Investors Remain Engaged and Focused on Long-Term Goals Despite Economic Discomfort

Quarterly Charles Schwab Client Sentiment Survey finds notes of optimism in environment of uncertainty

Friday, November 18, 2011 8:00 am PST

Dateline:

SAN FRANCISCO

Public Company Information:

NYSE:
SCHW
"Clients are concerned and uncomfortable with market and economic uncertainties but they aren’t over-reacting"

SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--At the end of a quarter of pronounced market volatility, feelings of financial well-being declined among Charles Schwab clients, hitting its lowest level in two years. But the provider of full-service, high-value brokerage services also reports that its clients are continuing to engage in the market and remain focused on their long-term investment plans.

In its just-released quarterly survey of retail clients fielded in September, Schwab found that investors are optimistic about opportunities in the current market: nearly half (45 percent) of Schwab clients surveyed say now is a good time to invest. Another six in ten (64 percent) say they would sooner invest a windfall than save it for a rainy day.

That said, gray clouds are clearly overhead as more clients say they feel financially “worse off” (26 percent) than “better off” (23 percent) compared to a year ago. And although clients feel equally confident making investment decisions (37 percent) as they did at the end of Q2, their financial discomfort intensified during Q3: 23 percent now say they feel “better off” financially compared to a year ago, a far cry from the 44 percent who felt that way in June.

“Clients are concerned and uncomfortable with market and economic uncertainties but they aren’t over-reacting,” said Walt Bettinger, Charles Schwab president and chief executive officer. “We’re continuing to encourage investors to talk to us about their goals, timeframes and risk tolerance, which form the foundation of a good investment plan. Confidence and resilience tends to be higher with investors who understand more clearly how their investments fit into an overall plan,” he said.

In Q3, Schwab clients maintained their cash holdings at close to pre-crisis levels and continued to be net purchasers of securities. The survey reveals that only 19 percent of clients moved assets into cash in Q3 and even fewer (17 percent) say they moved to the sidelines in response to recent market volatility.

Bettinger noted that while there are still investors who prefer to go it alone, client interest in receiving guidance is on the rise. At the end of September, enrollments in advisory solutions stood at a record 2.4 million accounts, up 153,000 from September 2010. For the same period, core net new assets totaled 17.6 billion up 21% from last year, and clients opened 191,000 new brokerage accounts. Client assets totaled $1.58 trillion at month end September.

More investor insights from Walt Bettinger can be found on Schwab’s corporate blog, Schwab Talk.

The Schwab Survey of Investor Confidence was conducted in September 2011 and aggregates the views of more than 1,000 retail clients. Online interviews were conducted September 8 - 23, 2011, by Synovate, Inc.

About Charles Schwab

The Charles Schwab Corporation (NYSE: SCHW) is a leading provider of financial services, with more than 300 offices and 8.5 million client brokerage accounts, 1.5 million corporate retirement plan participants, 774,000 banking accounts, and $1.68 trillion in client assets. Through its operating subsidiaries, the company provides a full range of securities brokerage, banking, money management and financial advisory services to individual investors and independent investment advisors. Its broker-dealer subsidiary, Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. (member SIPC, www.sipc.org), and affiliates offer a complete range of investment services and products including an extensive selection of mutual funds; financial planning and investment advice; retirement plan and equity compensation plan services; referrals to independent fee-based investment advisors; and custodial, operational and trading support for independent, fee-based investment advisors through Schwab Advisor Services. Its banking subsidiary, Charles Schwab Bank (member FDIC and an Equal Housing Lender), provides banking and mortgage services and products. More information is available at www.schwab.com and www.aboutschwab.com. (1111-7357)

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Contact:

Charles Schwab
Alison Wertheim, 415-667-0475
alison.wertheim@schwab.com
or
Edelman
Colleen Krieger, 212-277-3725
colleen.krieger@edelman.com

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