What happened to Flagship Reps?

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bru
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What happened to Flagship Reps?

Post by bru »

Flagship client for 10+ years and I can't even reach anyone for two days. Even my secure message through their site has gone unanswered. My previous rep of course moved on to another position in the company, not that it really matters since he was never available either.

Got a call back from a non Flagship rep who was clueless. Fidelity answers my calls. Vanguard has clearly gotten too big to take care of their clients properly. I guess Vanguard wants me to close my account.
abner kravitz
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Re: What happened to Flagship Reps?

Post by abner kravitz »

Fidelity has been pretty bad lately also. Yesterday it was 45 minutes, but today was better at 20 minutes. It's been this way for a few months now. They do give you the option for a callback though.
cas
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Re: What happened to Flagship Reps?

Post by cas »

I can understand your frustration, and this comment isn't going to make you feel any better, but...

A rather noticeable percentage of posts on this forum yesterday had the format

"I just realized I flubbed up my IRA contribution this year ([or, alternatively] I'm nervous about the mechanics of doing a Roth conversion for the first time this year), but [fill brokerage in here] has an eternal hold time. So I'm asking my question on bogleheads instead."

And the "[fill brokerage in here]" definitely wasn't all Vanguard. Seemed like they must all be swamped by end-of-year calls. (And, judging from the unscientfic boglehead's sample, seemed like a lot of those calls had to do with people urgently want to do/correct something because they had just figured out their year-end income numbers.)
Impatience
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Re: What happened to Flagship Reps?

Post by Impatience »

Bogleheads want to pay zero commissions and fees and have .03% expense ratios on their funds, but they also want top tier customer service and special treatment every step of the way.

Have you considered the fact that it’s December 29th?
Jags4186
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Re: What happened to Flagship Reps?

Post by Jags4186 »

Impatience wrote: Tue Dec 29, 2020 11:22 am Bogleheads want to pay zero commissions and fees and have .03% expense ratios on their funds, but they also want top tier customer service and special treatment every step of the way.

Have you considered the fact that it’s December 29th?
Yup. Isn't B-School 101 this chart?

Image

Pick 2. I know which ones Vanguard gives.
stan1
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Re: What happened to Flagship Reps?

Post by stan1 »

Impatience wrote: Tue Dec 29, 2020 11:22 am Bogleheads want to pay zero commissions and fees and have .03% expense ratios on their funds, but they also want top tier customer service and special treatment every step of the way.
Correct, Vanguard has made a business decision that their low cost asset management business (mutual funds, ETFs) isn't going subsidize a complimentary high quality asset administration business (brokerage, record keeping, customer support) any more. Every time I log in I get a popup and a banner advertising PAS which they make money from.

But why are people calling? Converting a mutual fund to an ETF does require a call. What else cannot be done on the Vanguard website? What question can't be answered with an internet search quicker and possibly more accurately?
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HueyLD
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Re: What happened to Flagship Reps?

Post by HueyLD »

bru wrote: Tue Dec 29, 2020 11:02 am Flagship client for 10+ years and I can't even reach anyone for two days. Even my secure message through their site has gone unanswered. My previous rep of course moved on to another position in the company, not that it really matters since he was never available either.

Got a call back from a non Flagship rep who was clueless. Fidelity answers my calls. Vanguard has clearly gotten too big to take care of their clients properly. I guess Vanguard wants me to close my account.
Vanguard has replaced FS reps with Relationship Managers. I guess Vanguard doesn’t want to waste their money on those with only lowly $1 million dollars in assets.
tj
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Re: What happened to Flagship Reps?

Post by tj »

I mean, you are calling at one of the busiest times of the year. Is there a reason you waited until late December to call?
Impatience
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Re: What happened to Flagship Reps?

Post by Impatience »

HueyLD wrote: Tue Dec 29, 2020 11:34 am
bru wrote: Tue Dec 29, 2020 11:02 am Flagship client for 10+ years and I can't even reach anyone for two days. Even my secure message through their site has gone unanswered. My previous rep of course moved on to another position in the company, not that it really matters since he was never available either.

Got a call back from a non Flagship rep who was clueless. Fidelity answers my calls. Vanguard has clearly gotten too big to take care of their clients properly. I guess Vanguard wants me to close my account.
Vanguard has replaced FS reps with Relationship Managers. I guess Vanguard doesn’t want to waste their money on those with only lowly $1 million dollars in assets.
Indeed: $1,000,000 in assets at a .08% ER will net Vanguard a grand total of $800 in revenue per year. How much effort are most businesses going to put into pursuing $800?
stan1
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Re: What happened to Flagship Reps?

Post by stan1 »

Impatience wrote: Tue Dec 29, 2020 11:37 am
HueyLD wrote: Tue Dec 29, 2020 11:34 am
bru wrote: Tue Dec 29, 2020 11:02 am Flagship client for 10+ years and I can't even reach anyone for two days. Even my secure message through their site has gone unanswered. My previous rep of course moved on to another position in the company, not that it really matters since he was never available either.

Got a call back from a non Flagship rep who was clueless. Fidelity answers my calls. Vanguard has clearly gotten too big to take care of their clients properly. I guess Vanguard wants me to close my account.
Vanguard has replaced FS reps with Relationship Managers. I guess Vanguard doesn’t want to waste their money on those with only lowly $1 million dollars in assets.
Indeed: $1,000,000 in assets at a .08% ER will net Vanguard a grand total of $800 in revenue per year. How much effort are most businesses going to put into pursuing $800?
Oh, it gets even better: Vanguard makes the same $800 whether you use them as the administrator for your Vanguard ETFs or another brokerage. Seems like a reasonably smart business strategy to offload a cost center to another company. As someone who owns Vanguard funds/ETFs and generally doesn't need a lot of special assistance why would I disagree with that strategy?
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galawdawg
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Re: What happened to Flagship Reps?

Post by galawdawg »

No more Flagship representatives. Now you get to wait in the phone queue for the first available representative and hope they have the training and experience to competently handle your inquiry. From the comments of other Bogleheads, it is pretty hit or miss.

The issues with Vanguard have been the subject of increasingly common complaints and there have been multiple threads on the subject over the past several years. This past couple of months it seems to be discussed with greater frequency here.

For example:
viewtopic.php?t=331644
viewtopic.php?t=332949
viewtopic.php?t=334227
viewtopic.php?t=321456
viewtopic.php?t=280705

And to pacify the Vanguard fans allow balanced discussion, there is even one thread for those to post who have not been experiencing any problems with Vanguard: viewtopic.php?t=297608. Even so, don't be surprised if some of those folks blame you for having the nerve to call Vanguard and actually expect timely and competent service! :shock:

Personally, I haven't experienced any issues with Vanguard in the past ten months or so. Of course, that may be because I ended up moving my entire portfolio to E*TRADE (after thirty years at Vanguard)! :wink:

Good luck!
Dead Man Walking
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Re: What happened to Flagship Reps?

Post by Dead Man Walking »

Is the service any better with PAS?

DMW
scooter
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Re: What happened to Flagship Reps?

Post by scooter »

I also enjoyed my flagship rep and my frustration is when you call and finally get connected the person tells you that another group needs to handle your issue and you get drop to the bottom of the call list and start all over again

Maybe a better directory when you first call in might help like press 1 for etc etc

Maybe too many people are also working from home.
TravelGeek
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Re: What happened to Flagship Reps?

Post by TravelGeek »

abner kravitz wrote: Tue Dec 29, 2020 11:10 am Fidelity has been pretty bad lately also. Yesterday it was 45 minutes, but today was better at 20 minutes. It's been this way for a few months now. They do give you the option for a callback though.
(bolding added)

Vanguard offered that callback option, too, when I called them a couple of weeks ago for a change that I couldn't make online.
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Helo80
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Re: What happened to Flagship Reps?

Post by Helo80 »

Jags4186 wrote: Tue Dec 29, 2020 11:27 am
Impatience wrote: Tue Dec 29, 2020 11:22 am Bogleheads want to pay zero commissions and fees and have .03% expense ratios on their funds, but they also want top tier customer service and special treatment every step of the way.

Have you considered the fact that it’s December 29th?
Yup. Isn't B-School 101 this chart?

Image

Pick 2. I know which ones Vanguard gives.

Yup --- I'm pretty sure Edward Jones or NWM would be available within minutes for a zoom call or even lunch (for large portfolios). But, it comes at a cost.

Most of us would prefer lower fees/expenses if we have to endure long hold times and slow CSR responses.
Thank God for Wall Street Bets.
Silverado
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Re: What happened to Flagship Reps?

Post by Silverado »

bru wrote: Tue Dec 29, 2020 11:02 am Flagship client for 10+ years and I can't even reach anyone for two days. Even my secure message through their site has gone unanswered. My previous rep of course moved on to another position in the company, not that it really matters since he was never available either.

Got a call back from a non Flagship rep who was clueless. Fidelity answers my calls. Vanguard has clearly gotten too big to take care of their clients properly. I guess Vanguard wants me to close my account.
It would be helpful to some us to understand what you are needing to do. It would for sure help me plan things to see what sorts of things people need done that cause them to dial the phone.

Also, you seem to say you have had problems in the past '...he was never available either'. How long have you had problems? The entire decade plus?
crswvc
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Re: flagship rep

Post by crswvc »

stan1 wrote: Tue Dec 29, 2020 11:30 am But why are people calling? Converting a mutual fund to an ETF does require a call. What else cannot be done on the Vanguard website?
I have to call anytime i wish to withdraw cash from my margin loan and transfer it to my bank.
never found a way to do it from their website
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Chip Munk
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Re: What happened to Flagship Reps?

Post by Chip Munk »

Dead Man Walking wrote: Tue Dec 29, 2020 12:57 pm Is the service any better with PAS?

DMW
No. I'm in PAS and was on hold for just under an hour to do a Roth conversion today. When you consider that the PAS overlay on the website prevents us from doing a Roth conversion online, it's incredibly annoying. Fortunately, once I got through, the rep was very good.
palanzo
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Re: What happened to Flagship Reps?

Post by palanzo »

tj wrote: Tue Dec 29, 2020 11:35 am I mean, you are calling at one of the busiest times of the year. Is there a reason you waited until late December to call?
Perhaps because Vanguard just updated dividend distributions? And TT released a version that is somewhat stable?
palanzo
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Re: What happened to Flagship Reps?

Post by palanzo »

Chip Munk wrote: Tue Dec 29, 2020 4:17 pm
Dead Man Walking wrote: Tue Dec 29, 2020 12:57 pm Is the service any better with PAS?

DMW
No. I'm in PAS and was on hold for just under an hour to do a Roth conversion today. When you consider that the PAS overlay on the website prevents us from doing a Roth conversion online, it's incredibly annoying. Fortunately, once I got through, the rep was very good.
Do you know why PAS prevents you from doing a Roth conversion online?
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fishandgolf
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Re: What happened to Flagship Reps?

Post by fishandgolf »

Helo80 wrote: Tue Dec 29, 2020 1:46 pm
Jags4186 wrote: Tue Dec 29, 2020 11:27 am
Impatience wrote: Tue Dec 29, 2020 11:22 am Bogleheads want to pay zero commissions and fees and have .03% expense ratios on their funds, but they also want top tier customer service and special treatment every step of the way.

Have you considered the fact that it’s December 29th?
Yup. Isn't B-School 101 this chart?

Image

Pick 2. I know which ones Vanguard gives.

Yup --- I'm pretty sure Edward Jones or NWM would be available within minutes for a zoom call or even lunch (for large portfolios). But, it comes at a cost.

Most of us would prefer lower fees/expenses if we have to endure long hold times and slow CSR responses.
+100
......and I'll bet ya the Edward Jones reps sent out Christmas Cards this year. :moneybag :D
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BolderBoy
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Re: What happened to Flagship Reps?

Post by BolderBoy »

bru wrote: Tue Dec 29, 2020 11:02 amI guess Vanguard wants me to close my account.
By all means. If enough folks leave VG for "greener pastures", then the call volume would drop enormously and suddenly the wait times would drop enormously, too.

Win-Win for everyone, right?

The call-back option works quite well (and is cheaper than burning up toll-free-line minutes on-hold).
"Never underestimate one's capacity to overestimate one's abilities" - The Dunning-Kruger Effect
nalor511
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Re: What happened to Flagship Reps?

Post by nalor511 »

Fidelity is no better. I was 95th in line for live chat, and it disconnected before I got my turn. They're all busy, and service is not a profit center, it's a cost center.
student
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Re: What happened to Flagship Reps?

Post by student »

Just a data point. I had to call TD Ameritrade about two weeks ago, almost no wait.
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Chip Munk
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Re: What happened to Flagship Reps?

Post by Chip Munk »

palanzo wrote: Tue Dec 29, 2020 4:23 pm
Chip Munk wrote: Tue Dec 29, 2020 4:17 pm
Dead Man Walking wrote: Tue Dec 29, 2020 12:57 pm Is the service any better with PAS?

DMW
No. I'm in PAS and was on hold for just under an hour to do a Roth conversion today. When you consider that the PAS overlay on the website prevents us from doing a Roth conversion online, it's incredibly annoying. Fortunately, once I got through, the rep was very good.
Do you know why PAS prevents you from doing a Roth conversion online?
I don't know but I'm going to ask next time I talk to my PAS advisor. I feel it is unnecessarily restrictive. Since I never had a problem getting through to a rep in a timely manner before this year, it wasn't a big concern but I had problems back in the summer as well, so it's not just an end-of-year phenomenon. For what I pay for PAS, I expect better service.
TheDDC
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Re: What happened to Flagship Reps?

Post by TheDDC »

stan1 wrote: Tue Dec 29, 2020 11:30 am
Impatience wrote: Tue Dec 29, 2020 11:22 am Bogleheads want to pay zero commissions and fees and have .03% expense ratios on their funds, but they also want top tier customer service and special treatment every step of the way.
Correct, Vanguard has made a business decision that their low cost asset management business (mutual funds, ETFs) isn't going subsidize a complimentary high quality asset administration business (brokerage, record keeping, customer support) any more. Every time I log in I get a popup and a banner advertising PAS which they make money from.

But why are people calling? Converting a mutual fund to an ETF does require a call. What else cannot be done on the Vanguard website? What question can't be answered with an internet search quicker and possibly more accurately?
Recharacterizations... Inherited investments... MF to ETF conversion... I'm sure I could think of more. Neither of these you can handle by yourself without the assistance of a rep. They could use actually IT to help and not hurt them.

-TheDDC
Rules to wealth building: 75-80% VTSAX piled high and deep, 20-25% VTIAX, 0% given away to banks, minimize amount given to medical-industrial complex
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bengal22
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Re: What happened to Flagship Reps?

Post by bengal22 »

BolderBoy wrote: Tue Dec 29, 2020 4:27 pm
bru wrote: Tue Dec 29, 2020 11:02 amI guess Vanguard wants me to close my account.
By all means. If enough folks leave VG for "greener pastures", then the call volume would drop enormously and suddenly the wait times would drop enormously, too.

Win-Win for everyone, right?

The call-back option works quite well (and is cheaper than burning up toll-free-line minutes on-hold).
I have called 3 times, talked to someone the 3Rd time, and was never given a call back option. I had an issue with check writing being taken away and had to call.
"Earn All You Can; Give All You Can; Save All You Can." .... John Wesley
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bengal22
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Re: What happened to Flagship Reps?

Post by bengal22 »

BolderBoy wrote: Tue Dec 29, 2020 4:27 pm
bru wrote: Tue Dec 29, 2020 11:02 amI guess Vanguard wants me to close my account.
By all means. If enough folks leave VG for "greener pastures", then the call volume would drop enormously and suddenly the wait times would drop enormously, too.

Win-Win for everyone, right?

The call-back option works quite well (and is cheaper than burning up toll-free-line minutes on-hold).
Duplicate
"Earn All You Can; Give All You Can; Save All You Can." .... John Wesley
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BolderBoy
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Re: What happened to Flagship Reps?

Post by BolderBoy »

Are so many folks overlooking the fact that "work from home" also applies to the thousands of cust svc reps at Vanguard? Can you imagine the IT nightmare WFH for that many people has created?

Each of those reps has to be set up with multiline phones (so they can talk to you, put you on hold and call someone else to get more info) or whatever is the modern day equivalent.

Each rep's internet connection has to be vetted for adequacy and upgraded as needed to WFH with Vanguard's servers.

Each of those reps has to have a VPN connection to VG's server farm (as opposed to being in-house and "on the corporate" LAN directly). Such VPN connections often operate at a fraction of the speed of an in-house LAN setup.

Frankly, considering the very short time the IT department had to set this up and keep it running smoothly, I'm surprised the wait times aren't several orders of magnitude greater.

I say bravo to all financial service customer reps - their job is just as tough as yours is in "holding" for your turn.
"Never underestimate one's capacity to overestimate one's abilities" - The Dunning-Kruger Effect
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Eagle33
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Re: What happened to Flagship Reps?

Post by Eagle33 »

Chip Munk wrote: Tue Dec 29, 2020 4:38 pm
palanzo wrote: Tue Dec 29, 2020 4:23 pm
Chip Munk wrote: Tue Dec 29, 2020 4:17 pm
Dead Man Walking wrote: Tue Dec 29, 2020 12:57 pm Is the service any better with PAS?

DMW
No. I'm in PAS and was on hold for just under an hour to do a Roth conversion today. When you consider that the PAS overlay on the website prevents us from doing a Roth conversion online, it's incredibly annoying. Fortunately, once I got through, the rep was very good.
Do you know why PAS prevents you from doing a Roth conversion online?
I don't know but I'm going to ask next time I talk to my PAS advisor. I feel it is unnecessarily restrictive. Since I never had a problem getting through to a rep in a timely manner before this year, it wasn't a big concern but I had problems back in the summer as well, so it's not just an end-of-year phenomenon. For what I pay for PAS, I expect better service.
It was my understanding that the PAS CFP controlled your account transaction, not you. That is part of the reason I chose to DIY.
Rocket science is not “rocket science” to a rocket scientist, just as personal finance is not “rocket science” to a Boglehead.
000
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Re: What happened to Flagship Reps?

Post by 000 »

galawdawg wrote: Tue Dec 29, 2020 11:58 am No more Flagship representatives. Now you get to wait in the phone queue for the first available representative and hope they have the training and experience to competently handle your inquiry. From the comments of other Bogleheads, it is pretty hit or miss.

The issues with Vanguard have been the subject of increasingly common complaints and there have been multiple threads on the subject over the past several years. This past couple of months it seems to be discussed with greater frequency here.

For example:
viewtopic.php?t=331644
viewtopic.php?t=332949
viewtopic.php?t=334227
viewtopic.php?t=321456
viewtopic.php?t=280705

And to pacify the Vanguard fans allow balanced discussion, there is even one thread for those to post who have not been experiencing any problems with Vanguard: viewtopic.php?t=297608. Even so, don't be surprised if some of those folks blame you for having the nerve to call Vanguard and actually expect timely and competent service! :shock:

Personally, I haven't experienced any issues with Vanguard in the past ten months or so. Of course, that may be because I ended up moving my entire portfolio to E*TRADE (after thirty years at Vanguard)! :wink:

Good luck!
And now you're getting shuttled over to Morgan Stanley right...
sherwink
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Re: What happened to Flagship Reps?

Post by sherwink »

Flagship service of yesterday is pretty much relegated to stowaway class service today. Unless you're bringing over $30 million into the place, you're not bringing enough heft and muscle worthy for consideration to their equation.
backpacker61
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Re: What happened to Flagship Reps?

Post by backpacker61 »

Silverado wrote: Tue Dec 29, 2020 1:53 pm It would be helpful to some us to understand what you are needing to do. It would for sure help me plan things to see what sorts of things people need done that cause them to dial the phone.
For me, this year; death of a family member.
Trust retitling/trustee certification.
On-boarding assets (in kind) from several non-Vanguard trust accounts into trust accounts at Vanguard.
Cost basis step-up.
Splitting trust assets between multiple beneficiaries.

I've had a Vanguard account since 1989, and I've been on the phone with them more in 2020 than 1989-2019 combined.

In a typical year, I never call them at all.
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rob
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Re: What happened to Flagship Reps?

Post by rob »

TheDDC wrote: Tue Dec 29, 2020 4:43 pm <>
But why are people calling? Converting a mutual fund to an ETF does require a call. What else cannot be done on the Vanguard website? What question can't be answered with an internet search quicker and possibly more accurately?
Recharacterizations... Inherited investments... MF to ETF conversion... I'm sure I could think of more. Neither of these you can handle by yourself without the assistance of a rep. They could use actually IT to help and not hurt them.

-TheDDC
[/quote]

Simple contributions to a Minor's Roth IRA.... Given he is limited by what he earns in a part time hourly job around school, I cannot just dump in the max at start of a year because he has to stay under his income. You would THINK that a very simple txn like an IRA contribution could be done on Vanguard's website in 2020..... You would THINK....
| Rob | Its a dangerous business going out your front door. - J.R.R.Tolkien
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galawdawg
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Re: What happened to Flagship Reps?

Post by galawdawg »

000 wrote: Tue Dec 29, 2020 9:43 pm
galawdawg wrote: Tue Dec 29, 2020 11:58 am No more Flagship representatives. Now you get to wait in the phone queue for the first available representative and hope they have the training and experience to competently handle your inquiry. From the comments of other Bogleheads, it is pretty hit or miss.

The issues with Vanguard have been the subject of increasingly common complaints and there have been multiple threads on the subject over the past several years. This past couple of months it seems to be discussed with greater frequency here.

For example:
viewtopic.php?t=331644
viewtopic.php?t=332949
viewtopic.php?t=334227
viewtopic.php?t=321456
viewtopic.php?t=280705

And to pacify the Vanguard fans allow balanced discussion, there is even one thread for those to post who have not been experiencing any problems with Vanguard: viewtopic.php?t=297608. Even so, don't be surprised if some of those folks blame you for having the nerve to call Vanguard and actually expect timely and competent service! :shock:

Personally, I haven't experienced any issues with Vanguard in the past ten months or so. Of course, that may be because I ended up moving my entire portfolio to E*TRADE (after thirty years at Vanguard)! :wink:

Good luck!
And now you're getting shuttled over to Morgan Stanley right...
Not so far. instead, I'm still having to put up with that annoying habit that E*TRADE has of quickly and competently responding to questions posed by telephone, secure message, live chat or email to my dedicated representative. :x

To add insult to injury, I don't even get those sought-after solicitations for PAS or other AUM based investor services. And to top it off, I still can't pay transaction fees on most Vanguard mutual funds. I'm starting to feel left out! They did add Morgan Stanley research reports (https://pdfhost.io/v/LE..7Mlnt_morganstanleysample.pdf) for us DIY investors, but since I only hold a two-fund portfolio and don't invest in individual stocks, I still feel neglected! :o

Seriously, other than adding the availability of the Morgan Stanley research, I haven't noticed any changes. Still getting superb service and the same great Vanguard mutual funds with no transaction fees!

:sharebeer
GmanJeff
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Re: What happened to Flagship Reps?

Post by GmanJeff »

Chip Munk wrote: Tue Dec 29, 2020 4:17 pm
Dead Man Walking wrote: Tue Dec 29, 2020 12:57 pm Is the service any better with PAS?

DMW
No. I'm in PAS and was on hold for just under an hour to do a Roth conversion today. When you consider that the PAS overlay on the website prevents us from doing a Roth conversion online, it's incredibly annoying. Fortunately, once I got through, the rep was very good.
I find that making an appointment with my rep, which is easily done through the website, results in contact at the scheduled time with no waiting.
Silverado
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Re: What happened to Flagship Reps?

Post by Silverado »

backpacker61 wrote: Tue Dec 29, 2020 10:23 pm
Silverado wrote: Tue Dec 29, 2020 1:53 pm It would be helpful to some us to understand what you are needing to do. It would for sure help me plan things to see what sorts of things people need done that cause them to dial the phone.
For me, this year; death of a family member.
Trust retitling/trustee certification.
On-boarding assets (in kind) from several non-Vanguard trust accounts into trust accounts at Vanguard.
Cost basis step-up.
Splitting trust assets between multiple beneficiaries.

I've had a Vanguard account since 1989, and I've been on the phone with them more in 2020 than 1989-2019 combined.

In a typical year, I never call them at all.
Thanks, that’s helpful. Trust trust trust. Ouch.

Also, sorry about your loss.
Seasonal
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Re: What happened to Flagship Reps?

Post by Seasonal »

BolderBoy wrote: Tue Dec 29, 2020 4:27 pm
bru wrote: Tue Dec 29, 2020 11:02 amI guess Vanguard wants me to close my account.
By all means. If enough folks leave VG for "greener pastures", then the call volume would drop enormously and suddenly the wait times would drop enormously, too.

Win-Win for everyone, right?

The call-back option works quite well (and is cheaper than burning up toll-free-line minutes on-hold).
They'd reduce the number of phone reps to take into account the number of people who left.
livesoft
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Re: What happened to Flagship Reps?

Post by livesoft »

If you were the VP of managing flagship reps at Vanguard, I think you would have noticed that most of the time they were sitting on their butts doing nothing. That is, from mid-January to mid-March, they do nothing because clients don't need them. Then after April, clients don't call them until December. In late December, all hell breaks loose in the Flagship hall at Vanguard.

So how would you solve these staffing problems?

A long-term way would be to have the Federal and State governments change tax deadlines and have 12 alternative deadlines not really based on the calendar year. You know, some 1040s due in January, some in February, some in March, ..., some in December. It would be a wild transition period. Perhaps though after looking at birth dates, the deadlines could all be based on when the taxpayer was born.

I suppose corporate deadlines could be based on quarters. Calendar quarters and not 25-cent quarters.
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bertilak
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Re: What happened to Flagship Reps?

Post by bertilak »

Seasonal wrote: Wed Dec 30, 2020 9:16 am
BolderBoy wrote: Tue Dec 29, 2020 4:27 pm
bru wrote: Tue Dec 29, 2020 11:02 amI guess Vanguard wants me to close my account.
By all means. If enough folks leave VG for "greener pastures", then the call volume would drop enormously and suddenly the wait times would drop enormously, too.

Win-Win for everyone, right?

The call-back option works quite well (and is cheaper than burning up toll-free-line minutes on-hold).
They'd reduce the number of phone reps to take into account the number of people who left.
But hysteresis might make things better for a while. :happy
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bru
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Re: What happened to Flagship Reps?

Post by bru »

HueyLD wrote: Tue Dec 29, 2020 11:34 am
Vanguard has replaced FS reps with Relationship Managers. I guess Vanguard doesn’t want to waste their money on those with only lowly $1 million dollars in assets.
I've got a lot more than that with Vanguard and Fidelity will be happy to get it. Their offerings are as good or better than Vanguard at this point.

I finally got a response through their message center and the lady basically said no more dedicated Flagship rep but a "team" to answer my call. Based on my experience in the last three days that is a lie and I don't appreciate being lied to.
Last edited by bru on Wed Dec 30, 2020 1:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Seasonal
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Re: What happened to Flagship Reps?

Post by Seasonal »

Relationship manager just seems a new term for representative.

Flagship Select gets you an individual assigned rep.

Vanguard and Schwab are at the top of JD Powers rankings: https://www.jdpower.com/business/press- ... tion-study I continue to wonder why so many people here prefer Fidelity when they do worse in the survey. Perhaps posters here are not a representative sample.

OTOH, if I consistently couldn't get a rep on the phone in a reasonable amount of time and were assured I'd get better service elsewhere (without paying much more for it), I'd move.
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bru
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Re: What happened to Flagship Reps?

Post by bru »

Seasonal wrote: Wed Dec 30, 2020 1:08 pm Relationship manager just seems a new term for representative.

Flagship Select gets you an individual assigned rep.

Vanguard and Schwab are at the top of JD Powers rankings: https://www.jdpower.com/business/press- ... tion-study I continue to wonder why so many people here prefer Fidelity when they do worse in the survey. Perhaps posters here are not a representative sample.

OTOH, if I consistently couldn't get a rep on the phone in a reasonable amount of time and were assured I'd get better service elsewhere (without paying much more for it), I'd move.
What is Flagship Select? Frankly I don't need an assigned rep. I had one once who was a complete pain, kept calling me even after I told her to stop. I should have left at that point. Now they say there are no assigned reps but a team to answer calls, which is a complete lie. I got routed to the same phone line as any other Vanguard caller and there is NO WAY to specifically reach the Flagship department.

And be aware I do EVERYTHING online and call less than once ayear on average. I was getting some warning when I tried to do a transaction which I had never seen so tried to get an answer. Still haven't gotten one.
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Re: What happened to Flagship Reps?

Post by pennywise »

I'm a Flagship customer and use Vanguard PAS. I had to call in this week several times because someone unexpectedly offered a stock donation to our newly formed nonprofit, and we didn't have a charitable investment account set up. The offer came in on December 18; I emailed my advisor who responded with instructions on how to initiate the account which I completed online on December 19. I spoke to reps 2-3 times since then including yesterday and today.

While I did have some prodigious wait times, the service itself was excellent and as noted the callback option eliminates wasted time on hold. My advisor kept in touch via email and by noon today the account was established and I had full online access, which was facilitated by a great rep who literally talked me through the entire account set up and initial log in.

My perspective is that complaining about wait times during the last 2 days of the tax year in a year which featured extreme financial upheaval for many is somewhat unkind, or at least somewhat unwarranted.

It's like judging the performance of an electrical utility by how they handle customer calls during a cat 4 hurricane :wink:
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bru
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Re: What happened to Flagship Reps?

Post by bru »

pennywise wrote: Wed Dec 30, 2020 1:21 pm
It's like judging the performance of an electrical utility by how they handle customer calls during a cat 4 hurricane :wink:
Sorry, I will not cut them slack for it being a busy time of year. I am not asking for special treatment but I expect my call to be answered. It was not, several times over the last three days.

Vanguard made the decision to treat all their clients equally when it come to getting phone service so why not go somewhere that actually appreciates the assets I have invested.
Last edited by bru on Wed Dec 30, 2020 1:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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galawdawg
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Re: What happened to Flagship Reps?

Post by galawdawg »

bru wrote: Wed Dec 30, 2020 12:55 pm I finally got a response through their message center and the lady basically said no more dedicated Flagship rep but a "team" to answer my call. Based on my experience in the last three days that is a lie and I don't appreciate being lied to.
Respectfully, OP, I'm not certain that was a lie. You do have a "team" to answer your call. The problem is that It is the same "team" that answers all calls that are placed to Vanguard! :|
stan1
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Re: What happened to Flagship Reps?

Post by stan1 »

I'm going to pour gasoline on the fire, but my suggestion would be that Vanguard charge a fixed fee for certain complex transactions ($10-20 per event) initiated by customer choices. Recharacterizations, contributions to a minor's Roth IRA, and setting up a personal charity would be examples of things that come to mind that should be at a specific customer's cost not paid for by all Vanguard investors. Yes, I'm being selfish and as a customer of Vanguard's money management services I don't want to pay these special services used by just a few.

People who hold Vanguard ETFs at other brokerages should be very vocal about this as under the current system you are subsidizing these special requests. Likewise people who own active Fidelity mutual funds should be vocal about their subsidies of Zero fund investors.
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bru
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Re: What happened to Flagship Reps?

Post by bru »

galawdawg wrote: Wed Dec 30, 2020 1:34 pm
bru wrote: Wed Dec 30, 2020 12:55 pm I finally got a response through their message center and the lady basically said no more dedicated Flagship rep but a "team" to answer my call. Based on my experience in the last three days that is a lie and I don't appreciate being lied to.
Respectfully, OP, I'm not certain that was a lie. You do have a "team" to answer your call. The problem is that It is the same "team" that answers all calls that are placed to Vanguard! :|
You are correct, whether you have $1 invested or $10 million. Here is how Vanguard describes it:

"In regards to an assigned representative, you now have direct access to a
team of representatives
rather than working exclusively with an assigned
representative.

Vanguard is constantly looking for ways to improve your experience—to be
faster, more efficient, and smarter about the way we serve your needs. You
will now be working with a team of investment professionals and when you
call, our phone system is designed to recognize the purpose of your call by
using a voice prompt. Your call will then be routed to the appropriate
specialist.

You will still receive the same benefits and level of service you’ve come
to expect. Please know, every client journey and story is extremely
important to us. This change was made with our clients in mind and we
believe that this change will enable Vanguard to service all of our clients
better, in a more efficient and thoughtful way.
"
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Re: What happened to Flagship Reps?

Post by Broken Man 1999 »

bru wrote: Wed Dec 30, 2020 1:32 pm
pennywise wrote: Wed Dec 30, 2020 1:21 pm
It's like judging the performance of an electrical utility by how they handle customer calls during a cat 4 hurricane :wink:
Sorry, I will not cut them slack for it being a busy time of year. I am not asking for special treatment but I expect my call to be answered. It was not, several times over the last three days.

Vanguard made the decision to treat all their clients equally when it come to getting phone service so why not go somewhere that actually appreciates the assets I have invested.
If you aren't getting the level of service you believe you deserve, you should find another provider. People should vote with their feet.

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FelixTheCat
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Re: What happened to Flagship Reps?

Post by FelixTheCat »

Has anyone figured out December is a brokerage firm's busy period?
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