Advertiser Disclosure – This content was reviewed and approved by Vanguard. Opinions expressed are the authors alone. (Investor Junkie ratings for banks, brokers, robo-advisors and credit cards are weighted averages of the five or more categories we consider, depending on the product, which include fees, transparency, ease of use, variety of available options and rates. Factors we consider include advisory fees, user-experience, customer service and mobile technology. The ratings are from poor (one to four out of 10), satisfactory (five to seven out of 10) to excellent (eight and up).
What Is Vanguard Personal Advisor Services?
Vanguard Personal Advisor Services is an investment management service offered by Vanguard Advisers, Inc. The Personal Advisor Service offers a full suite of investment management and advice. This includes asset allocation, tax-efficient investing, and personal investment coaching during scary times in the market.
Vanguard has approximately $6.2 trillion in global assets under management (as of 1.31.2020). It is the largest mutual fund manager in the world and the second-largest provider of exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Their mutual funds and ETFs are known in the financial services industry as having some of the lowest management fees and expenses.
Vanguard Personal Advisor Services brings these low-cost investment choices to clients who want a personally managed investment portfolio.
Vanguard Personal Advisor Services Features
|Tax Loss Harvesting|
Weekly, Biweekly, Monthly and Bimonthly
|Customer Service||Phone M-F 8A-8P ET; Email M-F|
How Does Vanguard Personal Advisor Services Work?
For new clients, a Vanguard advisor will develop a financial plan that includes life goals, review of current investments and determination of future income needs. The financial plan will be customized to the client's unique financial situation.
After developing an initial plan, the advisor puts the plan into action by building a portfolio with a mix of low-cost diversified mutual fund and ETF investments based on the client's individual goals.
Using Vanguard's online interface or mobile app, the client can view all portfolio holdings and investment performance and keep track of goals.
A Vanguard advisor reviews quarterly and rebalances the client's portfolio if needed, to keep the portfolio on course to meet investment goals and objectives. Vanguard portfolio management software does most of the grunt work of tracking asset allocation and keeping the portfolio on track.
Vanguard advisors select funds based on the individual investment objectives of the client and Vanguard advisors tend to recommend low-cost Vanguard multual funds and ETF's.
For clients transferring in non-Vanguard funds with significant capital gains, Vanguard's advisors may keep those non-Vanguard funds in the portfolio to avoid taxation on the gains.
Progress reports are sent out quarterly. However, clients can contact their advisor any time they would like and as often as they would like. Advisors are available by phone, email and videoconference from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM Eastern Time.
- Brokerage Trading Services — Vanguard utilizes Vanguard Brokerage Services for all trades and transactions.
- Brokerage Accounts covered by SIPC insurance — accounts at Vanguard are covered up to $500,000 and by excess coverage from Lloyd's of London up to $50,000,000 per account.
Vanguard Personal Advisor Services Screenshots
Vanguard Personal Advisor Services has an annual fee based on the amount of assets being managed. The fee is a flat 0.30% of all assets under management. That amounts to $150 per year on a $50,000 managed account or $1,500 per year on a half million dollar portfolio. The fees become less pricey the higher up the investment ladder you go:
- 0.30% on the first $5 million in assets
- 0.25% on the assets between $5 million and $10 million
- 0.10% on the assets between $10 million and $25 million
- 0.05% on the assets above $25 million
*Please note, the fee is billed quarterly to you account
In addition to the 0.30% management fee, you'll pay expenses for the underlying funds. Vanguard's funds have an asset-weighted average expense ratio of 0.10% as of December 2019. Vanguard advisors use only Vanguard mutual funds and ETFs, which do not incur brokerage commissions at Vanguard.
Vanguard Personal Advisor Services Pros & Cons
Personal Advice—Unlike some robo advisors, you actually get a live person managing your account and in charge of your investments.
Low Fees—At 0.30%, Vanguard's annual management fee is much lower than a traditional financial advisor.
Access to Vanguard Funds—Vanguard offers some of the lowest expense funds in the mutual fund and ETF universe, and all Personal Advisor Services clients get access to the very low-fee Admiral class mutual funds with no per-fund minimums.
High Minimum Deposit—Beginning investors will have to look at other robo advisors since the minimum is $50,000.
Not the Cheapest Robo Advisor—Firms like WiseBanyan and Wealthfront are cheaper, especially at higher deposit amounts.
No Tax-Loss Harvesting—Unlike some of the other robo advisors, they lack this functionality. However, they do allocate efficiently between taxable and tax-deferred accounts within the service.
No In-Person Meetings—You'll have to deal with your advisor by phone, email or video chat since Vanguard doesn't have national or regional physical offices.
Vanguard Personal Advisor Services Competitors & Alternatives
|Minimum to Open Account||$100,000||$0||$50,000|
|Advice||Automated||Human Assisted||Human Assisted|
|Socially Responsible Investing|
Vanguard is my favorite investment company, so I might be a little biased in this review. I trust them with over a half million of my own dollars. It's nearly impossible to beat their low investment fees in their mutual fund and ETF lineup.
Vanguard Personal Advisor Services builds on the Vanguard reputation of delivering low-fee investment products by offering a full-service investment management relationship for a bargain of 0.30% in annual fees. Given the low cost of the underlying Vanguard funds in their recommended portfolios, the full-service Personal Advisor Services total management fees will come in around 0.50% or less.
That's an amazingly low total fee that compares favorably against most actively managed mutual funds that don't come with a personal advisor or investment management services.
Would I recommend this service to others? Yes! If you need hand-holding with your investments, Vanguard Personal Advisor Services is a compelling new entry in the money management field. The fees are straightforward and advisors don't have vested interests in up-selling you on expensive and unnecessary financial products just to make a few more bucks on commissions.
Because of this, I give Vanguard Personal Advisor Services 8 out of 10 stars. The missing stars come down to the fact that you are still paying a 0.30% fee for advice each year (other robo advisors are somewhat cheaper) and the lack of tax-loss harvesting. For professional money management, a 0.30% annual fee is still very competitive, the Vanguard name is trusted, and the service offering looks solid, hence the 8-star rating.
Disclaimer: I own many Vanguard mutual funds and ETFs, some of which are mentioned in this article.Vanguard Disclosure - Vanguard Personal Advisor Services are provided by Vanguard Advisers, Inc., a registered investment advisor, or by Vanguard National Trust Company, a federally chartered, limited purpose trust company.
The services provided to clients who elect to receive ongoing advice will vary based upon the amount of assets in a portfolio. Please review the Form CRS and Vanguard Personal Advisor Services Brochure for important details about the service, including its asset based service levels and fee breakpoints.
VAI is a subsidiary of VGI and an affiliate of VMC. Neither VAI nor its affiliates guarantee profits or protection from losses.