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Vanguard investment platform review

We analyse the charges levied by Vanguard and ask whether the fund supermarket provides good value for investors

In this article
What is Vanguard? What accounts and services does Vanguard offer? Is Vanguard good or bad? What do customers say about Vanguard?
What are Vanguard's charges? Who is Vanguard good for? Who is Vanguard expensive for? Get top money-saving tips from Which? 

What is Vanguard?

Vanguard is a fund manager that offers Stocks and Shares Isas, Junior Isas, and Sipps (from early 2020).

Vanguard was founded in the US in 1975 by investing pioneer Jack Bogle, with the company owned by its funds and hence its investors. Previously offering funds through other investment platforms, it launched its own UK platform in 2017.

Vanguard’s platform only allows you to buy Vanguard funds, of which there are 76, covering a range of regions, assets and investment styles. You can’t buy funds from other companies, shares, or investment trusts. 

What accounts and services does Vanguard offer?

The information below gives an at-glance view of the key things that the accounts and services Vanguard offers. 

Elements marked with a are offered by Vanguard and those marked with a are not.

 

General investment account

 

A general investment account that can hold different types of investments but doesn’t give tax-free benefits like pensions and Isas.

 

Junior Isa

 

A junior Isa is a tax-free savings account for under 18s.

 

Sipps*

 

*Launching in early 2020. A Sipp is a pension where you have complete control over the investments you put your savings into.

 

✓ Stocks and shares Isa

 

A stocks and shares Isa is a tax-free account that allows you to put your money in a range of investments.

 

✘ Advisory services

 

Advisory services allow you to access professional investment advice. 

 

✘ Lifetime Isa

 

A lifetime Isa is a tax-free savings or investment account designed to help people aged 18-39 buy their first home or save for retirement. 

 

Savings account

 

A savings account is somewhere you can put your money so it can grow in value. 

 

✘ Annuity

 

An annuity is an insurance product which allows you to swap your pension savings for a guaranteed regular income that will last for the rest of your life. 

 

✘ Banking services

 

Banking services allow you to operate bank accounts, make transfers and make payments.

 

Income drawdown*

 

*will become available after Sipps launch in early 2020. Income drawdown allows you to take money out of your pension to live on in retirement.

Is Vanguard good or bad?

To get an idea of how good or bad Vanguard is, we asked its customers.  

Which?'s rating for customer satisfaction is based on feedback from real customers. The score is made up of a customer's overall satisfaction with the brand, and how likely they are to recommend that brand.

Which? members can exclusively read the results of our unique customer satisfaction survey.

Members can log in to see our review of Vanguard. If you're not already a member, you can sign up to a one month trial for Which? Money for just £1 to access this review and thousands of others.

Aspect of service Star rating
Online tools Logged out padlock
Customer service Logged out padlock
Investment information Logged out padlock
Available investments meet my needs Logged out padlock
Value for money Logged out padlock

A dash means we received less than 30 responses and were therefore unable to give a star rating. 

What do customers say about Vanguard?

  • 'I like the overall policy of Vanguard in supporting a small but good range of equity index funds with appropriate low charges.'
  • 'Low cost and great customer service means that Vanguard beat all their rivals.'

Check out our guide on the best and worst investment platforms to see how Vanguard compared with AJ Bell, Hargreaves Lansdown and other investment platforms.

What are Vanguard's charges?

Annual charges

  • 0.15% annual account fee (no fee for amounts above £250,000)

Trading charges

  • £7.50 to buy or sell a fund through Quote and Deal service (free with bulk dealing service)
  • No charge for switching or selling funds
  • No charge for transferring in or out
  • You can’t buy shares with Vanguard, so share trading costs aren’t applicable

We’ve estimated the cost of investing various sums in investment platforms over the course of a year in the table below. The costs assume you only buy funds (shares work out slightly cheaper with some companies), and make four purchases and four sales each year.

Amount invested Logged out detail
£5,000 Logged out detail
£10,000 Logged out detail
£25,000 Logged out detail
£50,000 Logged out detail
£100,000 Logged out detail
£250,000 Logged out detail
£500,000 Logged out detail
£1m Logged out detail

Source: Analysis by Which? Money correct as of April 2020

Read our comparison of investment platform charges to see how much investing with Vanguard costs for a range of portfolios.

Who is Vanguard good for?

For those with small and medium portfolios, Vanguard’s simple, percentage-based fees are a fraction of those charged by even its closest major rivals.

It's also one of the cheapest platforms for large portfolios but lags behind some fixed-fee brokers (see below). 

Who is Vanguard expensive for?

For portfolios over £100,000 it’s actually cheaper to buy Vanguard funds from a fixed-fee broker, such as Halifax Share Dealing or Interactive Investor.

As Vanguard only offers its own exchange traded funds, investors looking to buy company shares will have to look elsewhere.

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