Edward Jones vs. Vanguard: Fees, Minimum Investments, etc

Edward Jones and Vanguard offer similar investment services, such as stocks, bonds, CDs, retirement accounts, and mutual funds. Vanguard accounts typically require lower minimum investments and have flat-rate fees, while Edward Jones requires higher minimum investments and has variable commissions. Vanguard also has no incoming or outgoing transfer fees, while Edward Jones has a $95 transfer-out fee. But, overall, Edward Jones has more financial services available. For more details of how Edward Jones and Vanguard compare, see below.

Edward Jones vs. Vanguard

Edward Jones and Vanguard are two financial services firms offering investments like mutual funds and exchange-traded funds, as well as wealth and investment advising. While they have similar services, Edward Jones and Vanguard have some critical differences — due in part to the fact that Vanguard is an online brokerage and Edward Jones is a more traditional, full-service brokerage. Below, we have a full comparison of Edward Jones and Vanguard, including the services offered, account minimums, fees, transfers, and customer satisfaction rates.

Services Offered

Both Edward Jones and Vanguard offer the following investments:

  • Bonds
  • Certificates of deposit (CDs)
  • College savings
  • Exchange-traded funds (ETFs)
  • Money market funds
  • Mutual funds
  • Retirement savings
  • Stocks

Both companies also have annuities, personal advising, and savings accounts available.

In addition, Edward Jones offers credit cards, life insurance, long-term care insurance, long-term disability insurance, and trust services.

Minimum Investments

At both Edward Jones and Vanguard, minimum investments vary by account type. Some accounts and investments, including Edward Jones’ non-retirement brokerage accounts and Vanguard ETFs, have no minimum opening investment. Accounts at each firm that do require a minimum investment include:

  • Edward Jones
    • Advisory Solutions Fund Model: $25,000
    • Advisory Solutions Unified Management Account (UMA) Model: $500,000
    • Guided Solutions Flex Account: $25,000
    • Guided Solutions Fund Account: $5,000
    • Select Retirement Account: $5,000 in individual retirement assets or $10,000 for purchases of annuities
  • Vanguard
    • Admiral Shares: $3,000 for index funds; $50,000 for actively-managed funds; $100,000 for some sector-specific funds
    • Most individual and joint mutual funds: $3,000
    • STAR Fund: $1,000
    • Target Retirement Funds: $1,000

Fees and Commissions

Edward Jones and Vanguard publish their fee and commission schedules. You can find Edward Jones’ account disclosures on its website. Vanguard’s Brokerage Services commission and fee schedule is on its website. Below, we’ve listed the fee information available at the time of this writing.

Annual/Monthly Fees

  • Edward Jones’ fees vary by account type. Some are charged monthly, while others are assessed annually.
    • $3 per month for money market funds, unless you meet the minimum balance requirement (which varies depending on whether you have investment shares or retirement shares)
    • $30 annual fee for owner-only 401(k) plans
    • $40 annual fee for IRAs, plus $20 per year for each additional IRA for the same individual
    • No yearly fee for individual brokerage accounts; $35 annual fee for brokerage accounts using cash management solutions for business, such as business checking.
    • Employer-sponsored 401(k) plans may have annual fees, but these vary depending on your program and other factors.
  • Vanguard’s annual fees vary by account type. You can avoid annual account fees by signing up for e-delivery.
    • $20 per account for brokerage accounts with assets less than $10,000
    • $20 per account for mutual fund-only accounts with a balance less than $10,000
    • $20 for individual 401(k) and Roth 401(k) plans
    • $25 for simple IRAs
    • $60 for 403(b) plans

CDs and Bonds

  • Edward Jones: CD and bond fees vary depending on whether the certificate is newly issued or previously issued. For newly issued CDs and bonds, Edward Jones generally includes fees in the initial offering price, so you’ll learn the amount when confirming the trade. Previously issued CDs, municipal bonds, and corporate bonds may involve a commission of up to 2% when buying and 0.75% when selling. Some newly-issued CDs are commission-free.
  • Vanguard: Fees vary by the type of bond or CD. Generally, newly issued CDs have fees around $50, and previously issued CDs have fees of $1 to $2 per $1,000 face value. U.S. Treasury securities and some newly issued CDs are available commission-free. Find the full CD and bond fee schedule on Vanguard’s website.

ETFs

  • Edward Jones: For ETF trades, Edward Jones charges a commission (typically 2% of the invested amount or $5, whichever is higher) based on the transaction amount, as well as a transaction fee and operating expenses.
  • Vanguard: Online ETF trades are commission-free. For trades by phone, fees vary based on your total assets. Fees are as follows for trades by phone:
    • $25 per trade with assets less than $50,000
    • $25 per trade with assets of $50,000 to $500,000
    • $20 per trade with assets of $500,000 to $1 million
    • With assets of $1 million to $5 million, your first 25 trades are free; the fee is $2 per trade after that.
    • With assets of $5 million or more, your first 100 trades are free, with a fee of $2 per trade thereafter.

Individual Stocks

  • Edward Jones: For most stock purchases, Edward Jones charges a commission of about 2% of the investment amount, plus a transaction fee (which is not publicly shared by the company).
  • Vanguard: Vanguard’s stock trading fees vary based on your total assets, as well as whether you are trading online or by phone. The fees are as follows:
    • With assets less than $50,000: $25 per trade by phone; about $7 for your first 25 trades online and $20 per online trade after that
    • With assets of $50,000 to $500,000: $25 per trade by phone; $7 per trade online
    • With assets of $500,000 to $1 million: $20 per trade by phone; $2 per trade online
    • With assets of $1 million to $5 million: $0.20 for your first 25 trades by phone or online and $2 per trade thereafter
    • With assets of $5 million or more: $0.20 for your first 100 trades by phone or online and $2 per trade after that

Mutual Funds

  • Edward Jones: Edward Jones does not directly charge customers a fee for mutual funds. Instead, the mutual fund company determines the fees the customer will pay, and the mutual fund company then pays Edward Jones a commission. Your fees will vary based on the policies and fee schedules of the mutual fund company. Edward Jones’ mutual fund disclosure notes that the mutual fund company may waive sales charges if you invest a certain amount or invest in a certain class of shares.
  • Vanguard: As with ETFs, Vanguard offers commission-free online trading for mutual funds. The fees for trades by phone vary by your total assets. For trades by phone, the following service charges apply:
    • $50 per trade with total assets less than $50,000 and up to $500,000
    • $50 per trade with assets from $500,000 to $1 million
    • No service charge for trades with assets of more than $1 million

Note: If you’re self-managing your mutual fund investments, see our article for the list of high-dividend mutual funds.

Personal Advising

  • Edward Jones: Edward Jones charges annual fees that vary by the value of all assets in your account. The starting fee is 1.35% on your first $250,000. This rate decreases as your assets grow, eventually reaching a rate of 0.50% if you have more than $10 million in assets. Some services, such as the UMA Model, also charge annual portfolio strategy fees of up to 0.19%.
  • Vanguard: Vanguard’s annual advising fees vary based on your assets, as follows:
    • 0.30% on assets under $5 million
    • 0.20% on assets from $5 million to $10 million
    • 0.10% on assets from $10 million to $25 million
    • 0.05% on assets of $25 million and above

Transfer Process

If you’re dissatisfied with your current broker, you may want to transfer to or from Edward Jones or Vanguard. (See our article for advice on firing your current financial adviser.) The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission notes that a transfer should “start and end with your new firm” — meaning you should create an account with your new firm first, so it can help you arrange your transfer. The SEC recommends keeping in contact with both firms throughout the process so you can complete the transfer smoothly.

While the transfer process will vary depending on which companies you are working with, we were able to gather some details about transfers at Edward Jones and Vanguard.

Transferring to or from Edward Jones

To sign up for an account with Edward Jones, you’ll need to meet with an Edward Jones adviser in your area. The adviser will discuss your options; for example, if you’ve changed jobs, an adviser can help you decide whether to transfer or roll over your 401(k).

Transferring your brokerage account or IRA from Edward Jones to a different firm carries a fee of $95 per account.

Transferring to or from Vanguard

Instructions for transfers and rollovers are on the Vanguard website. The transfer process will vary depending on which company you’re moving to or from.

Many transfers can be completed online but may take up to six weeks to process. You’ll need to have the following information on hand:

  • An account statement from your current company within the past 90 days
  • The type of account and the dollar amount you want to transfer
  • Your birth date, Social Security number, and other personal information
  • If you’ve already signed up for a Vanguard account, have your Vanguard account number ready.

Vanguard doesn’t charge any ingoing or outgoing transfer fees, but, keep in mind, your current company may charge a transfer-out fee if you are moving to Vanguard.

Customer Satisfaction

Edward Jones and Vanguard have similar ratings in terms of customer satisfaction. To learn more about each firm, we consulted the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and ConsumerAffairs.

Edward Jones is not accredited by the BBB and C rating. Vanguard is not accredited by the BBB either but has an A rating. ConsumerAffairs rates that companies as follows: Edward Jones has a rating just over one out of five, while Vanguard has a flat one-out-of-five rating.

While these ratings may seem low, keep in mind that most people tend to leave reviews if they have had overwhelmingly negative experiences, and the BBB bases its ratings on customer complaints. When choosing between Edward Jones, Vanguard, and other firms, you’ll want to consider factors like the company’s fees and how involved you want to be in managing your account.

In Summary

Edward Jones is a full-service, advisory-focused investment company, while Vanguard offers flexible management options and online investments. The companies are similar in that both offer services like retirement accounts, stocks, bonds, CDs, and ETFs, but their fee schedules and account requirements differ. In general, Vanguard accounts have lower fees and minimum investments than Edward Jones, as well as no incoming or outgoing transfer fees. To determine which investment firm is right for you, consider factors like fees, your involvement in the account management process, and which products or services are most important to you.

Need to know where to cash your 401(k) check from a company like Vanguard? See our article for the list of places that cash 401(k) checks.

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