Charles Schwab Evolution Reaches Milestone Serving the Wealth Management Needs of Affluent Investors

Fifty percent of client assets now enrolled in some form of ongoing advisory relationship

Thursday, June 5, 2014 7:35 am PDT



Public Company Information:

"Today’s investors decide what type of relationship they want based on their own specific needs and preferences"

SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Charles Schwab, one of the largest full-service investment services firms with more than $2.3 trillion in client assets, announced it has reached an important threshold with half of its total client assets now enrolled in an ongoing advisory relationship through its Investor Services businesses and the 7,000 independent Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs) it serves through Schwab Advisor Services.

“We take pride in the role Schwab and the advisors we serve have played in making high quality investing accessible and affordable for investors over the last 40 years. Costs and convenient access will forever matter and be a core part of our story. The steady growth we’ve made into wealth management reflects a transformation in our firm that has been driven by the needs and demands of investors as so many of them accumulate significant assets over the course of their lives and increasingly look for professional help,” said Walt Bettinger, Schwab president and chief executive officer, when announcing the milestone in an employee communication today from the company’s headquarters in San Francisco.

Schwab provides investors access to wealth management services directly through its retail business as well as supporting independent RIAs with the wealth management services they offer their clients through its decades-long support of the RIA industry where it has been a leader since first launching its Advisor Services business in 1987. “Today’s investors decide what type of relationship they want based on their own specific needs and preferences,” Mr. Bettinger said. “Many find appeal in the nationally branded, wealth management services of a large firm, like those available through our financial consultants in our retail business, while others seek the highly customized and local expertise offered by independent RIAs. Together, we are reaching a large and growing pool of investors looking for an alternative to the traditional wirehouse brokerage model; which we believe continues to lose favor among investors today.”

Mr. Bettinger noted that overall, across the retail and advisor services businesses combined, average assets per client household are approximately $500,000 at Schwab. Within Schwab’s retail business, the growth of affluent assets reflects the evolution of the firm and its clients’ needs: as of December 2013, accounts with more than $250,000 comprised nearly 85 percent of total balances in retail accounts at Schwab; accounts in excess of $500,000 comprised more than 75 percent of all retail assets. Today more than 70% of all retail client assets are now serviced by a dedicated local relationship from a branch professional.

Describing the driving factor in the firm’s evolution, Bettinger highlighted investors’ increasing demand for comprehensive financial advice and help managing substantial assets, especially as millions of baby boomers continue to approach and enter retirement following their peak earning and asset accumulation years, and do so with a changing point of view about what they want from their investment services firm. “Our research reveals a contemporary affluent investor mindset: engaged, willing to ask tough questions of their providers and demanding of quality, value and accountability. Especially when it comes to their money, we’re seeing investors are more focused on substance and becoming increasingly selective about the types of financial professionals and firms that they place their trust in when it comes to helping manage the assets they have accumulated over their lifetime. We believe effective wealth management should combine a personal relationship with transparency, open architecture, technology and accessibility that engages clients and gives them a greater sense of confidence,” Bettinger said. “It is a philosophical approach about focusing on the client that we’ve shared for the past 25 years with independent advisors and we believe the underlying reason we’re seeing both parts of the business grow in tandem.”

New Advertising

This month the company has begun running a series of new print and television advertisements. One series of print ads are designed to highlight Schwab’s support for independent RIAs and focus thematically on a “celebration of independence.” The campaign began with a print ad featuring Chuck Schwab, company founder and chairman, and will be followed later in June with online ads featuring RIAs and their stories, each charting the advisor’s path to independence and the power of their model for serving the wealth management needs of their clients.

To showcase its evolving approach to wealth management within the retail business, the company will also launch a series of advertisements on June 12 defining a “modern approach to wealth management,” that highlights the importance of client/financial consultant collaboration, cost transparency, value, broad access to third-party investment solutions, and a range of other financial products and services available to clients.

“Following the depths of the financial crisis from the end of 2009 through 2012, our client assets grew by $529 billion, 65 percent more than four of our largest publicly traded competitors combined1,” Bettinger said in his note to employees. “It’s a testament to your service to clients and commitment to their financial well-being that during one of the toughest financial environments in history, we’ve earned the trust of investors and advisors in such significant numbers.”

About Charles Schwab

At Charles Schwab we believe in the power of investing to help individuals create a better tomorrow. We have a history of challenging the status quo in our industry, innovating in ways that benefit investors and the advisors and employers who serve them, and championing our clients’ goals with passion and integrity.

More information is available at Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn and our Schwab Talk blog.


Wealth management refers to products and services available through the operating subsidiaries of The Charles Schwab Corporation of which there are important differences including, but not limited to, the type of advice and assistance provided, fees charged, and the rights and obligations of the parties. It is important to understand the differences when determining which products and/or services to select.

There are certain eligibility requirements if you are interested in working with a dedicated Financial Consultant. The Charles Schwab Corporation provides a full range of securities, brokerage, banking, money management and financial advisory services through its operating subsidiaries. Its broker-dealer subsidiary, Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. (member SIPC,, offers investment services and products, including Schwab brokerage accounts. Its banking subsidiary, Charles Schwab Bank (member FDIC and an Equal Housing Lender), provides deposit and lending services and products.

Schwab Advisor Services serves independent investment advisors and includes the custody, trading and support services of Schwab. Independent investment advisors are not owned by, affiliated with or supervised by Schwab.

Brokerage Products: Not FDIC Insured • No Bank Guarantee • May Lose Value



1 TD Ameritrade, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, E*Trade and Morgan Stanley Global Wealth Management


Charles Schwab
Michael Cianfrocca, 415-667-0344

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Walt Bettinger, Schwab president and chief executive officer (Photo: Business Wire)
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