Advisor Intelligence

What Would a Cup of Coffee Cost at Vanguard's Prices?

The world’s largest mutual company, Vanguard, is branching out—into coffee. The company stopped in New York on Monday as part of a multi-city national tour, bringing coffee to the masses.

 Why coffee? As part of an educational campaign on investment costs, Vanguard is selling “at cost” 26-cent cups of iced and hot coffee. The price—which is one-fifth the average cost of a cup of coffee—is representative of the low costs associated with Vanguard’s funds.

 “A lot of people are doing double-takes, they’re very surprised [by the price],” says Vanguard spokeswoman Katie Henderson.  On average, the At-Cost-Café truck has sold 5,600 cups of coffee during its tour, about 500 cups of coffee a day.

Vanguard currently manages $2.2 trillion in U.S. mutual fund assets and the average expense ration for its funds is 0.19 percent—about one fifth of the national industry average of 1.1 percent.

The At-Cost-Café will be serving coffee at the corner of 33rd & 7th Avenue in New York until Wednesday, June 19. After that, it’s on to Boston and Philadelphia.  For 26 cents, customers can choose from three roasts—Mutual Fund blend, ETF Roast and the decaf IRA Blend. And as a special bonus, Vanguard clients who stop by the coffee truck will receive a second coffee free.

This is the second year Vanguard has taken to the streets with its coffee truck. Last year, the At-Cost-Café hit three East Coast cities, spending two days in each city and selling almost 4,500 cups of coffee. This year’s campaign was expanded—with the truck spending three days in each city and making additional stops at San Diego, San Francisco and Chicago. Also different this time around, the company is focusing more on its existing clients, rather than just going after prospects, Henderson said. For example, clients who buy one 26-cent cup will get a second cup for free.

To check out times and locations, visit Vanguard’s at-cost cafe website.  

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