Vanguard Reviews

Updated September 6, 2014
Updated September 6, 2014
689 Reviews
3.2
689 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Vanguard Chairman and CEO William McNabb
William McNabb
413 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Work/life balance is a priority as you don't work crazy hours and get a lot of vacation time (in 111 reviews)

  • Great benefits; was able to earn MBA and CFP with full tuition reimbursement (in 61 reviews)


Cons
  • site locations offer very little job growth opportunities outside of basic call center positions (in 48 reviews)

  • Good work/life balance for some people, but not if your on the phones (in 14 reviews)

More Highlights

81 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1. 4 people found this helpful  

    Do you want to feel like a cog in the call-center machine?

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Assigned Representative  in  Scottsdale, AZ
    Current Employee - Assigned Representative in Scottsdale, AZ

    I have been working at Vanguard full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Great company...to invest. Just don't take their advice or investment "education". Chances are the rep you're speaking with is probably a recent college grad with little to know investment knowledge and is just reading off a script provided to them by Vanguard.

    Cons

    Call-center environment, micro-managers, required to participate in "voluntary" United Way activities, given movie tickets and candy bars as recognition, bonuses barely keep up with inflation, more tenured and knowledgeable employees being pushed out, replaced with just-out-of-college new hires that can be trained to think the Vanguard way, not very much diversity in the workforce, career opportunities plateau at a certain point, not much career mobility, salaries are a good 20% below industry, they try and say benefits make up for that...but they don't.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop creating a culture where only whitewashed and sanitized personalities have opportunities. Diversity is a real thing. Accept it.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2.  

    Vanguard's United Way Campaign

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Client Relationship Administrator  in  Malvern, PA
    Former Employee - Client Relationship Administrator in Malvern, PA

    I worked at Vanguard full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Below average pay
    constant micromanagement
    very political environement

    Cons

    - Every year they're constantly pressuring you to give to the United Way. I think we should all give to local charities regardless.
    - Vanguard claims its anonymous, yet there are events for "high donors."
    - We are pressured to give to an organization that has had multiple scandals. Search "United Way Scandals."
    - If you question anything your black listed from promotions or advancement opportunities.
    - If your going to pressure people to donate then address the multiple scandals of your favority charity.
    - Considering we're only collecting .14% in expense ratio's for our funds. Its a little much to agree to pay 12.5% for the feeder fund to charge in administrative costs before, the money ever reaches the charity. As that charity is going to have their own expenses.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Find local charities. Give crew member ten separate charities, listing how much the administative costs are per charity. Stop worries about making headlines but doing what is right.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3. 8 people found this helpful  

    No reason to work here longer than 2 years.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Client Relations Associate  in  Scottsdale, AZ
    Former Employee - Client Relations Associate in Scottsdale, AZ

    I worked at Vanguard full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Get your licensing, learn the basics, go somewhere where they will pay you and you will have a future. Vanguard is a abyss of mediocrity and middle management cubicle jockeys.

    Cons

    Vanguard is a better place to invest then work. There is 0 motivation or incentive to do a good job. Everyone gets paid the same and if you are breathing everyone gets the same bonus. The odd thing is some people still try and do good job and they get passed over by the fratty bro who attends the most happy hours at Four Peaks. Look around the parking garage - do you really want to aim big and be able to afford a '99 Civic or just 3 roommates when you are a 30 yr old D Level??

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Fire 80% of management and then let Fidelity buy you out.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5. 4 people found this helpful  

    Very dissatisfied

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Malvern, PA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Malvern, PA

    I have been working at Vanguard full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Medical benefits, great people to work with, clean buildings, gym on site.

    Cons

    I was told if I can't say anything nice don't say anything at all.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    People over 40 still can add value to the company.

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
  6. 5 people found this helpful  

    Don't let managers fool you, it's a call center

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Client Relationship Administrator  in  Charlotte, NC
    Current Employee - Client Relationship Administrator in Charlotte, NC

    I have been working at Vanguard full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    You will get a lot of PTO, however you won't be able to use to around any holidays. Vanguard is great firm to invest with and they do have a great focus on their culture. You only have to work 37.5 hours here so I feel like I'm working for the government. If you want to come in each day and work 7.5 hours and leave and don't feel motivated, this is the place for you.

    Cons

    First off, it's a call center. Don't let any manager fool you by saying that youre an investment adviser. The advice we give to clients if flat-out cookie cutter. I don't even think you could classify it as advice. Our "financial plans" are all computer generated with the same exact funds for each client. While you may "manage a book of business" for high-net-worth clients, your real job is to just solve their problems and answer calls. You will have to make "proactive outcalls" in which 90% of the time clients say "why are you calling me?"
    Taking PTO at Vanguard is horrendous. While they give you a ton, don't expect to spend any time with your family over the holidays. You'll work even though nobody calls in and if a client does call in, even they will say "why are you working today?"
    While there is room to move up in the Charlotte office, the only place to move up is in the retail investor group which means you'll still be taking calls all day everyday. Move up to PA and there will be many more opportunities.
    Compensation is low compared to similar jobs in the industry but understandably so as at Vanguard they only have you working 37.5 hours.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7. 6 people found this helpful  

    A company with leaches in charge

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Vanguard full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    The people who work there and their commitment to the shareholders which is not appreciated by the executives and the boardmembers.

    Cons

    You have management who need to step up to the plate and become true leaders; but, they do not want to make waves based on the current business model that continues to destroy the morale among the crew members.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    To teamleaders and line managers, start being leaders. You executives and board members can go suck a pineapple.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8. 9 people found this helpful  

    Unless you're a recent graduate right out of school not an ideal place I would want to be.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Brokerage Associate  in  Scottsdale, AZ
    Former Employee - Brokerage Associate in Scottsdale, AZ

    I worked at Vanguard full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Nice people and that's about it.

    Cons

    Horrible pay, slow advancement opportunity.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9. 4 people found this helpful  

    Dont do Temp work for them!!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - CRA
    Former Employee - CRA

    I worked at Vanguard full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Professional working environment with good people who engage in appropriate business etiquette and dress for the part.

    Cons

    They are not interested in promoting you right away, if you are hired as a Client Relationship Associate directly. If you are hired as a CRA via Randstad, even worse. They say you can make a career there, but there are a limited number of positions. Dont believe what they tell you about a future with Vanguard. If there is a better paying opportunity elsewhere, take it!!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    You are not honest in putting out information saying that the market is not being manipulated when you know that is not true. The market is being manipulated when you simply look at the artificially low interest rates on the part of the Federal Reserve.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10. 10 people found this helpful  

    Quitting was one of the smartest decisions I made...

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Helping Elderly Who Don't Know Use the Computer  in  Frazer, PA
    Former Employee - Helping Elderly Who Don't Know Use the Computer in Frazer, PA

    I worked at Vanguard as a contractor for less than a year

    Pros

    Co-workers are friendly. You and your crew members are really in the same boat. We are dealing with crazy customers, out of the loop as far as actual office politics are concerned, dealing with the Conn's things on when you can have lunch, your signing in and on.

    Cons

    OK, now a lot about it....Apparently there were more cons I wasn't aware of since I didn't hang around long enough but thanks to Glassdoor, but I can say quitting was the best decision I made, considering things were going get worse if I stay. I was a contractor and there will be more of them in the long term, then there will be employees since Randstad decide to license the contractor with their Series 63 test thus eliminating the need for more full time people. And down the road, those contractors won't be needed as the current elderly generation pass away. My time on the phone was 85% helping mostly elderly people who didn't know how to use the computer, so it was helping look at the balance or withdraw funds or reset the password. Because of regulations, we had to explain about cost basis. Good luck explaining that to elderly people who have a tough time understanding basic things as balance or withdrawing funds. I was one of the few with a financial background that could come close to explaining cost basis and it wasn't easy to explain to a non-financial person. Can only imagine what a non-financial person on the phone what must be going through to explain cost basis to another non-financial person. (Investors reading this, if you are calling for advice, DON'T. You are only dealing with someone who just passed the SERIES and not an experienced financial pro.) When I didn't help the elderly, I did a lot of transferring around to different departments. Some of them would even try not to take their call even though its their department. Then I dealt with the occasional hysterical, rude, or just plain ignorant customers by kissing their butt as they yell at me and heap insults.

    Yet, there wasn't the worst part. No, sir, the worst part, was the team manager and/or other manager and HR people who lie to you making you think this is a temporary thing and you are on to the better stuff (like possibly even having a full time job,) if you play your cards right. Well, I did, for the 4 months I had, playing with all the metrics they use to measure performance and usually 1st or 2nd out of my whole team. Even during those 4 months, 4 customers at least want to tell my team manager that I did a good job and they like the work I provided. So, I played my cards correctly only to find it didn't matter in the end. No, the process is some manager you barely know deciding of what he thinks of you personally. As for your job performance, that's irrelevant. Just make sure he likes you and you can stink at your job all you want! But if you are good at your job and he doesn't like you, tough luck buddy, forget that promotion and raise! The guy who decided my fate at Vanguard told these incredibly stupid jokes that no employee would laugh at if they weren't working for him. I didn't laugh, I paid the price! I know there are people will think that I am sore, but there are many (and I MEAN many, just look at that reviews here, its way too many to count ) Glassdoor reviewers talking about being victim of politics here, so many that I don't think it is a coincidence that there are that many sore people and yes, office politics are being played here. Just be honest, Vanguard, you play the same kind of games Washington DC does and not insult your employee's intelligence.

    People have talked about their team manager and how bad they are. And they vary but I like to talk about my a different kind of evil that happens. He's acts friendly and charismatic and makes you think he's on your side, but in reality, he's looking out for himself. The team manager went out to try to be my friend, inviting me to a beer one night. When there was a serious issue like the actual office politics that was being played on me and I wanted to discuss it with him, poof, he's gone. Only when I decide to quit, did this manager decide to repay attention to me. No, he wasn't upset that I was upset but that I was going to leave, causing a blemish on his spotless record and they were understaffed, needing a warm body on the phones.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I know enough that management is only interested in hearing what they want to hear , so I'll indulge you. People say you're the "Walmart of Financial Services" on Glassdoor and if that's your goal, you're succeeding. Don't worry about the employees complaining about their low pay, Walmart doesn't, it only cares about the low prices it gives to customers and you have the lowest fees, so customers aren't complaining, your bottom line is fine. Good idea on having Randstad handle the Series employee now, that way you don't have to pay the benefits anymore and can employ less full time people. Maybe you can even lower the fees even more. And so the current elderly generation will die out and then you can get rid of the contractors and maybe lower fees. I do want to point out one thing out to you some unhappy employees are saying. I know you know better than them and don't want hear to from a grouch but your upbeat employees who you've convinced Vanguard is heaven and you guys are the best people on earth. But this is one point you can learn for your benefit, they have complain about a lot of fat in middle management, (maybe they are low level managers,I don't know) whose job is to babysit the people on the phone all day and maybe deal with that angry customer if they have to (they'll find plenty of excuses not to do it, unless someone on upper management pushes them on it). Just do a little house cleaning there, you can get rid of couple more. I see about 5 or 6 middle managers when only 1 or 2 will do. Remember, it is about the customer's low fees. And those middle managers are more expensive than the contractors. So keep that in mind.

    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11. 23 people found this helpful  

    Client Service Associate

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Client Service Associate  in  Charlotte, NC
    Current Employee - Client Service Associate in Charlotte, NC

    I have been working at Vanguard full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Pay for you to take the series 7 and 63 licenses. They offer a 401(k) and good insurance options. If not working a lot is a "pro" for you, then you'll work 37.5 hrs per week. The biggest pro about this company in Charlotte is that the avg age for an employee hovers most likely around late twenty to early thirty year olds. For coming into this job out of college, it was nice being around peers for most of your day.

    Cons

    Let me start by saying this: Any individual who has rated this job at Vanguard's Charlotte office above 2 stars has lowered the bar for success tremendously. If you're accountable, responsible, outgoing, aspire to be somebody/do something in finance, or have any sort of personality whatsoever, you will hate working this job at Vanguard. If you're literally the exact opposite of the traits fore mentioned, discontinue reading this and apply to work here.

    Vanguard is a great place to INVEST. It is a terrible place to WORK. First of all, Charlotte office (all 5 buildings) are call centers. Enjoy saying that you're on a recorded line and asking security questions 40-60 times a day. And that's if the company is fully staffed. If not, like in 2012-2013, then your looking at taking around 75+ calls per day. A lot of talk on here about Vanguard being ethical. You will be lied to in order to get you in the door and start answering phone calls. They promised countless new hire groups including my own that there would be "tons of projects and opportunities to take advantage of off the phone." Nothing could be farther from the truth. Once you are on the phones taking calls, you stay there. Your time at Vanguard will be spent explaining to clients the definitional difference between an exchange and a sell transaction. You'll generate temporary passwords for at least 25% of your calls. You'll help fill out self explanatory forms ("yes client, you sign your name in the signature field"). THE most mind numbing work that a FULLY LICENSED individual in the industry can do, you accomplish.

    You are "managed" by individuals who really have no business being in supervisor roles. You are micromanaged to the point that you are fearful of doing basic tasks wrong. Furthermore, these "managers" will not know nearly as much about investments or how to relay their topics than you, or work as hard as you. Yet, they are still entitled to criticize you on how you're handling calls. The constant monitoring and evaluations are enough reason to quit. What's worse is that the company hires college graduates as managers when they have no experience talking with clients on the phone, or Vanguard systems or what its like to work in a call center. They hire them because its cheaper than promoting an individual who has faithfully worked on the phones for 3 + years in the trenches. You know, someone whose earned a supervisor role.

    Question: When you have a job, do you prefer to be paid in monetary standards, or with compliments and many thanks? When you work really hard and go beyond company expectations do you prefer a bonus check, or a goodie bag with candy? If you prefer the latter options, again, you're a perfect fit to work this position and many more at Vanguard. Why? Because they hate paying you what you're worth. Your merit salary increases barely beat inflation. Someone on this site said that all Vanguard cares about is a warm body to answer the phones. Nothing could be more factual than this statement. "Oh, but they contribute to your 401(k)....and the benefits!!!!" Benefits don't pay the bills tuts.

    "We are the Walmart of mutual funds"--said by all managers and those idiots who drink the Vanguard kool-aid. "This company is really going to take off." Too bad none of us will ever see our fair share of the profits. I went to Walmart recently and every employee there had that expression on the face and that tone in their voice--they hated their job. Then it hit me....in that moment. Vanguard is Walmart. If I had a choice between a lifelong career at Vanguard and the electric chair, I'd be like "so where do I plug this thing in?"

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    No advice for managers, but I will give advice to those reading this site and especially this review. Think twice about taking this job, or thinking about making a career out of Vanguard. If you take this job, take it for the right reasons--get your licenses and get the heck out. If you get your licenses and decide you are then under moral obligation to perform some type of service for the company, keep and exit strategy in mind. Its the only way to stay sane.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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