Vanguard Review

Updated Monday, May 3, 2010

Not recommended

Company Background:

Vanguard was founded by John C. Bogle on May 1, 1975 in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.  Vanguard has a unique company structure, with the funds themselves owning the company and each contributing to the shared costs of the business. The company is chiefly known for its mutual funds, which currently hold $1.3 trillion in assets spread across 160 funds.  The company's oldest fund, Wellington, actually predates the company itself, having been formed in 1929 and managed by the Wellington Management Company.  In 1976, Vanguard launched the first indexed mutual fund, which eventually grew to become the world's largest mutual fund.

Vanguard is currently headquartered in Malvern, Pennsylvania.  The company's Chairman and CEO is F. William McNabb III.  Vanguard launched its website in 1995.

Review Summary:

The Vanguard suite of applications includes a standard web based platform and a mobile application.  The mobile app comes in two varieties: an iPhone app and a generic mobile application that is compatible with BlackBerry and most other modern handsets.  Note that neither mobile application allows for trading.

Vanguard has a poor trading engine, terrible research tools and the worst charts we have ever seen. Combine this with excessive commissions and fees in all areas and you are left without a compelling reason to choose this service. Investors of all stripes should steer clear of Vanguard.

Detailed Reviews by Category:

Registration Grade: B
Stock Trading Grade: D
Charts Grade: F
Research Tools Grade: D 
Vanguard iPhone App Grade: D
Commissions and Fees (Pass/Fail): Fail
Margin Rates
Dividend Reinvestment Plans (DRIPs)
Tax Reporting Compatibility

See our broker overall recommendation list to compare Vanguard with other brokers