Vanguard Competitors


Vanguard vs competition: fees, rates, and alternatives rankings. Who are the top Vanguard competitors? List of the biggest Vanguard rival companies.



Vanguard Competitors


Vanguard is a discount broker, offering its clients a variety of financial products and trading tools. But Vanguard has strong competitors in TD Ameritrade, M1 Finance, Webull, and Ally Invest. So how does it compare to its biggest rivals? Let's take a look.



Recommendations


Retirement Savers and Long-Term Investors: TD Ameritrade has much more no-commission mutual funds than Vanguard.

Small Accounts: We would suggest Webull which has $0 commissions and fees.

Individual Retirement Accounts: Unlike Vanguard, TD Ameritrade has no IRA fees of any kind.

Beginners: Although we do like Vanguard’s educational tools, they are bit difficult to find on its rather undeveloped site. We pick Ally Invest.

Mutual Fund Investors: Although Vanguard helped to popularize mutual funds, today it largely underperforms other choices in the marketplace. TD Ameritrade customers, for example, get more commission-free mutual funds to choose from (4,200+).

Active ETF and Stock Trading: This one is easy. Vanguard has no decent software. Webull, TD Ameritrade, and E*Trade have good desktop platforms that frequent traders will want to use.


Overview of Trading Tools at Vanguard


Vanguard emphasizes long-term investing with low-cost funds. So naturally the brokerage house doesn’t offer a lot of sophisticated trading technology. Nevertheless, there are tools available for busy traders and equity investors. Let’s take a look at what technology Vanguard clients have access to, and compare the broker’s tools to the technology of the competitors.


Website


Because Vanguard doesn’t have a desktop platform, most trading takes places on its website. It isn’t very advanced, and it can be difficult to navigate at times. Unfortunately, there is no trading bar available either. Trades for stocks, ETF’s, mutual funds, bonds, and options can be placed on simple web pages.

The best place to start is to go to ‘My Accounts’ at the top of the website, and then select ‘Buy & Sell’. Doing so will produce a new web page with a host of trading choices. These include links to trade securities along with information on the broker’s commission schedule and extended-hours trading, among other topics.





Before placing a trade, you may want to review detailed information about a security. There is a handy search field in the upper-right-corner of the Vanguard website. Typing in a stock’s ticker symbol here will produce a profile page with several tabs, including earnings, financials, charting, and analyst reports. The broker’s charting software unfortunately does not allow a graph to be displayed full screen, although there are some technical indicators and a few graph styles available.





On the right-hand side of the page, there are options for trading the stock, comparing stocks, or using an equity screener to find other candidates for purchase. The screener is able to search by just a few variables, such as sector and market cap. The side-by-side comparison includes metrics such as P/E ratio and trade volume.

Clicking on ‘Trade this stock’ produces a new page where an order can be entered. There are links here that explain order types and how to place a trade. The order form includes fields for order type (market, stop, or limit), duration, and transaction type (buy or sell).

Besides the website, Vanguard will also accept orders by phone. Accounts with assets below $500,000 must pay extra for this service.





Mobile App


Vanguard also offers a mobile app where trades can be placed. The platform is compatible with devices running Apple iOS and the Android operating system. The broker is one of the few in the industry to also provide an app for Amazon Kindle.

The app boasts several important features. There is a watch list, which is completely independent of website watch lists. There are also links for stock research and market news. Paper checks can be deposited using the app’s mobile check feature. There is also a customer service contact, where old messages can be retrieved and new messages sent, with attachments if desired.





The broker’s mobile app has a really nice portfolio analysis feature. It scans the holdings in an account and displays the percentage of bonds, stocks, short-term assets, and other securities. These numbers can be displayed next to a model allocation.

The Vanguard app offers account documents in pdf format. Statements and trade confirmations can be viewed, downloaded, and even printed.

Placing a trade on the mobile platform is fairly straightforward. Tapping on the icon of three horizontal bars in the upper-left portion of the screen produces the app’s main menu. Tapping on ‘buy, sell & exchange’ generates a trade menu. This will produce choices for the trading of Vanguard funds, stocks, or non-Vanguard ETF’s. Non-Vanguard mutual funds cannot be traded on the mobile app. Available order types for stocks and ETF’s include market, limit, stop, and stop limit. Duration can be set to a day order, or a 60-day GTC order.