Charles Schwab Corp.

The Charles Schwab Corporation , based in San Francisco, California is a company founded as a traditional (brick-and-mortar) brokerage house, and which today is one of the world's largest discount brokers. Schwab offers the same services as traditional brokerages but with lower commissions and fees than many other brokers. The company serves some 7 million individual and institutional clients, with $1.39 trillion in assets (as of Mar. 31, 2008), from some 300 offices in the U.S. Clients can also access its services via telephone, wireless device, and the Internet. Besides discount brokerage, the firm offers a wide range of investment research, mutual funds, annuities, bond trading, and now checking and mortgages through its Charles Schwab Bank.

Registered investment adviser firms

Schwab's success depends heavily on the success of their independent investment adviser firms. Schwab serves roughly 5,000 independent advisers within its network. Most independent adviser firms are not affiliated with any brokerage firm, are not managed by a brokerage firm, and work independently from the brokerage firm, as adviser firms offer investment services to individuals or businesses. These adviser firms are generally regulated by state/local government or by the federal government and are also governed by the basic principles similar to that of a broker and yet different when rendering objective investment advice.

In 2005, the headline of a newspaper for financial advisers read Schwab battles for wirehouse assets announced a new strategy of shifting more accounts from the brokerage firms and transitioning more brokers from the "brokerage world" into registered investment advisers.

On November 20, 2006, Schwab announced an agreement to sell U.S. Trust to Bank of America for $3.3 billion. The deal closed in the second quarter of 2007.

Troubled times

In 2000, Charles Schwab Corporation's merger with US Trust was complete. Synergy was never achieved between the two companies and both firms' assets declined in the bear market of the early 2000s. The US Trust division was slapped with a $10 million fine for violation of money-laundering rules, a judgment handed down after the merger with Schwab.

In 2000, Schwab was reeling from a dramatic drop-off in online trading precipitated by the tech-stock collapse. In March 2000 Schwab acquired CyberCorp, makers of the CyberTrader trading platform. This acquisition helped bring back traders with Schwab's now more competitive software tools, such as StreetSmart Pro. Inevitably though, they had to cut back and downsize and subsequently the revenue fell 25%.

In late 2003, Schwab was one of the companies investigated by the SEC. Schwab faced allegations regarding market timing by a fund family operated by UST and illegal late trading in the Schwab Mutual Fund Marketplace.

In 2004, Schwab sold Schwab Capital Markets and paid a $350,000 fine to the SEC.

"Talk to Chuck" campaign

On December 1, 2004, Euro RSCG New York announced it was chosen by Charles Schwab as its full-service advertising agency.

Starting in 2005, Charles Schwab launched a series of television ads. In a Slate magazine review, Ben Stuart, VP of Brand Strategy and Advertising for Schwab, said the cartoons force the viewer to focus on what he hears. The TV ads were produced by Euro RSCG and directed/animated by Bob Sabiston's Flat Black Films.

"Talk to Chuck" ads are also seen in print media, online, billboards, and visible in branch offices.

External links

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