Chuck: Chuck, do you want to be the biggest and most profitable? What do you want to be?
Chuck: When I started, we were doing 50 trades a day. 50, all by hand with a pen and a pad. I knew instinctively that individual investors needed a better deal, that they were getting a raw deal from Wall Street. I certainly knew in my mind that we had a great business opportunity ahead of us. I'm sure Joe Ricketts felt the same way. We would study our competitors very, very carefully. Kept us fresh, kept us ambitious.
Young Chuck: Fast service, big discounts, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I'm Charles Schwab and that's the way I see it from the investor's point of view.
Chuck: There are many times Ameritrade would come up with some interesting idea. I mean, my goodness, thinkorswim, I wish we had done that. It was always that “Can we leapfrog them?” and they would, I'm sure, say the same thing: "Can we leapfrog Schwab?" One of the earliest to online capabilities...
Man in Ad: Buy, sell, do your research. I'll just call up a portfolio and the order has been placed in our host computer system.
Man in Ad 2: Let's go to Ameritrade.com. Research it. All this stuff is provided for you, free of charge.
Man in Ad 3: No cost.
Man in Ad 2: Yeah. That's synonymous with free.
Chuck: It was all about trying to help individual investors, better service, lower prices, faster transactions. Both companies had our freedom to take care of individual investors. In the early days, Merrill Lynch might've been $110 for a trade. And we've brought it down, all the way down. Finally, about a year ago, we were down to $5 and finally, I decided, "Let's go to zero." That's where it should be. Let's go to zero.
Chuck: It would not have happened except for firms like Ameritrade and ourselves who pushed that envelope. I guess the beauty of being somewhat mature is to see. The most successful people I know are people who are doing something for somebody else. "Owning your tomorrow," is the way we express it or, "Transforming lives." It's the same subject matter. It's really about helping people and that has not changed. You're helping somebody and those are the most fulfilling of all jobs for my money.
Chuck: This combination is historic. There would be no other company like the combination of the two companies coming together, individual investors and their independent advisors, total focus. There are other companies that might say, "We're like that also," but they're not.
It's the people at Ameritrade and the people at Schwab, we'll be independent. We won't be part of another company that has a different mission in life.
Chuck: Chuck, you want to be the biggest, the most profitable? What do you want to be? The merger today is not about being the biggest. To me, it's about being the strongest, an unbelievable fortress of a company with the highest level of integrity. That's what you want to deal with. That's what we want to offer. That's who we are.