Our commitment to you
As a Vanguard investor, you have entrusted to our care not only your hard-earned money but your personal and financial data as well. We recognize that your relationship with us is based on trust, and that you expect us to act responsibly and in your best interests. Because your personal and financial data are your private information, we hold ourselves to the highest standards in their safekeeping and use.
This means, most importantly, that we do not sell client or prospective client information—whether it is your personal information or the fact that you are or may become a Vanguard client—to anyone.
Instead, we use your information primarily to complete transactions that you request or to make you aware of other financial products and services that we offer or sponsor.
The personal information we collect about you
You provide personal information when you complete a Vanguard account application. (If you enter information in an online application, we may store the information even if you do not complete or submit the application.) You also provide personal information when you request literature or a transaction that involves Vanguard or one of the Vanguard affiliated companies.
In addition to personal information you provide to us, we may receive information about you that you authorize third parties to provide to us. We also may obtain personal information from third-party service providers in order to verify your identity, to prevent fraud, or to help us identify products and services that may be of interest to you. Personal information collected from any source may include, among other things, your name and address, Social Security or taxpayer identification number, date of birth, assets, income, account balances, investment activity, and accounts at other institutions. The information we collect about you may be transferred to or stored by Vanguard or our service providers in the United States or elsewhere, as permitted by law.
We may combine the information collected on our website with information collected from or about you in other contexts. This may include information collected online, such as through our email exchanges with you, or from offline sources, such as information that we collect when you establish your account with us or call customer service. We will treat such combined information in accordance with this policy. If you do not wish to provide information to Vanguard, we may be unable to provide certain services to you.
How we handle your personal information
We do not sell personal information about current or former clients or their accounts to third parties. Nor do we share personal information about clients or prospective clients, except when needed to complete transactions at your request or to make you aware of financial products and services that we offer. Here are the details:
- In order to complete certain transactions or account changes that you direct, it may be necessary to provide identifying information about you to companies, individuals, or groups that are not affiliated with Vanguard. For example, if you ask to transfer assets from another financial institution to Vanguard, we will need to provide certain information about you to that company to complete the transaction.
- In order to alert you to other financial products and services that Vanguard offers or sponsors, we may share your information within the Vanguard family of affiliated companies, to the extent permitted by law. This would include, for example, sharing your information within Vanguard to make you aware of new Vanguard funds or other investment offerings, or the brokerage services offered through Vanguard's brokerage companies, or the asset management and trust services offered through Vanguard's trust companies and registered investment advisors inside Vanguard.
- In certain instances, we may contract with nonaffiliated companies to perform services for us. Where necessary, we will disclose information we have about you to these third parties. In all such cases, we provide the third party with only the personal information necessary to carry out its assigned responsibilities, and only for that purpose. And we require these third parties to treat your personal information with the same high degree of confidentiality that we do.
- Finally, we will release information about you if you direct or authorize us to do so, if we are compelled by law to do so, or in other legally limited circumstances (for example, to prevent fraud).
Cookies, web beacons & online privacy
Our concern for the privacy of our shareholders naturally extends to those who use our Personal Investors website, vanguard.com.
Our website uses some of the most secure forms of online communication available, including data encryption, transmission encryption, user names and passwords, adaptive authentication techniques, and back-end fraud and account monitoring. These technologies provide a high level of security and privacy when you access your account information, initiate online transactions, or send secure messages.
Our website uses a variety of technologies, such as cookies, web beacons, and similar mechanisms, as described further below, to collect information that helps us understand how our site is used. Specifically, when you visit our website, we or our third-party service providers may automatically collect a variety of technical and navigational information about you via these technologies, including: your computer or device type; operating system version; browser type and version; user agent string; internet connection type; mobile network provider; date and time of your visit; time since your last visit; webpages you view; links you click; searches conducted on the site; the internet protocol (IP) address used to access our site; your general geographic location (e.g., your city, state, or ZIP code); and the website visited before our site. We also may use similar tracking technologies in emails that we or third parties send to you, as further described below. This information may be used, for example, to alert you to software compatibility issues or to resolve technical or service problems. We also analyze this information, with the assistance of our service providers, to improve our web design and functionality, to enhance our ability to serve you and your accounts, and to tailor our communications to you regarding our products and services.
A cookie is a small file of letters and numbers that is stored on your computer, tablet, mobile phone, or other device when you visit a website. Cookies contain information that is transferred to or read on your device and allow websites to recognize devices and store certain information, such as user preferences. Cookies are used to distinguish you from other users of our website. This helps us to provide you with a useful experience when you browse our site and also allows us to improve our site. We and our third-party service providers use session cookies, which link your actions during a particular browser session and expire at the end of that session, as well as persistent cookies, which remain on your device and allow us to remember your actions or preferences across multiple browser sessions.
Our website and the emails that you receive from Vanguard may use an application known as a web beacon (also known as a pixel tag or clear gif). A web beacon is a tiny transparent image embedded in a webpage or an email to measure usage and activity. In some cases, a web beacon triggers the placement of a persistent cookie on your device.
We and our service providers may use web beacons and cookies to determine whether and when you receive and open our emails; these beacons and cookies may also capture information about the type of device, operating system, email program, and web browser used to view the email, the IP address from which you opened the email, and whether you click any links in the email. These technologies enable us to gauge the effectiveness, relevance, and value of our email communications, as well as to target relevant advertising to you and to measure the impact of that advertising on your Vanguard relationships.
If you are a Vanguard investor who has registered for secure access to your accounts on vanguard.com, we are able to combine the information we collect about your usage of our website during a secure (logged-on) session with other information we know about you, such as any account transactions you conduct during your web session. We can also identify your computer or device on each visit to our website, even if you do not log on, and link information about that visit, as well as Vanguard ads that you may have viewed on other websites, to you. We may use this combined information to assess the appeal and usefulness of the information and tools offered on our website and the effectiveness of our online advertising, as well as to identify Vanguard products and services that may be of interest to you.
We may use third-party service providers' technologies that enable us to establish connections among related devices (such as smartphones, tablets, and computers). This means that information about your use of our website through different devices may be combined. By making these connections, we may be able to better understand the relevance of our content and the impact of our advertising and to customize that content and advertising to you.
Vanguard uses the Ghostery assurance service to comply with the Self-Regulatory Program for Online Behavioral Advertising managed by the Digital Advertising Alliance. As part of this service, Vanguard's targeted advertisements on other websites are delivered with icons that help consumers understand how their data are being used and provide choices for consumers who want more control.
For information about Interest-Based Advertising and how to opt out, please visit the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) opt-out page, available at aboutads.info/choices. Opting out of Interest-Based Advertising means that you will no longer receive ads targeted to you by the companies listed on the consumer choice page, but you may still receive targeted ads from other providers or based on the particular website that you are viewing. Also, if your browser is set to reject cookies when you visit the AdChoices opt-out page, or if you subsequently clear your browser cookies, your opt-out may no longer be effective.
How we safeguard your personal information
Within Vanguard, we restrict access to information about you to those Vanguard employees who need to know the information in order to perform their jobs, such as servicing your accounts, providing you with information you request, or notifying you of new products and services. To protect your personal information, we maintain physical, electronic, and procedural safeguards in keeping with industry standards and practices, and we review and adjust these safeguards regularly in response to advances in technology.
What you can do
For your protection, we strongly recommend that you do not provide your account information, user name, or password to anyone. If you become aware of any suspicious activity relating to your account, it is your responsibility to contact us immediately.
We will keep you informed
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