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  • Details
    • Features
  • Frequently asked questions
  • Your reviews
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Vanguard Personal Advisor
3.8
★★★★★
Finder score
Stock trade fee
$0
Minimum deposit
$50,000
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Our verdict

Vanguard Personal Advisor specializes in low-cost funds, but some fees and features lag the competition.

Consider Vanguard if you’re a long-term fund investor. Look elsewhere if you want to trade stocks frequently or want a broker with advanced tools and features.

Best for: Long-term investors or mutual fund investors

Pros

  • Solid lineup of investment options.
  • Commission-free stock, options, ETF and Vanguard mutual fund trades.
  • Wide variety of account types.

Cons

  • Basic trading platform.
  • High minimums for mutual funds.
  • Limited mobile app functionality.
  • Limited research and data.
  • High options contract fees.

In this guide

  • Our verdict
  • Details
    • Features
  • Frequently asked questions
  • Your reviews
  • Ask a question

Vanguard is best known for its low-cost investment options. The company has no private owners, which allows it to keep operation costs low and give more back to its investors. But their brokerage accounts are ill-equipped for day traders or those looking to use complex options strategies.

  • Consider Vanguard if you’re a long-term investor with a high account balance.
  • Look elsewhere if you’re looking for high-volume stock trading.

Details

Features

Annual fee $20
Available asset types Stocks, Mutual funds, ETFs, Treasury Bills
Account types Brokerage
Government bond trade fee $0
Complete signup bonus N/A
Minimum deposit $50,000

How we rated Vanguard’s features

Fees

★★★★★

Commission-free trades on stocks and ETFs, but options contracts and account service fees are higher than most.
Available securities

★★★★★

Stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, bonds, CDs and money market funds.
Customer support

★★★★★

Reach customer support via phone or secure message.
Mobile app

★★★★★

Mobile app users complain of a clunky app with poor functionality.
Research and tools

★★★★★

Market research and analyst reports but no advanced charting capabilities.
Reliability

★★★★★

No major outages have been reported.

To learn how our star ratings are calculated, read our methodology at the bottom of the page.

Vanguard is best for long-term investors

While Vanguard Personal Advisor offers a range of investment choices, it’s best known as being a leader in low-cost fund investing. Offering access to more than 300 member funds — including both mutual funds and ETFs — as well as an assortment of commission-free ETFs and no-transaction-fee (NTF) mutual funds from hundreds of other companies, Vanguard Personal Advisor is best suited for buy and hold investors looking for diversification and convenience.

What you can trade on Vanguard Personal Advisor

  • Stocks
  • ETFs
  • Mutual funds
  • Options
  • Bonds
  • CDs
  • Money market funds

Account types available with Vanguard Personal Advisor

  • Individual
  • Retirement (multiple IRA types)
  • Joint
  • Trust
  • Education
  • Small business
Dive deeper What is an IRA?

Where Vanguard shines

Vanguard’s customer-owned model allows them to offer mutual funds and ETFs with significantly lower expense ratios than the industry average, which means a greater potential for higher returns. Vanguard’s average expense ratio is 0.06%, compared to an industry average of 0.40%, according to data from Vanguard Personal Advisor and Morningstar.

As a broker, Vanguard’s extensive lineup of account types and tradable assets means more options for investors. Vanguard Personal Advisor also offers both personal and digital advisory services in addition to its brokerage account for those looking to take a hands-off approach to investing.

Where Vanguard falls short

Vanguard’s platform is basic, both in terms of user experience and tools. The platform feels slightly outdated, with basic buy and sell functions and many features only available on the desktop platform. You won’t find advanced charts, fractional shares are limited to Vanguard Personal Advisor ETFs and a $20 annual account fee applies to all brokerage accounts (though you can eliminate this fee by opting into e-statements and other account notices and updates). And while Vanguard Personal Advisor is known for its low-cost funds, most Vanguard Personal Advisor mutual funds require a steep minimum investment of $3,000.

Vanguard’s fees

Minimum deposit$0 to open an account; $3,000 minimum investment for most Vanguard Personal Advisor mutual funds
Annual fee$20 (avoidable)
Stock, ETF, option and mutual fund trade fees
  • $0 trading commissions on stocks, options, ETFs and Vanguard Personal Advisor mutual funds
  • $1 per contract fee for options
  • $20 per trade of any transaction-fee mutual fund if assets invested in Vanguard Personal Advisor ETFs and mutual funds is less than $1 million
Wire transfer$10 wire fee for each fund holding you are redeeming
Outgoing account transfer fee$0

Is Vanguard legit?

Yes. Vanguard Personal Advisor is a legitimate company and broker. Founded in 1975, Vanguard Personal Advisor today is one of the world’s largest investment firms with over 30 million investors and around $5 trillion in global assets under management.

Customer accounts are protected by Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) for up to $500,000, which includes $250,000 for claims for cash. Vanguard Personal Advisor Brokerage Services is also a registered broker with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

Vanguard’s platform feels outdated but is easy to use

Vanguard’s platform, available on both desktop and mobile app, is a bit clunky. This is especially true when compared to the numerous other brokers that underscore user experience. There’s no continuity when moving between the desktop and mobile app, with many basic features only available via desktop.

Here are some of the tools offered by Vanguard Personal Advisor:

  • News feed (desktop only)
  • Watchlists (desktop only)
  • Company financials (desktop only)
  • Earnings estimates (desktop only)
  • Analyst ratings (desktop and mobile)
  • Third-party analyst reports from Argus and MarketGrader (desktop only)

Vanguard’s app

Limited, but manageable — if you’re content with a simple buy and sell function and diluted research tools. The app layout is familiar, with four tabs along the bottom — Portfolio, Transact, Research and Profile — allowing quick navigation. No advanced charting capabilities, no educational resources and no means for contacting support.

Screen shot of Vanguard app on smartphone

Vanguard’s app store reviews

App storeRatingTotal reviews
Google Play 3.45 9,397
Apple Store 4.70 173,054

Vanguard’s customer support

Reach Vanguard Personal Advisor customer support in two ways:

  • Phone
  • Secure message

How to open an account with Vanguard

  1. Click the Sign up now button below and click Get Started.
  2. Choose Sign up under I’m new to Vanguard Personal Advisor, and then select Continue opening an account.
  3. Select an account type and enter your personal information, including your name, email, date of birth, Social Security number, address and phone number.
  4. Add a bank for funding and choose how you’ll add money to your new account.
  5. Provide information about your employment, income and investing objectives.
  6. Review your application and sign new account agreements.
  7. Submit your application.

Eligibility and required information

  • At least 18 years old
  • Permanent US residence
  • Valid Social Security number

Sign up now

How safe is Vanguard?

Vanguard’s platform is considered safe and secure. In addition to employing various website security measures, including two-factor authentication, Vanguard will reimburse every dollar lost to an unauthorized online transaction. Vanguard Personal Advisor is registered with FINRA and SIPC.

Compare Vanguard to other platforms

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Vanguard Personal Advisor

★★★★★

Finder rating 3.8 / 5

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Available asset types

Stocks, Mutual funds, ETFs, Treasury Bills


Stock trade fee

$0


Minimum deposit

$50,000


Complete signup bonus

N/A

SoFi Invest® logo

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Available asset types

Stocks, Mutual funds, ETFs, Alternatives


Stock trade fee

$0


Minimum deposit

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Complete signup bonus

Get up to $1,000 in stock when you fund a new account within 30 days.

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Available asset types

Stocks, Options, ETFs, Cryptocurrency, Futures, Treasury Bills


Stock trade fee

$0


Minimum deposit

$0


Complete signup bonus

Get $100-$5,000 when you open and fund an account with $5,000 to $1,000,000+

Frequently asked questions about Vanguard

How we rate trading platforms

★★★★★5/5 — Excellent

★★★★★ 4/5 — Good

★★★★★ 3/5 — Average

★★★★★ 2/5 — Subpar

★★★★★ 1/5 — Poor

We analyze top online trading platforms and rate them one to five stars based on factors that are most important to you. These factors include fees, securities available for trade, customer support, customer feedback, platform resources and overall reliability.

For a complete breakdown of how we score each category, read the full methodology of how we rate trading platforms.

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