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tony

Vanguard 403b Services A Mess

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Dan

I am in no way attempting to degrade Vanguard. I love and trust them just like you. Don't get me wrong. I was just sharing this person's experience with hopes others can avoid going through what she is going through. I wasn't expecting to write a novel about this situation but its like the new chapters kept coming. 

Still I have to wonder why a company hired to supervise  Vanguard's 403bs by Vanguard seems so inept and complicated.  I personally never had to go through any of this with my dealings with Vanguard in and out of the 403b. I can't remember ever having to wait 30 minutes on hold to reach help from Vanguard in the past either!!

Tony

 

 

 

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Hey Tony,

I am thanking you for both sharing this and helping this person. I am also pointing out that I have had trouble with them as well. It may take the Newport folks some time to get up to speed. But again, this is good info for the 403(b) community. - Dan 

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Dan

I totally got what you meant in your post. Thanks for replying. Sorry if I sounded defensive. Didn't mean to if thats how I came across.

I haven't heard back from the teacher  lately so I hope this will have a happy ending. I do know she has "hooked up" with a very nice young lady named Katy at Newport who is helping her navigate through the process. The teacher spoke highly of her and felt relieved that she could actually connect with one particular person instead of the multiple personalities she was dealing with before. She is only talking to Katy  now and that seems to have helped. 

As soon as I know more i will continue to post. I think you are right. This may be new territory for Newport and  I want to give them the benefit of the doubt for the time being.  

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I was informed by my very happy "client" that her  403b matter has been resolved and the transfer appears as completed on her online account . She calls me her advisor "for now on" . I told her to come to 403bwise instead because thats' a title I don't care to own  nor deserve.) The last e-mail asking for more paperwork was another false alarm and she did not need to fill out any more paperwork despite the e-mail that said otherwise. I don't believe she got an apology for all the rigmarole  she had to go through like Dan got that I know of, but she sure deserves one in my opinion.

Thanks for allowing me to post this play by play. Hopefully this will help you navigate your next transfer. I also hope someone over at Vanguard might have seen this thread and that may lead to some improvements in their 403b transfer methods and procedures. We all have room for improvement.

Best, 

Tony

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I've been having the same problem for many weeks with Newport Group. In trying to move the balance of a Vanguard 403(b) account to an already-established Vanguard Rollover IRA account, Newport Group has done nothing but set up roadblocks for my husband. In the first weeks, waits of 40 minutes or more to have the phone answered. Recently, two online emailed requests completely ignored. Newport Group then directed me to the wrong form, then refused it when I mailed it. Then NG directed me to the wrong plan administrator--because they erred in classifying the account with the wrong school district name. I went personally to that plan administrator, hand-delivering the form, and sent it NG. It was completely ignored because they gave me the WRONG plan administrator. They don't contact you to provide any guidance or follow-up. Finally I found the right plan administrator, which faxed the form to NG on February 28. No word on the transfer of funds. On March 5 NG told me they couldn't process it because the school name didn't fit their designation--but that's totally NG's error, and both a phone call to a live person in early February plus two attempted online contacts to have the name corrected were completely fruitless. On March 5 NG said they could only send the funds to my husband, and he would have to re-send them to his other Vanguard account. I said that wasn't acceptable, so they agreed to "escalate" our request. I called March 6, and they said the escalation consisted of their trying to get the name change corrected--but as of March 6, it still hadn't happened. I am appalled that Vanguard has outsourced to such an incompetent group, which is affecting Vanguard's reputation--or, certainly, my regard for the company. My Flagship representative has tried to help but been equally ineffective; NG promises to call her back, but doesn't. My husband's new 403(b) funds are going to USAA, because they answer the phone, know what they're doing, and care about their customers. We would do anything to not deal with NG again.

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Quote

 

 I am appalled that Vanguard has outsourced to such an incompetent group, which is affecting Vanguard's reputation--or, certainly, my regard for the company. My Flagship representative has tried to help but been equally ineffective; NG promises to call her back, but doesn't. My husband's new 403(b) funds are going to USAA, because they answer the phone, know what they're doing, and care about their customers. We would do anything to not deal with NG again.

 

 

 

 

Francaise

This just confirms what I have been saying all a long. Vanguard's association with Newport is going to prove to be a huge mistake.How is Newport going to help Vanguard better break into the 403b market with this kind of customer service. I would advise you to keep nagging them until you get satisfaction. The left hand does not know what the right hand is doing. This nonsense should not still be going on.  Keep us posted on future developments.

A suggestion. call a girl Katy and ask her to help you through this process if you wish to keep going and try to get the transfer to happen.  She helped us.

 

 

 

Tony

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2 hours ago, Francaise said:

I've been having the same problem for many weeks with Newport Group. In trying to move the balance of a Vanguard 403(b) account to an already-established Vanguard Rollover IRA account, Newport Group has done nothing but set up roadblocks for my husband. In the first weeks, waits of 40 minutes or more to have the phone answered. Recently, two online emailed requests completely ignored. Newport Group then directed me to the wrong form, then refused it when I mailed it. Then NG directed me to the wrong plan administrator--because they erred in classifying the account with the wrong school district name. I went personally to that plan administrator, hand-delivering the form, and sent it NG. It was completely ignored because they gave me the WRONG plan administrator. They don't contact you to provide any guidance or follow-up. Finally I found the right plan administrator, which faxed the form to NG on February 28. No word on the transfer of funds. On March 5 NG told me they couldn't process it because the school name didn't fit their designation--but that's totally NG's error, and both a phone call to a live person in early February plus two attempted online contacts to have the name corrected were completely fruitless. On March 5 NG said they could only send the funds to my husband, and he would have to re-send them to his other Vanguard account. I said that wasn't acceptable, so they agreed to "escalate" our request. I called March 6, and they said the escalation consisted of their trying to get the name change corrected--but as of March 6, it still hadn't happened. I am appalled that Vanguard has outsourced to such an incompetent group, which is affecting Vanguard's reputation--or, certainly, my regard for the company. My Flagship representative has tried to help but been equally ineffective; NG promises to call her back, but doesn't. My husband's new 403(b) funds are going to USAA, because they answer the phone, know what they're doing, and care about their customers. We would do anything to not deal with NG again.

Hi Francaise, Sorry about your experience which is all too common since NG has been hired last year.

What are you paying for USAA? USAA in my district used to offer the S&P 500 for .18% cost years ago, but their other options charged higher ER, if I recall. But that was some time ago. 

On a related issue, I personally dream that your anger will spread to a much worse retirement plan option that our colleagues have experienced for decades: our teachers unions along with our districts have done little to NOTHING about stopping the whole abuse of the tax-deferred retirement plans since 1961, the monopolization of low performing and costly TSA annuities that continue to be sold to our colleagues from coast to coast, and in every state, especially here in California, with no end in sight. 

You (your hubby) are lucky to have the low-cost options with USAA, and to know how to invest. So many of our colleagues do not even know they are getting ripped off with high cost annuities.

Good work and thanks for your post.

Steve

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USAA is fantastic. Newport Group (at first) couldn't tell me the identity of the plan administrator; then a couple of weeks later they gave me the wrong name. I had to call USAA to find the name of the plan administrator (because my husband has another 403(b) there from the same school district). Within 5-10 minutes I had the right person at USAA who knew the right information and willingly shared it with me. Then, knowing the true plan administrator, I went back to Newport Group to continue my quest for the rollover. Still working on that one, but I'll update you when I know more. I am dealing with "Sherry Lynn" (sounds like that) but have taken due note of "Katy's" name you mention above. I think I'll ask for her when I call again tonight. [Another NG touch: My husband is present with me when I call. Each time he has to give his full name, birthdate and address to verify I can speak for him. Last night, Sherry Lynn wouldn't proceed until he provided the third name of our three-word city, even though he'd given everything else correctly. He didn't know what she was asking for, and she didn't try to help him understand. They are incorrigible, but I am determined. ]

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Francaise

I wouldn't give up . Some of the things they are doing is normal protocol in order to make sure you truly are speaking for your husband. If you could possibly hook up with KATY, i would do so. I think she works the afternoon-evening shift. Stop talking to different representatives unless you want to get on a merry-go-round of incompetents. Talk to one and only one. Katy was able to cut through all the beauracracy . Stay determined and be firm in your requests. Don't let them push you around with repetitive requests.  My take is this company must have high turnover and poor customer service supervision/ training. I hope Vanguard is getting the message that this not the solution they had hoped for in dealing with their 403b unit.

The good news is eventually the transfer will happen and you won't have to deal with them again.

 

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24 minutes ago, tony said:

I have heard good things about USAA from many ex veterans including my next door neighbor.

 

Tony,

I am a veteran and when I checked with them years ago, their auto and home insurance were way higher than what I have now, Allied insurance. I was shocked because I have heard good things too. But we are talking about their insurance department, not the investment part. 

 

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Steve

Nothing can compare to what I have experienced with Newport on behalf of a teacher. I've been on the phone with regular  vanguard for tax  purposes 3 times in the last week and each time there help was quick and helpful. They need to do something about Newport though. 

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Oh, don't get me started on the annuity rip-off program! Our poor school employees, who assume that's the only route, when it's such a money-loser.

As for USAA, the funds are in USAA S&P 500 Index Fund with an expense ratio of .28%, year to date return 5.68%. Of course, Vanguard is distinctly better, but I'll forgo a decent amount of return just to avoid Newport Group. And here I was, a few months ago, planning to move the USAA money over to Vanguard. But not now.

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3 minutes ago, tony said:

Steve

Nothing can compare to what I have experienced with Newport on behalf of a teacher. I've been on the phone with regular  vanguard for taxing purposes 3 times in the last week and each time there help was quick and helpful. They need to do something about Newport though.

I did some research on 403bcompare.com which services California districts. My district offers the following USAA funds, and just as I suspected the only fund that is relatively low cost is their S&P 500, all of their other funds are expensive! Now these USAA ERs and the list are available for my old district (I am retired now). 

Perhaps USAA is different for your husbands. Check out those ERs!!!! Before you make a decision. Let us know what you do. 

https://www.403bcompare.com/products/17#/investmentoptions 

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