Charles Schwab

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Overview: Charles Schwab was founded in 1973 and became one of the pioneering discount brokerage firms when commissions were deregulated in 1975. Headquartered in San Francisco, Charles Schwab’s main lines of business include:

  • Discount Brokerage
  • Banking & Lending
  • Corporate Retirement Plans
  • Corporate Stock Plans
  • Corporate Executive Services

Job Openings: See this list of current job openings.

Size: Charles Schwab reports these figures as of March, 2010:

  • Full-time Employees = 12,600
  • Branch Offices (U.S.) = 306
  • Offices in 45 States, Puerto Rico and London
  • Client Assets = $1.5 trillion
  • Brokerage Accounts = 7.8 million
  • Corporate Retirement Plan Participants = 1.5 million
  • Banking Accounts = 768,000
  • Custodial, Operational and Trading Services for over 5,000 Independent Financial Advisors

Positives: Charles Schwab was strongly profitable through the financial crisis of 2007-08. In this environment, Charles Schwab’s lack of exposure to the investment banking business proved to be a major plus.

From the start of 2007 through the first quarter of 2010, Charles Schwab brought in approximately $300 billion of new retail client assets. It opened 230,000 new brokerage accounts in the first quarter of 2010 alone.

Charles Schwab remains the most recognized name in the discount brokerage business. Founder Charles Schwab remains active with the firm as chairman.

Negatives: Dependent as Charles Schwab is on trading volume and asset-based fees, with 65% of revenue produced by retail investor services, a prolonged bear market can deliver a serious hit to revenues. Charles Schwab’s annualized revenues are under 0.3% of assets, far below the 1% or more at most major rivals.

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