Schwab strives to keep our stockholders and analysts informed of the firm’s bigger financial picture. Hear from our CFO.
Periodically, Peter Crawford, our Chief Financial Officer, will use this forum to provide insight and commentary regarding Schwab's financial picture. For any questions, please contact Investor Relations via email or call: Richard G. Fowler, senior vice president: 415-667-1841
The commentary in this section speaks only as of the date specified below. The company makes no commitment to update any of this information.
May 14, 2021
I wanted to share some perspective around an item in this month’s SMART report related to the number of active brokerage accounts. As you may have noticed, despite another very strong month in new account openings the number of active brokerage accounts actually declined month over month. Rest assured that this is not due to a surge in attrition of our longstanding clients, but rather a natural outcome from the combination of unprecedented volume of new accounts we opened in the first quarter and the methodology we use to screen for active accounts.
Let me first provide some background. As part of our standard practice, we regularly review brokerage accounts to ensure they meet our definition of an active account. In the event those requirements are not fulfilled, the account is removed, or “scrubbed”, from the reported total.
While new accounts are included in the active account base beginning in the month they’re opened, those that haven’t funded within 60 days of opening are routinely removed from the reported total. So, if the proportion of new accounts that don’t fund, or otherwise open properly, is generally consistent, then a big increase in new account openings in a given month is likely to lead to a related increase in the number of accounts that get scrubbed two months later.
And that is exactly what we’re seeing right now. Over any given period, it’s typical for a limited percentage of accounts opened at TD Ameritrade and Schwab to end up not funding. And despite the huge surge in new account openings in 2021, we haven’t seen any evidence to date of the unfunded ratio moving outside our range of recent years. So the heightened implied attrition in April 2021 simply reflects a consistent proportion of recent new account activity dropping out of active status due to funding or other issues, nothing more. And if the trends continue, you might see a similar level of scrubbed accounts over the next several months.
As you review today’s SMART release, I think you’ll agree it’s evident that even when factoring in our ongoing account scrubbing, our strong business momentum continued through April with new accounts in excess of 600,000 and robust net asset gathering – including a record for the month of $37 billion which brought year-to-date core net new assets up to $185 billion (an 8%+ annualized organic growth rate). These results further reinforce that our “Through Clients’ Eyes” strategy is resonating in the marketplace, helping keep us well-positioned for long-term success.
This commentary contains forward-looking statements relating to the ratio of unfunded brokerage accounts to opened brokerage accounts; the level of scrubbed accounts; business momentum; and long-term positioning that reflect management’s expectations as of the date hereof. Achievement of these expectations is subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from the expressed expectations.
Important factors that may cause such differences include, but are not limited to, a person’s behavior and intent when opening a new brokerage account, including funding; the company’s ability to attract and retain clients and grow those relationships and associated client assets; competitive pressures on pricing; the company’s ability to develop and launch new and enhanced products, services, and capabilities, as well as enhance its infrastructure, in a timely and successful manner; the company’s ability to support client activity levels; digital transformation; general market conditions, including equity valuations, trading activity, and the level of interest rates; the scope and duration of the COVID-19 pandemic and actions taken by governmental authorities to contain the spread of the virus and the economic impact; and other factors set forth in the company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the company’s most recent report on Form 10-K.
March 12, 2021
Starting in early 2020, words like “unprecedented” and “historic” became fixtures in our descriptions of the environment, and the trend has persisted thus far in 2021. As we all continue to grapple with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, these first few months of the new year have seen additional political and social unrest, severe weather conditions across the country, and fresh evidence of the enormous strides that Schwab and others in our industry have made in making it easier, simpler, and less expensive for individuals to invest. Read more >
October 6, 2020
Today we announced that we’ve completed the acquisition of TD Ameritrade (“TDA”) in an all-stock transaction with an estimated value of approximately $22 billion. Per the merger agreement, TD Ameritrade stockholders are entitled to receive 1.0837 Schwab shares for each TD Ameritrade share owned, which represents a 17% premium over the 30-day volume weighted average price exchange ratio as of November 20, 2019. Read more >
June 12, 2020
On May 26, 2020, we completed the acquisition of the assets of USAA’s Investment Management Company, a very important milestone for Schwab, USAA members, and the ~400 employees from USAA who joined our company. Given how much the environment has changed since we last provided specific information on this acquisition, I wanted to give you an update on certain relevant data. The transaction brought to Schwab a total of $81 billion in client assets and 1.1 million accounts, for which we paid ~$1.6 billion in cash. We also entered into a long-term referral agreement that makes Schwab the exclusive provider of wealth management and investment brokerage services for USAA members. Read more >
March 13, 2020
With global health concerns relating to COVID-19 weighing on the macroeconomic environment and driving heightened volatility in the financial markets, we thought it might be helpful to spend some time discussing the effects on client activity. Not surprisingly, our clients have turned to us for help in this environment and we’ve been there to support them. Read more >
October 1, 2019
Today, we announced our decision to reduce online trade commissions for U.S. and Canadian-listed equities and ETFs to $0, and to reduce the base charge on options to $0, as well. As noted in the press release, this action is consistent with the principles on which Chuck Schwab founded this company nearly 45 years ago and with the “Through Clients’ Eyes” strategy we have followed ever since then – which have made the Charles Schwab Corporation so successful. Read more >
August 14, 2018
As we announced in our second quarter earnings release, we crossed the $250 billion asset threshold1 for heightened regulatory requirements, ending the period at $262 billion in consolidated assets. While we don't believe the consequences will be disruptive to our business model or our strategy, I wanted to share a brief overview of what crossing this threshold means to Schwab and how we have been preparing over the last few years. Read more >
February 14, 2018
In our January SMART report released today, we noted a $7.2 billion outflow from a mutual fund clearing services ("clearing") client. Since we expect several additional large clearing outflows in early 2018, I wanted to share some context on the business and discuss the potential effect on our reported client asset flows (noticeable) and revenues (immaterial). Read more >
December 22, 2017
Today, President Trump signed significant tax reform legislation into law and I wanted to spend a moment focusing on the potential impacts to Schwab's effective tax rate. As you may know, we have historically paid close to the full statutory federal corporate income tax rate, so the benefits are likely to be significant – though the new law does include the disallowance of some Schwab-relevant deductions. Read more >
February 28, 2017
Today we announced another reduction in our online equity, ETF, and option trade commission rates, following moves we announced just a few weeks ago on February 2nd. With this second action coming right on the heels of the first, I thought it might be useful to share some context regarding how they both fit within our financial planning for 2017. Read more >
January 19, 2016
Those of you who follow The Charles Schwab Corporation closely may receive our quarterly financial results through a wire service/email, a market data aggregator, or simply by checking our corporate website. This morning, we began making our results available via another widely-used platform: Twitter. You can find our page on with the handle @CharlesSchwab. Today's activity includes a Tweet noting the availability of fourth quarter 2015 results with a link to our press release, and follow-ups sharing the headlines from this morning's announcement. Read more >
December 14, 2015
Today we released our November Monthly Activity Report. While we produced another month of solid client metrics, we have no illusions about another press release stealing the show later this week. As you know, the Federal Reserve is widely anticipated to begin raising interest rates on December 16th. We have seen economic and employment reports meet expectations, FOMC minutes evolve, and member speeches show increasing conviction. Read more >
September 15, 2015
We issued our SMART report for the month of August today, and between the client metrics shown there and the trading data that we've already posted it's clear we've been busy. With the elevated market volatility late in the month, our clients made extensive use of our branches, phone-based service centers and online capabilities to help keep their investing on track. Many of them engaged with our financial consultants and subject matter experts to ask questions about how their assets enrolled in our advisory solutions are positioned, as well as assess their holdings and determine what, if any, action should be taken. Read more >
August 14, 2015
By now, you may have noticed that we recently made a few changes to our disclosures, and I'd like to make sure everyone is aware of these developments as well as provide context for how they help tell our story. As a large savings and loan holding company, our required reporting has expanded significantly in recent years. In addition, as Schwab evolves, we revisit our reporting and strive to keep it closely aligned with the everyday workings of the business. In the second quarter of 2015, we added a new Other Regulatory Disclosures tab to our corporate website, made changes to the Asset Management and Administration Fees (AMAF) table in our earnings release package, and included some new information in our 10-Q filing. Read more >
January 16, 2015
As we announced in our earnings release today, our Q4 '14 financial results included two nonrecurring items related to the company's non-agency residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) portfolio: net litigation proceeds of approximately $28 million and net losses of $8 million from selling securities totaling approximately $500 million. Taken together, these items increased pre-tax income by approximately $20 million, or $.01 per share. With the financial crisis well behind us, it's been a while since we've needed to discuss these securities, so I wanted to walk through some history and share a perspective on these recent developments. Read more >
October 15, 2014
Concurrent with our Earnings Release today, we are inaugurating a new approach to reporting on our clients' trading activity intra-quarter. We have retired the inclusion of trade reporting in our Monthly Market Activity Report ("SMART") and are now providing a weekly look at trading activity, including revenue, asset-based, and other trades, which is posted on the Investor Relations landing page on . Read more >
July 16, 2014
As you look through today's earnings release, you might notice that the size of our balance sheet (shown in the Financial and Operating Highlights table on page 5) hasn't changed much since year-end 2013, continuing to hover around $144 billion. That's unusual for us–for example, the company's balance sheet grew by approximately $8 billion during the second half of 2013. Given the factors influencing this situation, I wanted to share some perspective on current client behavior and ramifications for our capital management going forward. Read more >
March 31, 2014
As I mentioned in my last post, here are a few more thoughts on the evolution of client behavior during the market recovery, which is now a full five years along: With the S&P 500 up over 170% from its lowest point in the first quarter of 2009 and setting new records, it's not really surprising to see investors put cash back to work in the markets. There are, however, some interesting aspects to the way our clients have reallocated their holdings across products and asset classes during the recovery thus far. Read more >
March 14, 2014
The S&P 500 Index bottomed at 676.53 on March 9, 2009, so we are now a full five years into the market recovery. As the recovery has strengthened in recent months, we have been asked more often about individual investor engagement, with the questioner usually equating engagement with trading activity. Read more >
January 16, 2014
This is my inaugural CFO Commentary. I expect to use this site regularly to provide perspectives on Schwab's financial picture, including color on our performance and details on topical issues. Over time, I can see sharing more significant financial information that might be better discussed in a forum like this, versus press releases or other forms of communication. Read more >
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