Charles Schwab was founded in 1973 and is currently headquartered in San Francisco, California. They are a financial investment firm who believes in the power of investing through a commitment to challenging the industry status quo by delivering excellent client services, helping clients solve their issues and support them via a strong leadership team. Charles Schwab has $2.42 trillion in client assets, 1.5 million corporate retirement plan participants, 1.0 million banking accounts and 7,000 RIAs served. Charles Schwab also has more than 325 branches, approximately 1,200 financial consultants, $184.9 billion enrolled in advisory solutions and upwards of 100,000 financial plans they have provided to date. And they have available services for everyone from individual investors to advisors, to employers.
- Portfolio management
- Small business solutions
- Pricing and fees
- Trading tools
Charles Schwab is an industry leader with many prestigious awards, such as: being ranked Highest in Investor Satisfaction With Self-Directed Services in 2015 by J.D. Power, four stars from Barrons' Best Online Brokers of 2015, #1 in Customer Service and Trade Reliability in the 2015 Investor's Business Daily, one of Fast Company's World's Top Most Innovative Companies of 2015 in Personal Finance, one of Fortune Magazine's Worlds Most Admired Companies 2015 in the Securities and Asset Management Industry, Fortune also named Walt Bettinger, Schwab President and CEO a contender for Fortune's Business Person of the Year 2014, Kiplinger's Best Online Brokers 2014 and multiple accolades from Money Magazine in 2014 including One of the Best Banks. Other benefits include:
As we mentioned above Charles Schwab has an impressive number of services, such as mutual funds, ETFs, stocks, options, futures, global investing, CDs and money market funds, bonds and fixed income, margin loans, annuities, and insurance. And each of these come with their own set of very specific details, all of which can be seen on their website. Unfortunately, it's beyond the scope of this review to go over each little detail in its entirety. However, their website does a great job of explaining what each feature entails and how everything works.
Schwab's portfolio management services provide investors with a range of benefits, which includes continued investment advice, seasoned portfolio managers, a multitude of investment strategies, low fees, and straightforward pricing. Therefore, it doesn't matter whether you need personalized advice, managed portfolios or specialized strategies, Charles Schwab can help.
A unique feature that should be paid attention to with Charles Schwab is their Intelligent Portfolios. Schwab Intelligent Portfolios is an automated investment service that helps you build your own portfolio with automating features such as monitoring and rebalancing. There are no fees involved and you can start with as little as $5,000.
Small Business Solutions
Schwab has a variety of small business solutions that are designed to help you reach your goals. They have everything from a full range of retirement plans for businesses of all sizes to organization accounts that enjoy low trade commissions and zero cost monthly service fees and more. They also offer CDs and money market funds to help you manage your cash and cash investments as effectively as possible.
Pricing and Fees
Charles Schwab's pricing and services give you more for less. They offer every client, clearly stated low fees such as $8.95 online equity trades, over 100 online commission-free ETFs, options at $8.95 + $0.70 per contract, $1 per bond transaction cost on most online secondary trades, hundreds of no-load mutual funds with no transaction fee and a $25,000 minimum, not to mention their no cost advisors.
Additionally, Charles Schwab offers a wide variety of free services to their investors, such as 24-7 customer support, Schwab and third-party research and insights, industry-recognized mobile apps for investing, comprehensive performance reporting, one-on-one portfolio consultation for clients with $25,000 in assets at Schwab. They also offer you personal help switching to Schwab, a new client concierge to help get you started, specialized teams in fixed income and active trading. And they have financial consultants at local branches nationwide along with 24-7 customer support and investment help.
Charles Schwab offers investment help now and in the future as your needs change. You can easily invest on your own, receive occasional guidance, if you need it, or choose complete professional management of your entire portfolio at a competitive price.
If it's retirement planning you need, Charles Schwab will guide you through your entire retirement journey and help you make adjustments along the way as your life's events change. They will help you with savings basics, understanding IRAs, how to invest, the best ways to save for retirement, help with retirement income, saving for college, estate planning, understanding insurance basics and any other life events that come your way. They also supply you with tools, such as savings calculators, IRA calculators, a retirement income quiz, retirement needs a worksheet, an investor profile questionnaire and they sponsor a variety of retirement workshops locally and online.
Charles Schwab has several popular online trading tools such as their StreetSmart, which is web-based and StreetSmart Edge, which is desktop based. Each platform provides customized views, technical trader graphs, live option, bid-ask data and trading all in one location. And it includes popup messages when investors trade or alert conditions are met. Both platforms are easy to use and provide live market data that allows investors to enter more complex trades.
- Online presence
We always strive to give you as much information as possible, the good and the bad, about any given company in hopes that it will help you make an educated decision about whether or not they are the right fit for you. So now that we've reviewed the good features Charles Schwab has to offer, let's take a minute to go over a few of the areas we feel they could use some improvement. Other limitations include:
Charles Schwab does have a few mixed reviews on the public forums and unfortunately 16 of the negative comments are from 2015. The only small trend we could find was that in several instances, Charles Schwab closed investors' accounts and it's their policy not to disclose the reason, and there were a couple of instances of frozen accounts. There is one thing to note, however, and that's the fact that Charles Schwab is a very large investment company and the number of negative complaints we saw was relatively insignificant compared to their size. But that doesn't mean you should dismiss them. We recommend you weigh all the facts before making any final decisions.
There really aren't too many issues we feel you need to be aware of when it comes to Charles Schwab as a whole. At least that we could find. However, we do feel their website could be streamlined a little better. It's full of great information, but it's too busy and you have to spend quite a bit of time clicking around to find everything you need. It's not terrible, though, and it really isn't hard to use, it's just time-consuming.