Vanguard Personal Advisor Services

7.4

Fees and Deposit Limits

6.8/10

Flexibility

7.4/10

Ease of Use

8.4/10

Account Types and Services

9.6/10

Budget Flexibility

5.0/10

Pros

  • You get a dedicated personal advisor
  • Personalized asset allocation and tax-efficient trading
  • Very comprehensive range of account types
  • A reasonable management fee of 0.30%

Cons

  • $50,000 investment minimum
  • No discounts on the management fee
  • No automated tax loss harvesting available

PLEASE NOTE: While this robo advisor can be good for some, we currently recommend Personal Capital for free and high-end accounts, and Wealthsimple for everyone.

2018 Vanguard Personal Advisor Services Review

Take a look at our comprehensive Vanguard Personal Advisor Services (VPAS) review for 2018 to help you decide if this is the right Robo Advisor for your investments.

Partnering with a Vanguard advisor can help you reach your goals

You can think of Vanguard Personal Advisor Services as the Rolls Royce of Robo Advisors. They offer a bespoke kind of service, which is quite unlike other Robo Advisors in the investment world. Vanguard treads a different track, even though they’re a latecomer in the industry.

It was launched in 2015, and is the latest offering from brokerage giant Vanguard. This automated investing service should definitely be taken seriously.

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Fees and Deposit Limits

In the first part of our Vanguard Personal Advisor Services review, we found what sets VPAS apart from other automated investing services: it combines the old with the new.

Like a Rolls Royce, advanced materials combine with the skilled hands of master craftsmen to create a stunning automobile. Vanguard works in the same way. It combines automated features with personal financial advice. But the downside to this kind of service, like the car, is its cost. The minimum deposit is a very high $50,000.

If you are the type of investor that holds a balance of $50,000 or more, you will have to pay an annual management fee of 0.30% on total assets managed.

This fee is about right in our opinion, and the charges remain the same regardless of your account balance.

 

Flexibility

Keep in mind that VPAS does not work with existing brokerage accounts; they are a fully in-house managed robo advisor. Here’s another thing: Vanguard does not offer active trading options.

Despite this, “multi-talented” would be the right word to describe VPAS. It is a brilliant automated investment service, but also offers direct personal advice from a human advisor.

This means that you have more control over your investment portfolio, and you can talk to a human financial advisor whether you need to make changes or want some investment advice.

This also gives you the ability to arrange a customized asset allocation plan complete with tax planning. If you are a seasoned investor with large amounts to invest, you should take a closer look at Vanguard.

Vanguard Personal Advisor Services Video

Check out this video for an overview of how VPAS works:

Ease of Use

Easy

Like other Robo Advisors, Vanguard Personal Advisor Services is easy to use, but if you are a newbie investor you might find the service daunting at first.

After signing up, a plan is developed based on your goals and current investments (if any). This is then analysed to produce a personalized portfolio to suit your unique financial circumstances.

The combination of traditional and automated methods does have a lot of perks, but it can also take away the ease-of-use that some other Robo Advisors offer.

But once everything is set up, your portfolio won’t need any more manual inputs, and the Robo Advisor will handle your portfolio from there.

When in doubt, you rest easy knowing human advisor is just a phone call away, acting as a safety net for your investments. This we see as a definite advantage, and this makes VPAS unique among other Robo Advisors.

Account and Investment Types and Services

Vanguard (VPAS) caters to an impressive range of account types, including both individual and joint taxable accounts. This includes traditional, Roth, SEP and SIMPLE IRAs to suit all manner of investors.

Across those accounts, the customized and personalized portfolios consist mostly of ultra-low cost Admiral Shares from the Vanguard Index and active mutual funds, but ETFs can be – and sometimes are – built in.

Your portfolio will be expertly produced and tailored according to your financial situation, all made possible through a combination of a personal advisor and automated software.

Automatic rebalancing is also standard, and tax-efficiency can be discussed and applied on a client-by-client basis with the personal advisor. But there is no automated tax loss harvesting provided as part of the service.

Suitability for Different Investment Budgets

There is no other way to say it. Vanguard Personal Advisor Services is for investors with a higher investment budget. The $50,000 minimum balance is a tell-tale sign that this Robo Advisor is for the moneyed folk who already know their way around the financial world.

You already know that VPAS focuses on traditional personal advice, so this service is more likely to appeal to older or wealthier investors.

Even high rollers might complain about the VPAS management fees, despite them being much less than normal human advisor.

Summary

Investment BudgetsBacked by the deep pockets of brokerage giant Vanguard, the VPAS Robo Advisor is, without a doubt, a major player in the automated investing market. But in this 2018 Vanguard Personal Advisor Services review, we found it to be one that offers a specific type of service, for a specific set of clientele. Like a Rolls Royce, then.

The combination of traditional financial advice and automated features provide excellent wealth management services, but only if you have more than $50,000 to invest.

VPAS is more suited for investors who would otherwise invest with a human financial advisor, but want to make the leap into automated investing and FinTech.

If you’re looking for a simple, easy and hands-off investing experience, then you should look elsewhere.

But if you’re an investor who wants top-class wealth management advice and more direct access to features like asset allocation and rebalancing, you will get everything you need from the VPAS Robo Advisor.