Vanguard Group, famed for its low-cost investment products, just broke out of the pack in a consumer satisfaction survey. But not in a good way.
The mutual fund firm with more than $5.3 trillion in assets under management suffered the largest annual point decline among internet investment providers in an American Customer Satisfaction Index report. The Malvern, Pennsylvania-based company’s score dropped to 79 out of 100, down three points from last year and knocking it out of first place. The new leader is Edward Jones & Co., which scored an 80.
Vanguard, which doesn’t have brick-and-mortar branches, has had some high-profile glitches in the past year. On Oct. 10 — after the survey was taken — when the S&P 500 Index had its worst decline in nine months, some customers were unable to access Vanguard’s website.
The fund giant’s score of 79 matches the overall rating for its sector, and that of Fidelity Investments.
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“Digital is awesome when it works, but if it doesn’t, it’s human nature to react even more strongly in a negative fashion,” said David VanAmburg, managing director at the ACSI. “Vanguard got low marks for customer service. It just wasn’t seen as a strong point for them.”