Vanguard Personal Advisor Services
Vanguard is one of the giants in the investment world with millions of customers and a variety of financial services. In 2015, Vanguard added Personal Advisor Services (PAS) to their offerings. Vanguard PAS combines the power of Robo-advising with access to a team of human advisors.
Vanguard Personal Advisor Services is a trusted and viable resource if you’re searching for an easy way to manage your assets and investments.
Account and Investment Services
Vanguard Personal Advisor Services offers a unique combination of Robo Advising and financial planning services.
Vanguard launched this service as Robo Advisors started rising in popularity. Robo Advising typically involves minimal human intervention. Computer algorithms are designed to manage your investments without the hassle or costs of in-person meetings.
The downfall is that sometimes you need some advice from a real person. What makes Vanguard PAS stand out is that every investor has access to advisors whenever they need help.
Access to Human Advisors
Accounts with a balance between $50,000–500,000 have access to a team of advisors. Accounts over $500,000 get a dedicated account advisor.
You won’t be able to meet face-to-face with your financial advisor, but you will have the ability to schedule unlimited free appointments over the phone or video. Sometimes your meeting will be scheduled a week or two in advance. If you have a quick question, a financial advisor can be reached quickly via email.
Your account is reviewed quarterly and automatically rebalanced to keep you on track to meet your goals.
Every Vanguard advisor will offer personalized advice, and they are under obligation to keep your best interests in mind. Vanguard stands out here because you will get trusted advice from a real person, in addition to the robo-advisor algorithms.
Your advisors will also take into consideration your investments outside of Vanguard. That’s important because your other 401(k)s, savings, and investments will impact your financial plan.
Vanguard Personal Advisor Services Fees and Pricing
The account minimum for Vanguard Personal Advisor Services is $50,000, and the annual management fee is 0.30%, which is charged quarterly. As a reference point, you can think of that as costing around $150 per year in fees.
The management fee decreases with higher account balances:
- Less than $5 Million: 0.30%
- $5–10 Million: 0.20%
- $10–25 Million: 0.10%
- Over $25 Million: 0.05%
The $50,000 minimum assets under management can be a combination of accounts such as IRAs, Mutual Fund accounts, and Trust accounts.
How do Vanguard PAS fees compare to their competitors?
Vanguard Personal Advisor Services is a hybrid robo advisor, meaning they are an automated investing service combined with human financial advice.
We would say their closest competitor is Personal Capital, which carries a fee between 0.49% and 0.89% depending on account balance, which is a minimum of $100,000. Similarly, Betterment Premium also carries a $100,000 minimum and charges a 0.40% annual fee. Wealthfront, by comparison, does not offer access to a human financial advisor at all.
Schwab also offers a comparable service – Intelligent Portfolios Premium, which costs $30 per month, and a fee of $300 to create an initial financial plan. We put a handy comparison chart below so you can compare similar services’ pricing and minimums.
In comparison to other hybrid robo advisors then, Vanguard PAS offers excellent services for a relatively low cost.
Hybrid Robo Advisor Comparison Chart
|Robo Advisor||Annual Fee||Account Minimum|
Account Types and Services
Vanguard PAS offers advice on a variety of IRAs and trust accounts. Vanguard won’t manage a 401k or 529 plan, but they will consider those when providing financial planning advice.
Here are the account types Vanguard offers:
- Roth IRA
- Traditional IRA
- Rollover IRA
- SEP IRA
- Simple IRA
Tax Loss Harvesting is a strategy used to minimize the taxes paid on investment gains or other income. This is available with Vanguard PAS, but on a very limited basis. You will need to discuss it further with your Vanguard financial advisor.
Unlike some of their peers like Wealthfront and M1 Finance, Vanguard is strictly an investment service. They do not provide banking services like checking or savings accounts.
Sample Financial Plan
User Experience & Mobile App
Vanguard’s website offers all of the tools for investment success and a simple dashboard that provides your account overview. You will need to spend some time looking around to take advantage of the tools, savings calculators, and simulators offered.
The Vanguard mobile app has received some criticism for being outdated. When it comes to Robo-advising, technology is continuously taking steps forward. The Vanguard app gets the job done, and it’s secure, but it may feel like they’re a step or two behind the competition.
Sample Account Dashboard
Before you start investing with Vanguard Personal Advisor Services, there is an onboarding process, just like with any other service. The financial advisors at Vanguard want to understand you and your goals before creating your financial plan. This isn’t an overnight process; it will likely take a couple of weeks.
This process adds a human touch to the normal robo-advised investing that’s usually handled by algorithms.
First, you will share your goals, expectations, timeline, and asset overview with Vanguard. Then you will schedule a meeting with an advisor who will answer your questions and get to know you better.
Within a few weeks, you will have a personalized financial plan and decide from there if you want to move forward.
Who Is Vanguard Personal Advisor Services Best For?
We understand that Vanguard’s service won’t be the best choice for everyone. You have unique financial needs and investment goals.
Vanguard Personal Advisor Services is an excellent choice for those with a significant amount of assets. Some people don’t yet have the $50,000 to meet the account minimum. If you’re in that boat, Vanguard recommends considering its Digital Advisor Service.
Vanguard is also a good choice for investors with long-term goals. Vanguard is investor-owned, which means your success is their success. Before investing, you will discuss your goals with an advisor and create a personal financial plan.
With that said, day traders or those looking for a quick turnaround might want to look elsewhere. Instead, PAS focuses on your retirement goals, college savings, and long term growth.
As we’ve mentioned, Vanguard Personal Advisor Services is not the cheapest Robo-Advisor, and there are options with a lower minimum investment.
Vanguard Personal Advisor Services is one of the best options for people who are looking for easily-managed investments along with personalized help. Vanguard PAS is an excellent choice if you can meet the $50,000 minimum, want a human touch to your portfolio, and want to be more involved than traditional Robo-Advising.
You can get started feeling confident that you will reach your future investment goals.
Vanguard Personal Advisor Services has successfully combined Robo-advisors with financial planners who work hard to help you grow and achieve your personal goals.
Disclosure: All investing is subject to risk, including the possible loss of the money you invest. Advice 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 Vanguard Personal Advisor Services Brochure (PDF) for important details about the service, including its asset-based service levels and fee breakpoints.