Vanguard Investor is popular among investors due to the stability of its low-cost funds.
It suits retirement savers and long-term investors seeking affordable investment vehicles.
It can also serve investors who invest in index funds via exchange-traded funds (ETFs) or mutual funds.
Vanguard Investor recently launched Digital Advisor, a digital advice service that assists investors with the complexities of saving or investing on the platform.
It also has Personal Advisor Services, featuring Vanguard financial advisors, who provide professional and expert advice to investors in complex financial situations.
Buyers can create a diversified investment portfolio using the ETF-based portfolio. However, the platform might disappoint active traders and investors due to its limited tools and resources.
Read on as I dive deeper into the Vanguard Investor review, looking at the highs and lows of the investment platform.
Table of Contents
Introduction to Vanguard Investor
Vanguard Investor was founded by John C. Bogle in 1975 and was initially known as Vanguard Brokerage.
The American registered investment platform was associated with low-cost investment options from its inception.
Due to its structure and design, the platform doesn’t serve short-term investors or frequent traders. Clients using the platform are expected to adhere to the firm’s approach of providing an investment experience that is educational, low-cost brokerage, and intuitive.
The company’s structure shows that the shareholders’ funds own Vanguard Investor. Eliminating outside interests and owners, the firm lacks competing royalties. The company had assets worth US$8.1 trillion under the Assets Under Management (AUM) 2022 report.
Its headquarters is in Malvern, Pennsylvania, U.S., with a workforce entailing 18800 as of January 2022. In 2020 the company reported a revenue of US$6.936 billion.
The account minimum for Vanguard Investor clients is $0. However, some funds have a minimum investment of $1000.
Vanguard Investor Costs
In January 2020, Vanguard Investor introduced a zero-commission brokerage system for its clients.
The platform was already executing most of its trades without commission due to its no-commission ETF offering.
Vanguard Investor costs:
- Customers trading online equity, ETF, and Vanguard mutual funds enjoy commission-free trades. Additionally, at the base commission, they don’t have a limit on the number of transactions they can perform.
- Option trades lack the per-leg commission, but there is a $1 per-contract commission. The per-contract commission is higher than other online trading and investment platforms.
- The platform offers free trades to its customers. Customers with $1 million in their accounts get 25 free trades annually, while those with higher than $5 million get 100 free trades annually. Additionally, the free trades feature additional commission-eligible transactions.
- Clients with less than $1 million in their Vanguard mutual fund assets and ETFs are charged a $25 fee when transacting mutual funds online. If they make the transaction via phone instead of online, they are charged an extra $25 as a broker-assisted fee.
- Clients with a minimum of $1 million in their Vanguard mutual fund assets and ETFs are charged an $8 transaction fee when trading their mutual funds by phone and online. Remember, they also get the 25 trades at a $0 cost.
- Vanguard Investor has a $25 broker fee per trade. However, customers with accounts holding a minimum of $1 million have free access to the live brokers.
- As of October 2022, Vanguard Investor introduced new margin interests for their customers. The table below shows a breakdown of the margin interests on the platform.
|Loan balance||Margin rate||Effective rate (plus 11.00% base rate)|
|Up to $19,999||Base rate + 2.50%||13.50%|
|$20,000–$49,999||Base rate + 2.00%||13%|
|$50,000–$99,999||Base rate + 1.50%||12.50%|
|$100,000–$249,999||Base rate + 1%||12%|
|$250,000–$499,999||Base rate + 0.50 %||11.5%|
|$500,000–$999,999||Base rate – 0.75%||10.25%|
|$1,000,000 and above||Customer support will provide the rate offers available for such clients. The phone number is 0800 587 0460|
- Currently, the platform has no charges for inactivity, transfer, or closing operations. Customers also enjoy commission-free assignments, receiving wires, and sending paper and statements checks.
- Fixed income fees on the Vanguard Investor platform vary. Even though the U.S. Treasuries have zero commission, municipal bonds, CDs, and corporate bonds have a face value fee of $1 per $1000 for secondary market transactions. Securities that are backed by mortgages attract a $35 commission for every trade.
- Vanguard Investors charges a $20 annual fee on all accounts with less than $1 million. When I selected delivery for my account statements, the annual fee was waived.
- Outgoing domestic and international wires attract a $10 transactional fee.
Vanguard Investor clients have access to various assets which they can trade. Currently, the platform has the following investment products:
- Bonds (Treasury, C.D.s, Corporate, and Municipal)
- Mutual funds
- ETFs and stocks (long-term and limited short sales)
- Money markets
- Target Retirement Funds
- Cash Investments
- Index funds
- All-in-one funds
- ESG Funds
The platform has various resources and tools that novice and experienced investors can use when placing orders.
If my account has more than $1 million, I am eligible for 25 free trades annually, and if there is more than $5 million in my Vanguard account, I get 100 free trades annually.
Customers using the Vanguard Investor platform can place various types of orders. However, the orders are limited and most suitable for buy-and-hold investors.
The platform allows customers to place the following order types:
- Market order
- Limit order
- Stop order
- Stop limit order
Currently, the platform doesn’t permit conditional orders and trailing stops. Additionally, customers can’t stage any order for late entry.
Available Account Types
All the common investment and trading accounts are available at Vanguard Investor.
The platform also has more specific account types based on the customer’s investment needs.
Currently, the account’s lineup at Vanguard features the following options:
- Individual brokerage accounts
- Joint brokerage accounts
- Small plan 401(k)
- SIMPLE (Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees) IRAs
- Individual 401(k)
- SEP (Simplified employee pension) IRAs
- Corporate investment accounts
- Spousal IRAs
- 529 savings plans
- Traditional individual retirement accounts
- Roth IRAs
- UGMA (Uniform Gifts to Minors Act) account
- UTMA (Uniform Transfers to Minors Act) account
Trading Platform Review
Vanguard Investor is working tirelessly to ensure they remain at the top of the game in the investment industry.
The platform redesigned its support centre and main menu. It also improved the mutual fund purchase flow.
Despite these critical improvements, the platform still offers a dated trading experience for its users compared to other top trading platforms in the UK.
All the trading pages on the platform still use real-time quotes, including the research pages and security profiles.
Unfortunately, the platform’s security and market information feature delayed quotes.
Since Vanguard Investor primarily focuses on passive investors, hence it’s sensible to have real-time quotes that aren’t refreshed. Instead, the platform refreshes the real-time quotes as the customer continues with the trade flow.
It means the real-time quotes aren’t updated when one is submitting an order, and it might require a few clicks before placing an order. The only pro with this feature is that customers can select the tax lots before placing an order.
One essential con of the Vanguard Investor is that the platform doesn’t permit entering multiple orders, conditional orders, or trailing stops. The process is very ineffective for active traders.
Nevertheless, the platform has been designed and customised for long-term investors.
It is very efficient for buy-and-hold investors to set up their investment portfolios slowly. Investors who prefer customisable and responsive trading and investment experience will have a dismal experience when using the Vanguard Investor trading platform.
The trading experience on the web platform is very similar to the mobile trading experience. The ETFs and quotes for stocks will display delayed prices until one gets the order entry.
I customised my trading experience using “My Feed” on the mobile app. The “My Feed” feature shows transaction history, performance, account information, news, and even blogs.
The platform lacks a trade simulator. The lack of this feature discourages trading by its customers. Instead, it encourages the customers to make low-cost and long-term investment options.
Usability & Mobile App
Even though Vanguard Investor has a dated design than its competitors, the company is working on implementing several improvements to enhance the overall user experience.
The company has made the customer experience more intuitive by introducing New Accounts.
With the new accounts, clients enjoy enhanced features, like linking their accounts with their bank accounts instantly using the account aggregation technology.
The platform also includes a detailed video tutorial on opening a Vanguard Investor customer account for new and existing users.
Clients can customise their accounts based on their preferences and investment needs. Vanguard users can customise the accounts displayed on their profile and even the content they feed on the mobile application.
Vanguard Investor has a mobile application that enhances accessibility, convenience, and overall user experience for its customers.
The application offers a speedy and straightforward trading process for users and allows them to dive deeper into the history of their transactions. It effectively supports all the data available on the web version.
However, it doesn’t stream real-time news. Instead, it uses real-time quotes. The Vanguard Investor mobile app is compatible with iOS (iOS 14 or higher) and Android (Android 7 or higher) devices.
Research & Data
Despite being a large broker, Vanguard Investor has limited research and data than its competitors.
The resources and data are used by the buy-and-hold clients using the platform.
Some of the notable research and data resources on the platform include:
- Stock Screener: The platform has a functional stock comparison tool, allowing customers to compare two stocks using various financial metrics. Unfortunately, customers can’t use the screener as a watchlist or used to check technical indicators due to its limited functionality.
- Mutual Funds and ETFs Screener: The platform has a screening tool specifically for ETFs and mutual funds, which allows customers to compare the two side by side.
- Fixed Income Screeners: The fixed income screening feature contains all the bonds and CDs retail investors provide. Vanguard clients can create bond ladders but need help using the bond ladder in simultaneous purchase orders.
- Charting: The Vanguard charting feature is created by FactSet and has customisable charts. Unluckily the charts don’t have any technical indicators and analysis, thus having a limited capability.
- Tools and Calculators: Many do-it-yourself tools and resources exist on the Vanguard platform. Most of these tools focus more on retirement planning. Some of these tools include a retirement planning worksheet, investor questionnaire, and retirement income calculator. Customers who are more into college financial planning have access to various tools; education savings calculator, college cost estimator, 529-plan comparison tool, and tax deduction calculator.
- News: The platform doesn’t offer streaming of the news. Instead, it has a news section where news analysis and articles are posted on the broker’s website.
- Third-party research: Customers can access daily market reports and third-party research reports on the website provided by Market Grader and Argus. They are available for free for all Vanguard investor clients.
- Cash management: Any idle funds on the platform are automatically transferred to the money market funds and have a low expense ratio.
- SRI/ESG Research Amenities: The broker has created a dedicated section on its platform, giving investors a chance to practice socially responsible and ESG investing. Currently, Vanguard has nine funds in this section.
- Fractional Dividend Reinvestment Plan: Customers cannot specify their dividend reinvestment when buying their dividend-paying stocks. But with this feature, I could select my preferred dividend reinvestment after purchasing.
- Portfolio Analysis: The Vanguard website offers real-time analysis and reports of customer portfolios. The reports are customisable. Some of the portfolio metrics reported in real-time include realised/unrealised capital gains or losses, buying power, account balances, and margins. Clients can perform various functions from their portfolio, like calculating internal rate of return and time-weighted rate of return. Vanguard also has a re-skinned Portfolio Watch system that allows customers to access their portfolio while rebalancing any changes.
Some of the notable features which are absent on the platform include:
- Trading idea generator
- Options Screener
Vanguard Investors has an impressive reputation for providing investors with educational content. The content focuses on supporting their customers to set and work towards financial goals.
The educational resources are available in blogs, commentary, research papers, news articles, videos, social media posts, and webinars. Various topics are covered by the educational content, ranging from retirement and industry news to financial planning, economy, and investment products.
Novice investors will find the broker very useful in their investment journey due to the abundant educational resources.
Customers who experience challenges can contact Vanguard Investor customer support through various means.
The platform has a support centre that provides information categorised into different topics.
Vanguard Investor customer support is reachable via:
- Email support
- Phone: 0800 587 0460
- Twitter (https://twitter.com/Vanguard_Group)
- Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/Vanguard)
- Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/vanguardgroup/)
- LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/company/vanguard/)
- Reddit (https://www.reddit.com/user/vanguardgroup/)
- YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRDW5XuoLg5pAkm2YPdX3Ww)
Vanguard Investor also has an FAQ section covering customers’ most popular questions. The FAQ sections even feature the most trending questions on the platform’s community forums.
Vanguard Personal Advisor Services customers can access the platform’s financial advisors.
The platform has a customer support service based on the customer’s account level; clients with larger accounts can access the best financial professionals and much more advanced customer support service.
Security & Reliability
Vanguard Investors has prioritised the security of the customers and funds by using various security features and tools.
iOS users are required to log in using biometric recognition (face or fingerprint).
All the accounts on the platform are protected with a Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) cover.
If the broker fails, the SIPC provides up to $250,000 (coverage for cash) and $500,000 (insurance for securities).
Additionally, the broker has an additional SIPC policy providing substantial coverage in millions, even though Vanguard doesn’t share the exact amount of the coverage.
The platform hasn’t experienced any major data breaches in the past.
Pros & Cons
- Educational investment content is available
- The platform features an integrated automated robo-advisor
- It has low-cost funds
- Investors with mutual funds aren’t charged transaction fees
- It has commission-free ETFs and stocks
- The design needs to be updated
- It lacks real-time streaming of investment news
- The options trading commission structure is complex
Vanguard Investor Alternatives
If you find that Vanguard Investor isn’t the right platform for you, check out these alternatives:
The investment platform offers a more costly option compared to Vanguard Investor. However, it also provides investors with more investment options and resources suitable for novice and seasoned investors.
Despite its higher fees, Hargreaves Lansdown has flexible minimum investment options; £1 (fund and shares accounts) and £100 (ISA and SIPP). While Vanguard accounts can only hold Vanguard funds, the Hargreaves Lansdown accounts can be populated using funds from various providers.
Read my full Hargreaves Lansdown review.
Like Vanguard Investor, interactive investor has an impressive catalogue of investment choices. It also has abundant top fund picks, guides, model portfolios, and resources to assist novice and proficient investors.
The company account available on the platform enables investors to trade from limited companies. It also has a pension trading account capable of holding various assets.
Interactive investor like Vanguard Investor also lacks the LISA and Junior SIPP. Customers can use the interactive investor trading account and invest in more than 40,000 stocks. When opening an interactive Investor account, investors don’t need a minimum lump sum investment. A minimum £25 monthly investment is required for customers who want to use the free regular investment service.
Read my full interactive investor review.
If you are looking for an investment platform that offers highly professional and skilled wealth management services, you should consider MoneyFarm. The platform uses technology to make investment more streamlined and cheaper.
In contrast, Vanguard Investor prides itself on being an asset manager, and MoneyFarm functions more as a wealth manager. MoneyFarm manages its client’s investments, helping them increase their returns over time.
Customers must answer a few questions to get the best investment options. They have the freedom to pick how they want their money to be invested. MoneyFarm experts on the best investment options give novice investors professional advice. Clients can save using Junior ISA, Personal Pension, General Investment Account (GIA), and Stocks and Shares ISA.
There are three primary investment options when using MoneyFarm; Fully managed, Socially Responsible, and Fixed Allocation. Each investment has a risk level that customers pick. Higher risks bring more returns over time, while lower risks feature lower returns over time.
Customers are charged a management fee based on the value of their investment. The fee starts at 0.75%, together with 0.20% investment fees and 0.09 trading fees by experts. The key selling feature of MoneyFarm is the availability of experts to manage your wealth.
Vanguard Investor Review – Final Thoughts
Vanguard Investor has managed to dominate the passive investment sector for many years. The company has built its ethos focusing on buy-hold investment, which is low cost as the premium solution for the average investors.
Vanguard customers can purchase the Vanguard funds from the broker. Using Vanguard as my primary broker means being committed to passive investing, which allows you to reap many benefits from the platform.
Unfortunately, the platform isn’t designed and built to handle the needs of traders. It will also greatly disappoint investors seeking robust trading tools in their investment journey.
Hopefully, my review has given you some insight into Vanguard Investor so that you can decide whether it’s the right trading platform for you.
Is Vanguard Investor any good?
Vanguard Investor is a reputable investment platform known for its low-cost index funds and ETFs, making it a popular choice for long-term investors. However, individual experiences may vary based on personal financial goals and preferences.
Is Vanguard Investor UK safe?
Vanguard Investor is considered a safe investment platform due to its strong reputation and regulatory oversight. It is covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, which means you can get back up to £85,000 should Vanguard cease trading for any reason. Vanguard UK is also authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. However, all investments carry inherent risks, and it’s essential to carefully assess and diversify your portfolio.
What is the minimum monthly investment for Vanguard UK?
With Vanguard UK, you have two options to begin investing. You can invest from £100 per month or get started with a £500 lump sum. The choice allows flexibility based on your financial capabilities and goals.