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The Vanguard Group Improves Its Advice Engine, Information Access Security and the Client Experience

Upgrading Vanguard Financial Plan customer advice engine, delivering two-factor authentication for its shareholders and collaborating with clients to personalize their experience with The Vanguard Group are all on Managing Director and CIO Tim Buckley's agenda.

The Vanguard Group
Tim Buckley
Managing Director and CIO

The Vanguard Group
P.O. Box 2600
Valley Forge, PA 19482


More than $1 trillion in assets under management.


Joined The Vanguard Group in 1991 as assistant to the chairman and has held various leadership positions within corporate planning and development, the retail group and most recently as head of the Web services division.

EDUCATION: B.A. from Harvard College, 1991; M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, 1996.

Top 3 Current Projects

Scalable Advice


Building on work done last year, we're continuing to improve the Vanguard Financial Plan, an advice engine launched this year that lets customers get financial advice from our best minds in an easy and affordable manner. We're using a service-oriented architecture (SOA) and AJAX to improve the user experience, and future versions will offer increased collaboration, including click-to-talk technologies. The engine and the service is out there; the next part is making it more interactive. The beauty of the system is that it takes an expense process and reduces the cost of providing it by as much as 90 percent.

Improved Security


We're working on delivering two-way, two-factor authentication for our shareholders. They'll answer a few security questions in advance and when they log on from a PC that's not theirs, they'll be challenged with answering a question only they can answer. We're also using technology that monitors people's activity to detect what might be fraudulent behavior. This is in response to people's increasing concerns about phishing and other types of fraud. We want to make sure we stay in the forefront of protecting our clients' interests.

Improving Client Experience


We have a series of projects, based on CRM and our Web site, that aim to allow us to collaborate with clients more easily and personalize their experience. We also are looking to help our associates deliver more-proactive service, streamline problem resolutions and help clients correct discrepancies on their own accounts.

2007 Initiatives

Enhance Virtual Presence

We don't have branch offices everywhere -- our service model has customers coming in through the Web and via the phone. We have to continue to excel in this area. Rich Internet applications will enable us to make the user experience more seamless. Click-to-talk with voice over IP will also enhance the user experience.


We'll continue to push on this front for customizing the online experience for our clients. A 23-year-old saving for retirement should not have the same experience as a 63-year-old about to retire and roll over his or her money. The content, tools and presentations should be different, and at the end of 2006/early 2007 you'll see a big move by Vanguard in this area.

Service-Oriented Architecture

SOA certainly has an effect on reuse, but it also helps us connect siloed processes to make them real time and function together in one string.


IT Budget:

Thirty percent of Vanguard's operating budget is slated for IT.

Size of Technology Team:

2,800 employees.

Percent of IT Projects Outsourced:

We use consulting firms and contractors, but no outsourcing arrangements.

Key Technology Partners:

IBM, Sun, EMC, Avaya, BMC and financial engines, among many key partners.

Success Metrics:

Each project is set up ahead of time with a scorecard, including what will drive the internal rate of return -- for example, is it the adoption rate of the service or taking cost out of the equation? Before any project is approved, it's presented with that scorecard, and we track it to see if we're ahead.

Would your firm consider partnering with other IM firms?

We're already doing it -- 26 percent of our assets are managed by external firms.

Vision: The Next Big Thing

Rich Internet applications is an area that has promise, and I'm intrigued by how wireless communications can shape behavior. While wireless has not yet changed financial behavior, you can't walk the streets without seeing how it's changed social behavior. It's something we have to keep attuned to.

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