be fairly easy for brokerages to offer this feature, especially if I already own those shares and want to sell.
Some may allow scheduling one-time purchase on a later date beyond the common automatic investment plans (AIPs), but that is not triggered by prices.
Cap gains/div estimates: IMHO Vanguard has been superb here. It provided an initial set of estimates along with a release date for an update. Its final estimates included estimates for divs.
Contrast that with many other fund shops, e.g. Morgan Stanley, which at best provided a single estimate in October (based on Sept 30th figures) and no estimate of divs.
Finding reports/prospectuses/fund info on Vanguard's site is not as streamlined as it could be (there doesn't seem to be a page aggregating all funds). Still, from the personal investor home page one can enter the name or ticker of a fund to go directly to the fund page. That page has a link to prospectuses and reports, and pretty clear information one can tab through for full holdings, management, etc.
Contrast that with Schwab. When I type Schwab 1000 into the search box on its home page it brings me to 3,338 search results. Maybe there's a fund page in there somewhere, but I can't tell.
Instead, one can use the accounts & products drop down (-> investment products-> mutual funds) to get to a generic MF page. The drop down on that page, "Find Mutual Funds" has an "Investor Information" selection. That gets one to a page listing Schwab funds, with links to the fund pages and additional links to their reports, holdings, etc.
As a brokerage, Vanguard has recently made it harder to find third party funds. I haven't found any direct way to get to the 3rd party fund page since the website revamp. One can enter another company's fund name or ticker into the home page search box to go to that particular fund. From there one finds a link to "Other companies' funds & ETFs".
That brings you to the old 3rd party page: https://investor.vanguard.com/other-funds/
Still, that's better than brokerages like Merrill or T. Rowe Price, where there doesn't seem to be any way to find out from them what third party funds they offer without opening a brokerage account.
What I've found to be the worst part of dealing with Vanguard is its phone service. Routinely 40 minutes on hold. But no worse than T. Rowe Price in that regard. (I was recently on the phone continually with both in trying to get a simple IRA transfer between the two straightend up.)
Vanguard is not the easiest fund shop to work with. But IMHO it's also far from the worst. (I think TIAA is in a league of its own, but that's a whole 'nuther story.)
Rather than starting a new thread - a related personal question, if I may. I have just one fund outside my IRAs, PRIHX. Having transferred that from TRP to Fido last year “in kind”, I’m curious which will provide tax information? Will a statement come from TRP? Fido? Or both? Thanks.
To the broader issue here, I’m of the opinion that the deterioration of service at businesses and institutions is commonplace - driven by cost constraints and profit motives. As consumers we want the lowest prices. As shareholders we want the greatest profitability. Those sometimes clash or lead to ruin of service we once found reliable. I sometimes find my self shouting angrily at Walgreen’s “robo assistant” when calling in or checking on prescriptions. But it’s a lot easier to move your prescriptions elsewhere than to transfer all your retirement money.
If there are any tax-exempt divs from the fund, you may need to go to TRP's tax site to find out what percentage is exempt from your state's income tax. This information is often provided with a 1099 that you receive directly from the fund shop. But if you get a 1099 from a brokerage, it won't have this information.
Going forward, you should be getting 1099s only from Fidelity.
Fidelity lets you schedule one-time withdrawals explicitly, i.e. there is an option for non-recurring withdrawals. The system allows you to specify which funds to sell in which amounts at the time of the withdrawal.
So while the interfaces for scheduling one-time withdrawals and one-time investments as a little different, the effect is the same. Perfectly symmetric, no bias toward gathering, or disbursing, AUM.
"[W]hile the interfaces for scheduling one-time withdrawals and one-time investments as a little different, the effect is the same. Perfectly symmetric, no bias toward gathering, or disbursing, AUM."
Please let us know where this feature (to schedule future sale of an OEF in an IRA) is hidden. I simply want to sell an OEF and buy another OEF or move the sale proceeds to the sweep MM. I am not interested in withdrawing and not eligible for RMDs.
For those interested in scheduling a future (time based, not price based) sale of an OEF at Fidelity, you get to the feature the same way as for Automatic investments. When you click "Schedule a new transfer," on the next pop-up, instead of choosing Automatic investments, choose "Recurring transfers and withdrawals."
"Recurring transfers and withdrawals
Scheduling recurring transfers and withdrawals can help you:
manage regular transfers between your Fidelity accounts
grow your managed account investments
plan to meet your required minimum distribution (RMD)"
Not what you're interested in - a sale without a withdrawal.
For completeness, one can schedule a one time withdrawal from an IRA here:
Upon closer examination, I see that one can either schedule two or more withdrawals in the future, or a single withdrawal "today". The "one time" option does not allow one to select a date for the transaction.
If one schedules a sequence of withdrawals in the future, I expect one could cancel after the first withdrawal, just as one can cancel a sequence of investments in the future after the first purchase.
Close, but not quite as I had described it. And there's one other gotcha. In order to force the desired sale, one must have no assets in MMFs in the account. To deal with that if there's cash in the account, open another IRA and transfer the cash there.
All of this is independent of RMDs, except to the extent that one can schedule RMDs rather than fixed amounts.