Ever since I started investing with Vanguard I simply assumed Vanguard had no local offices to keep costs low. However, I recently stumbled upon a thread on Bogleheads discussing the different office locations and even the possibility of a walk-in office. A walk-in office would seem counterintuitive at first since Vanguard basically operates at cost. Maybe there are some upsides to actually having a physical location. I scoured the web for answers and here is what I found.
Where are Vanguard offices located? Vanguard’s offices are located across four continents: North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. In North American Vanguard has offices located in Charlotte, North Carolina; Scottsdale, Arizona; Valley Forge, Pennsylvania; Toronto, Canada, and Mexico City, Mexico. Their European offices are located in London, Paris, Amsterdam, and Zurich. Vanguard’s Australian presence extends from Brisbane across Melbourne and Perth to Sydney. Vanguard’s locations in Asia are Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Sydney.
It seems counterintuitive that Vanguard would have this many offices located around the world while also offering some of the cheapest funds on the market. In this article, I’ll have a more detailed look at how their offices are set up.
As mentioned above, Vanguard has several locations and physical offices all across the globe. However, they are headquartered in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, a small historic town not too far from Philadelphia:
However, it seems unlikely you will be able to actually enter the office on site. Especially after 9-11 Vanguard ramped up their security and will not let anyone who’s not authorized onto their campus. It might be possible for flagship clients to arrange a meeting with their advisor after previous consultation.
You will be able to drive by and have a look at the office building from the outside. This could be a worthwhile activity if you live in the area but it would probably not be worth driving several hours for (unless you’re really bored).
But let’s have another look at Vanguard’s other locations worldwide:
|U.S. offices||International offices|
|Charlotte, North Carolina||Amsterdam, the Netherlands|
|Scottsdale, Arizona||Beijing, China|
|Valley Forge, Pennsylvania||Brisbane, Australia|
|Washington, D.C.||Dublin, Ireland|
|Mexico City, Mexico|
Surprisingly, Vanguard’s international presence is a lot bigger than I initially expected. When comparing the two columns, you will also notice that their domestic offices are almost exclusively located in smaller communities, although not too far from big cities (e.g. Philadelphia). Supposedly, this is to keep costs low as renting offices, say, in Manhattan, would be a lot pricier.
However, this contradicts having office in some of the most expensive cities worldwide such as Tokyo, London and Sydney. Perhaps, Vanguard has chosen more high-profile locations abroad to attract more international clients and expand their brand.
If we plot these locations over a map, Vanguard’s global presence becomes even more apparent:
Vanguard Walk-in Offices
Now, you may wonder if it is actually possible to visit any of these office in person.
And the short answer is: no.
Let me explain. All of Vanguard’s offices are not set up to be “customer service centers”. They are functionally arranged to suit the needs of a financial management company whose employees need a space to get their work done. Like any other company of this size, Vanguard has administrative staff, customer service representatives, and IT. They all need a place to work!
However, not too long ago Vanguard has apparently started to offer visits to customers whose net worth exceeds 1 million USD. This may seem kind of elitist for a company that prides itself with “leveling the playing field” of the investment world but apparently there was some demand from their bigger clients for an on-site visit.
So if you are disappointed that you are unable to visit Vanguard’s offices because you, not a millionaire yet, let me ask you this: what is so incredibly important or time-sensitive that it could not be solved via email or over the phone?
Sure, there are some situations that you may feel more comfortable talking to a person right in front of you but driving or flying to Vanguard’s offices every time you have a customer service query would seem kind of tedious as well, wouldn’t it?
Luckily, you don’t have to do that since their customer service is available Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 7pm.
How do I talk to a person at Vanguard?
If you’d like to talk to a person at Vanguard your best bet is to take a look at their “Contact Us” page.
If you call one of their customer service numbers – either for financial advisors or personal investors – you will likely be talking to a customer service representative within minutes.
We have seen that Vanguard has offices located worldwide in most major cities. Locations in the U.S. are mostly confined to smaller towns in the eastern United States.
As with most bigger corporations is seems very unlikely that you will be able to ever visit them in person. Just like you will probably not be able to just show up at Robinhood’s headquarters and ask for a private tour. However, there appears to be an option for their millionaire investors to arrange personal consultations at their headquarters.
But being able to visit Vanguard’s offices should probably not determine whether you chose to invest with them or not. Instead, choose Vanguard for other reasons.
Their incredible history of revolutionizing the world of investing for us, creating exchange-traded funds with some of the lowest expense ratio on the market and their unique corporate structure which makes every investor a mutual owner of the company.
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