Vanguard Account Opening

Updated Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Account Opening Grade: B

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I have no major complaints with Vanguard's account registration process. I only have two minor complaints: there are separate registration processes for account opening and online access and the website layout is very poor. Both are quite dated compared to the competition.


Minimum initial account deposit: None

I opened a general investing account.

The Vanguard welcome screen (click on images for larger views):

I used the Electronic Bank Transfer option to transfer money from my Bank of America checking account.

By default, Vanguard reinvests stock and mutual fund dividends. I opted to have my stock dividends flow into my money market fund:

I was prompted by a series of multiple choice questions to verify my identity, with one of them being quite humorous. The question asked me to choose a town that I have lived in among four choices. One of the choices correctly identified my former hometown in New Jersey but the other three choices were towns listed in Alaska. Good job making me feel secure Vanguard.

Account setup complete. As you can see, the website layout is not very attractive:

Once I finished setting up my account, I then had to go through an entirely separate process to get online access. This strikes me as extremely outdated.

Once the account registration and online access processes were completed, I received two welcome emails from Vanguard. Neither email contains any sort of useful information. It's good to get a confirmation that the account was opened properly and that I now have online access but the emails do not add much value.

I also received several physical mailings from Vanguard. One mailing contains a welcome letter, a pamphlet that breaks down the fee structure, a disclosure statement, a thick investor's guide and a few other notifications. A second mailing notifies me that I have signed up for online access. A third email has detailed information about my account.

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