The more money you have, the more opportunities you have to save money.
That is Vanguard‘s message. I’m not sure I agree with the philosophy from a consumer standpoint, but it is a way to reward loyal customers — generally customers who make the most money for the company.
Yesterday I received a notification in the mail — whatever happened to the inexpensive and abundant tool called “e-mail,” anyway? — that I now qualify for Vanguard’s Voyager Services. While that sounds excellent, the benefits aren’t too impressive.
As a member of Voyager Services, investors will pay $7 for each stock or non-Vanguard ETF trade rather than $7 for only the first 25 trades and $20 after that. Investors who wish to buy a non-Vanguard no-load fund that carries a transaction fee, the fee will be only $20 rather than $35. Outgoing wires under $5,000 are free rather than $5.
Membership in Voyager Services is based on the amount of total household assets held at Vanguard, with $50,000 being the threshold. More benefits are available when an investor’s assets total $500,000 and yet another level of service is offered with $1,000,000 invested at Vanguard. These are called Voyager Select Services and Flagship Services respectively.
Voyager Services, Voyager Select Services, and Flagship Services shouldn’t be confused with owning Admiral Shares of a Vanguard mutual fund. Admiral Shares, with lowered expense fees, are where the real savings take place.
Updated February 6, 2012 and originally published June 2, 2010. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.