Vanguard iPhone App

Updated Sunday, December 18, 2011

iPhone App Grade: C

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Upon initial release, the Vanguard iPhone app really puzzled us. The app had nearly no standard features that were found in most other broker applications. With subsequent updates, features such as stock profile pages, mutual fund trading and stock trading have been added. With that being said, other features such as stock charts are still not present. The Vanguard app has improved but is still not among the top mobile trading platforms.

App Store Facts:


The Vanguard iPhone App contains eight discrete sections: Funds/ETFs, Markets, News, My Accounts, Performance, My Prices, History and Buy/Sell.  The first three sections can be accessed without logging in.  Logging in requires entering a user name and password, neither of which can be saved.  Sessions are not saved, even if the app is closed for only a second, and thus users have to log in again.  This is less than convenient.

Descriptions of each section are as follows.

This section contains a list of 181 Vanguard mutual funds and 46 Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) and links to profiles for each fund.  Here is a look at the profile page for the Vanguard REIT Index Fund (click on images for larger views):

Profiles are also available for all stocks by searching by symbol from within this same section.

The markets section simply shows index quotes and the daily price change for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, NASDAQ, S&P 500 and 10 year treasury note.  There is a lot of room for improvement here.

This section contains Vanguard company and fund news, podcasts and videos created by Vanguard advisors and general market news.  The podcasts and videos are mildly useful but are only uploaded at a rate of 1-2 per month.  The video quality is actually quite good, as shown below in widescreen mode:

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.

My Accounts
This section shows current account balances, holdings and some trivial information about specific holdings. For those looking to check up on very basic information about their account, this is at least better than nothing.

This section features charts that display 5 years worth of balance and investment return history, both of which can be viewed in normal and horizontal modes.  Here is a view of our investment return history with less than ideal data because of our sparse account activity:

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

This section shows any transactions that have occurred in the last 7 days.

New to version 3.0 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 $16.00 and a duration of 60 days (GTC). Note that options trading is still not available for our individual brokerage account:

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