Vanguard Reviews in Phoenix, AZ | Glassdoor

Vanguard Phoenix Reviews

Updated September 19, 2017
315 reviews

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Phoenix, AZ Area

315 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Work life balance, excellent benefits (in 308 reviews)

  • Vanguard is a great company to work for and they offer great benefits (in 201 reviews)

Cons
  • Also there is a high turnover rate because it is more of a call center position once you get through training (in 131 reviews)

  • Pay is lower then the average but it is a trade off for the work life/balance (in 47 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (37)

    "Wake up Mr. McNabb! - Your VADP mangers are destroying your company!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Advisor Flagship in Scottsdale, AZ
    Current Employee - Senior Advisor Flagship in Scottsdale, AZ
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Vanguard full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Benefits are fantastic and could retain talent if management wasn't so bad.
    401k benefits are second to few.
    Career opportunities are available if you do not speak out about the very real issues impacting the clients and organizations

    Cons

    I have never seen a company lose more TOP talent than I have seen Vanguard lose in the past year. When I say top talent I mean double digit tenure and senior advisors/administrators who simply could no longer tolerate a mid 20year old micro manager whose insecurities and self serving approach prove their inability to lead.

    These managers simply do an excellent job "talking the talk"
    .
    Work life balance is non-existent IF you want to meet work load expectations. Even self driven motivated top tier professionals putting in 50+ hours per week cannot keep up.

    Flagship has become nothing more than a sweat shop call center with little to no engagement. The stress can be felt throughout the floor.

    Resources / business partners / technology and processing is worse than the press they are getting. It is a nightmare if you are client facing.

    Advice to Management

    Have a leadership vewtting process that is able to descern beyond the verbal strategy of your inexperienced managers before you have the lead seasoned professionals and lose excellent talent to you competition. This is a serious threat to the future of Vanguard. Quite simply VADP managers suck! But you don't have to take my word for it, inevitably you will see the demise.


  2. Helpful (31)

    "wildly mediocre place to start (or end) your career in finance"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Scottsdale, AZ
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Scottsdale, AZ
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Vanguard (More than a year)

    Pros

    - FINRA licensing; depending on the role, you'll probably get a series 6 or 7 at entry level, (for the recent grads out there, a series 7 is really a necessity if you're serious about progressing in the financial services industry and is the primary benefit of starting at vanguard in my opinion - they have a training system and you will pass the exams, which is also a benefit to perspective employers who are far more likely to go for someone already licensed)
    - retirement saving; vanguard offers the means to pretty aggressively contribute to your 401k so if you are looking to catch up and/or retire soon and save as much as possible, they are probably a good option and benefits overall aren't bad
    - work life balance; 37.5 hour work week - if that's what you're looking for..
    - training; they offer a ton of personal development opportunities in a wide array of subjects, which, while only occasionally useful in and of themselves, are a great way to break up the monotony of your day-to-day job. Vanguard did pay for my CFA level 1 testing however, for which I am quite grateful and education is probably the one area in which Vanguard excels.

    You have to start somewhere, vanguard isn't a bad place to do that in finance and, if you're a recent ASU grad like I was, you might not have many options in this field in AZ. My opinion is this; to each their own, but if you're like me and got out of college ready to swing for the corporate fences, learn what you can, get the licenses/professional development that you need, kill it at work and move on. There is so much to do in finance and, while absolutely enormous, Vanguard represents just a small portion of the industry. It's a good start, but you can do better.

    Cons

    - pay
    - work life balance; yes, also a con. get ready to work a lot of overtime at entry level if you're hoping to make ends meet and not default on all that student loan debt you probably have...
    - did I mention pay? *Serious word of caution though, while I heard that they may be moving away from this model eventually, whatever pay level you join at pretty much defines the rate at which your pay will progress over time (meaning, you if were to start at the bottom and work your way up, you will in every likelihood make LESS than the external candidate who got hired from outside for the same job - this is the main reason I left the company and no, it's not based on gender.. separate issue there as well in my opinion, though not in the traditional sense, additional color on that point to follow..)
    - career progression seemed to be more about time in job than results in job. You are not likely to outperform your way to a promotion by taking on extra work or projects outside of your normal role so just kick back and wait in line for that minor pay bump like everyone else, I'm sure your number will be called eventually...
    - very large company; roles are highly specialized (to maximize efficiency), which in my opinion makes for an exceptionally monotonous day-to-day, regardless of the role you're in. comes with the territory for large companies though
    - very strong, bordering on pervasive, corporate culture; the team leaders/managers almost have their own dialect ("speak to that," "learning opportunity," "engagement survey," and other various nonsense words that I assume are instilled through some kind of training process or perhaps outright brainwashing [sarcasm]. Having that 1:1 with your team leader is like having a conversation with Siri; artificial, shallow, and oh so politically correct.
    - almost abusive use of acronyms throughout the firm (there are literally hundreds, you won't know what people are talking about when referring to different departments for months)
    - gender bias; this could be a pro as well, which is why I saved it for last. In the financial services industry, there is a well evidenced male gender-bias, in pay as well as proportion. Refreshingly, that is not the case at Vanguard. There are a lot of girls who work there (not a con, obviously). Being the white, middle-class male that I am, never have I experienced a "glass ceiling" of any kind... until vanguard. Regardless of how you self-identify, save yourself some time and give up on those aspirations of making it into management unless you fit the mold of late 20s to early 30s blonde girl who majored in something like communications or interior design and stumbled into an accelerated management program (I think that's where the brainwashing occurs by the way). In all seriousness, it's truly uncomfortable to feel disadvantaged in such a manner, however slightly. I am now a staunch feminist. go equality.

    Advice to Management

    start over. seriously. create a system that rewards hard work and professional achievement, pay your employees a good wage and they will work more efficiently/effectively (and you can attract better talent to replace the employees who don't) and, most importantly, they will stay with you longer, making that upfront investment go significantly further. you will see an immediate improvement in client interactions, which would be immediately reflected in AUM (It's a miracle that Vanguard is able to retain any high net worth clients, let alone attract new ones. I can assure you from personal experience, the delay in service is not due to abnormally high call volume but is a result of the outrageous length of time it takes the average associate to handle a given request or issue, 20 minute disastrous experience minimum if you dare call in, and that's in the top client segment. God help those in the bottom tiers). I find it hard to believe that the revolving door that is Vanguard's talent pool of employees to be part of a viable long term strategy. Despite the record year, indexing will not always be in favor and services provided will quickly start to outweigh saving an extra bp annually on the expense ratio. You will need the talent in place to provide such services and innovate to remain competitive in the ever-changing landscape that is the financial services industry. I suspect that day will come sooner rather than later and advise that you invest in your employees while times are still good. The market over the next 5 years will prove to be quite challenging. And what is it that I keep reading about Jack Bogle, ETFs, indexing, and systemic risk... best of luck out there.. but hey, you can't beat the index, right?

  3. Helpful (13)

    "Great place to start career"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Team Leader in Scottsdale, AZ
    Former Employee - Team Leader in Scottsdale, AZ
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Vanguard full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    I worked in the Scottsdale office for 6 years.

    > Excellent benefits - medical/dental, 401k match, partnership. I hear they're doing student loan payoffs now...really great! Really, the benefits are unmatched in the industry.
    > Leadership development - several programs focused on leadership acumen, very good leadership at middle management level, high premium focused on coaching and developing crew
    > Culture - you work for a company owned by it's shareholders and it shows, very little competition b/t employees, polite/nice/genuinely GOOD people work here
    > Great training - State of the art, award winning Vanguard University will give you everything you need and more
    > Licensing/designation sponsorships - Get all your FINRA licenses, CFP, CFA, MBA, etc. it's all paid for and there are many programs to help you study
    > PTO - You get a lot of it, like a lot. And you can buy a week. I think I had 7-8 weeks when I left.
    > 'Rotation based' - Rotations are encouraged and plentiful. So are internships. And, people generally root for each other.
    > Community involvement - Vanguard, like many large AZ firms, is big in the community
    > Great Senior Leadership - Excellent site leadership, more senior positions coming from Philly
    > Business casual environment - You're not judged by the way you dress. Wear a golf shirt and dress pants to work, totally fine. Want to suit up? No prob.
    > Great reputation - Many people start their careers here, work for 5-7 years, get there licenses, maybe some leadership experience, and then parlay that experience for bigger and better things. Other companies, especially in financial services, will come calling. They know Vanguard is second to none when it comes to training, ethics, and talent identification.

    Cons

    > Bureaucratic organization - Depends on the department, but Vanguard is generally not a meritocracy, instead your bonuses and career trajectory are based on popularity, networking, interviewing skills, and a "what-have-you-done-for-me-lately" attitude. Again, not all the time, but mostly
    > Getting too big, and clients will start to notice - Vanguard prides themselves on 'cost-to-serve'. They'd like to reduce expense ratios as low as possible. This is fantastic for clients and returns, but scaling a $4 trillion enterprise is tricky on operations i.e. long hold times, clunky processes, outdated technology. An elephant can only move so fast.
    > Becoming a sales organization - Departments like Flagship, Concierge Services, and Personal Advisor Services are turning to a sales focus. It's a transition. Vanguard spent years NOT selling anything...they just let clients come to them. Now, they're focused on sales tactics. This isn't necessarily a bad things, but they don't have the talent to do it...yet.
    > Poor pay for entry level leaders - Starting pay is OK, but you get roughly 7% when you move up a level, and the salary minimums are LOW for the industry
    > Career ceiling - If you're in a certain line of work i.e. HR, portfolio management, IT, etc, you'll hit a ceiling in Scottsdale at some point
    > Hope to have a good boss - The good ones are really great, the bad ones...ehhhh. People are leaving there bosses, not Vanguard.

    Advice to Management

    > Recognize and address the Exodus - Your leaders are leaving in droves. Why? What are you doing to keep them? Understand that most young leaders are being attracted by other firms. What are you doing to stay competitive?
    > Offer salary 'adjustments' more often
    > Offer an in-house MBA/Line Manager development program
    > Bring more technical jobs out to Scottsdale


  4. Helpful (4)

    "Complex retirement and trading services"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Complex Retirement Specialist in Phoenix, AZ
    Former Employee - Complex Retirement Specialist in Phoenix, AZ
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Vanguard full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Great people, Everyone liked to work in teams to help each other but could also work individually. Supervisors listen and act. On an emergency basis, very flexible. Good hours, challenging, but most of all, management - associate dynamic was very good.

    Cons

    inflexible hours in season, pay a little low, had trouble recognizing peoples abilities and exploiting them for maximum output. Difficult to get in the front door and more difficult to move inside the company.

    Advice to Management

    Before the financial business I was self employed with 50 people reporting to me. I had manuals, I had policies. However, it is my believe, while those things are of course essential in a large company, they should be used as guidelines and not law. When I manage people, I use policies and procedures, but more importantly I use my "guts and my instincts," that's why I have them.


  5. "client relationship specialist"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Scottsdale, AZ
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Scottsdale, AZ
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Vanguard full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    its a good company. liked it

    Cons

    two tries for series 7

    Advice to Management

    none


  6. Helpful (1)

    "Really Loved My Time at Vanguard"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Specialized Service Representative in Scottsdale, AZ
    Former Employee - Specialized Service Representative in Scottsdale, AZ
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Vanguard full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Paid for licensing, great people to be around, great long term career opportunities, partnership, and you actually love the mutual funds! They also have an on-site doctors office, which was great, along with their work out facility and on-site cafe.

    Cons

    It's a call center - that is not so great. I liked helping institutional clients but it did get a little overwhelming at times and with management so focused on numbers it did not allow a lot of time for cross training. The starting pay was on the lower end for the industry as well.

    Advice to Management

    Keep investing in your employees.


  7. Helpful (22)

    "Retail "Bond Desk"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Scottsdale, AZ
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Scottsdale, AZ
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Vanguard full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Vacation. Standard large corporate benefits.

    Cons

    Where to start. The Bond Desk title is only a title. The reality is those poor associates are being asked to take every type of call imagined. And that ever so grey area of rating a call by supervisors is used to give poor reviews-run the older more costly associates with tenure-right out the door. It is truly legalized harassment. When you look at these poor reviews take them seriously-it's not a bunch of disgruntled former employees. I got to "retire" the culture is toxic and I would've never said that 10 years ago.

    Advice to Management

    Nothing-it's a 2 trillion dollar company-they'll do what they wanna do knowing call centers are the modern day factories. They'll always have bodies from benefits alone.

  8. Helpful (1)

    "Great Employer to start a career"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Processing Associate in Scottsdale, AZ
    Current Employee - Processing Associate in Scottsdale, AZ
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Friendly Enviroment, great benefits, profit sharing plan, bonus and okay pay.

    Cons

    Once your in the company its hard to grow and salary increase is only 7%.

    Advice to Management

    Provide better salary and promotions


  9. Helpful (21)

    "I am not Vanguard! I'm a person, a client, a husband, a father."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Client Relationship Administrator in Scottsdale, AZ
    Former Employee - Senior Client Relationship Administrator in Scottsdale, AZ
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Vanguard full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Vanguard was a good company to work for under Bogle and Brennan but McNabb $ucks!

    Cons

    Vanguard is a "see no evil and hear no evil" type of company.

    Advice to Management

    My advice to the board is to fire all senior managers immediately - including McNabb for "raping" and abusing the crew.


  10. Helpful (36)

    "Sinking Ship"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Assigned Representative in Phoenix, AZ
    Current Employee - Assigned Representative in Phoenix, AZ
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Vanguard full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    The people. The best thing about my job is all of my coworkers. Other than that the job is miserable and unrewarding.

    Cons

    The pay is terrible. Look at any other financial firm and they will pay you at LEAST 10K more. That's before all the benefits. Vanguard tries to say their "total compensation", which means base pay, benefits, partnership, etc is on pace with what other companies offer. It's not.

    Vanguard is growing by leaps and bounds. There are literally so many inbound request to move money in that they can't keep up. Clients are starting to realize that they don't have their stuff together. Hold times are on average at least 20 minutes to get a client to any other department. Especially the good for nothing "transfer department".

    I work as an assigned representative for high net worth clients, clients with $1 million or more in Vanguard assets. When I started in this role a mere two years ago it was amazing. At that time it was a salary role, bonus eligible and all about managing the client relationship with Vanguard. About three months into this role EVERYTHING changed. We are now required to do outbound sales calls with NO additional compensation. Management says a lot of bs, that these aren't sales calls but they are. I don't know why else you would call clients to pursue them to sign up for the managed advice service?! At the same time they made this an hourly role, no longer bonus eligible and now due to our volumes and all the smart people who have left this company the rest of us who are still here are "forced" into working overtime. I am now required to help out with the queue. That was not in the original job description but now on top of managing a book of clients and making stupid outcalls, we have to "help the business" and take queue calls 2-3 days a week which takes up a huge chunk of time. The 37.5 hour work weeks is something that no longer exists. I can't get away with working less than 45 hours a week on average.

    PTO. Yes they give you a decent amount and you can buy more which is great. However can you get time off when you want/need it? No. Especially in the high volume time now you have 0 shot. Forget it all your PTO will be rejected and you'll be forced to use what they call Unscheduled PTO. If you get too many of those get ready for a write up. This used to only be a problem in tax season however there has been steady ridiculous volumes for the past 8 months now with no end in sight.

    It is near IMPOSSIBLE to move up in this company if you didn't come in as a VADP (Vanguard Advanced Development Program) crew member. Those crew members are fresh out of college with little to no experience and they become the future leaders of Vanguard. Probably why this company has become so messed up. Not to mention why even move up? When they changed my role to hourly they also implemented to change that any promotions are only a 7% raise. Great. Idea.

    Advice to Management

    TREAT YOUR CREW MEMBERS BETTER! You wonder why the attrition has increased so much and you say you're making changes for us but you're not. Take advice from the front line crew instead of the Executives sitting in the ivory tower who have no idea what's going on.


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