Vanguard iPad App

Updated Saturday, November 26, 2011

iPad App Grade: D

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The Vanguard iPad app, like the previously released iPhone app, is lacking in many standard features. Do not expect to find stock charts or other basic features found in almost every other broker app. Note that version 2 has added stock trading, which is a welcome addition. Account information is limited to very basic balance, holding and historical data.  Vanguard published podcasts and videos are of decent quality but are rarely posted. News and markets sections are also lacking. Limited mutual fund trading is available but with several restrictions. We wish Vanguard spent more time building a robust trading platform specifically catered to the iPad.

App Store Facts:


The Vanguard iPad app contains seven discrete sections: My Accounts, My Prices, Buy/Sell, History, Funds/ETFs, Markets and News.  The last three sections can be accessed for those without a Vanguard account while all other app features require a user name and password.  Sessions are not saved, even if the app is closed only briefly, and thus users have to enter their user name and password each time the app is opened.  This is less than convenient.

Let's walk through some of the more pertinent app features.

My Accounts
My Accounts displays total account value, asset mix, transaction history and a performance chart.  For those looking to check very basic account information then this is at least better than nothing.

My Prices
This section shows each account holding along with the current price and the daily change in value per holding.

This section displays all transactions that have occurred in the last 30 days.  It would be nice to have a date range filter here.

The Funds/ETFs section contains a list of all Vanguard branded mutual funds, Vanguard Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) and access to fund profiles.  Profiles are also available for stocks by searching by symbol.  Here is a look at the profile page for the Vanguard MSCI EAFE ETF, one of the most popular ETFs in the world (click on images for larger views):

The Markets section displays quotes and the daily price change for the Dow, NASDAQ, S&P 500 and 10 year treasury note.  Small charts are also shown for each.

This section contains Vanguard company and fund news, podcasts and videos created by Vanguard advisors and general market related news articles.  The podcasts and videos are mildly useful but are only uploaded at a rate of 1-2 per month.  The video quality is quite good, which takes advantage of the large iPad screen:

If Vanguard published more frequent content then this could develop into a nice feature.

General market news is provided by Reuters, with several articles being published per day.  Most other broker apps feature more frequent articles published by several different news organizations.

New to version 2.0 is the ability to trade stocks and ETFs. As an example, we selected to buy 1 share of Groupon (GRPN) at a limit price of $15.00 and a duration of 60 days (GTC). Note that options trading is still not available for our individual brokerage account:

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Vanguard iPhone App
Vanguard Android App