The Charles Schwab Corporation is an American multinational financial services company founded and based in San Francisco, California. Headquartered in Financial District, San Francisco, Charles Schwab is the 14th largest banking institution in the United States with over US$3.3 trillion in client assets (as of 2019). It is the third largest asset manager in the world, behind BlackRock and Vanguard. The firm is known for its electronic trading platforms, investor education, and discount brokerage services, particularly reduced and free trading commission charges.

Founded as Charles Schwab & Co. in 1971 by its namesake Charles Schwab, the broker-dealer capitalized on the financial deregulation of the 1970s to pioneer discount sales of equity securities. After a flagship opening in Sacramento, the bank expanded into Seattle before the 1980s economic expansion financed the bank’s investments in technology, automation, and digital record keeping. The first to offer round-clock order entry and quotation, it was purchased by Bank of America in 1983 for $55 million. Three years later, the profitability of the bank’s no-charge mutual funds prompted the founder to buy his company back for $280 million. In line with the Digital Revolution, Charles Schwab offered online trading in 1994 which allowed them to drop and even eliminate account fees by 2005, and introduce commission-free funds by 2011.

Charles Schwab offers commercial banking, stock brokerage, and wealth management advisory services to both retail and institutional clients. Despite their online presence, the company also has a large network of physical branches mostly in metropolitan financial centers. Their total national footprint includes 345 branches, primarily in the United States and Britain. It is known for its corporate marketing programs, especially their electric blue nameplate, television commercials, and slogans. In 2020, the bank announced their intention to move to Texas in conjunction with their large-scale mergers with and acquisitions of USAA (for $1.8 billion) and TD Ameritrade (for $26 billion), respectively.

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Services

Stockbroker, Electronic trading platform