Charles Schwab exists to help people achieve better financial outcomes.

We offer investors a contemporary, full-service approach to build and manage their investments, providing investment-related products, services, and sophisticated financial planning that combine the best of what people and technology have to offer.

What We Do

Charles Schwab knew how the industry worked – then he made something better. Watch now.

May Day video


Our belief in the power of investing is a perspective that’s influenced our company from the beginning and creates a powerful bond between us and the investors, employers, and advisors we serve.

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Charles Schwab: Oh, my god. There I am.

Charles Schwab: These are sort of tinted, but I'll put them on. There I am. My prescription's changed a little bit, but this is basically what I looked like. However, my hair was a little bit of different color. Back in '75. It was very brown.

Charles Schwab: Wall Street, they're huge. They had all the money. That's where all the money was in the United States, sitting around Wall Street. I was an analyst and a portfolio manager, so I began really understanding the brokerage industry as such. What I didn't want to be.

Charles Schwab: Brokers were basically selling stories. The broker would run into you someplace and sell you, say, "Hey, I got a really good idea for you. It's going to go to the moon. You'd better hop on." Inside information was rampant then.

Speaker 2: Relax, will you? Believe me, you made the right move.

Speaker 3: You really think so?

Speaker 2: Why, sure. We got the inside track.

Charles Schwab: Some people would call that being a con man. That was the industry. There was fixed prices so extraordinary high only the wealthiest people in the world could participate. It was a highly conflicted business. I wanted to have a firm that was free of the huge conflicts that I saw in the business, so I started Charles Schwab & Company.

Charles Schwab: I was a pariah, oh, for sure. I was this little guy on the West Coast, and access to capital for me was a fundamental problem because I couldn't access Wall Street. They didn't want to finance their competitor. I mortgaged my house. You name it. I went to relatives, went to friends. "I hope Chuck doesn't come and ask me for money, because it's just not what I want to do." They regretted it later on.

Charles Schwab: The magic moment: May one of '75; May Day. Congress passed laws to outlaw fixed commissions. In essence, really democratize the business, bring it open to anybody. If you got $100, you're in. Article was in the paper, Merrill Lynch raised their rates. I was very happy that day, because I would've thought that Merrill would've dropped their rates substantially and we would've had no business. But we dropped our rates 50%, 60%, something like that, and it just created a huge opportunity for us to take our little business and grow it like crazy.

Charles Schwab: We were growing so fast, we wanted to get everybody in.

Speaker 4: At three-quarters-

Charles Schwab: We didn't incentivize our people. One way or another, they all made salaries. That was really revolutionary. Here was this little guy from the West Coast, undermining Wall Street. Right now we have about nearly $4 trillion, with a T, in client accounts with us. $4 trillion. Incredible. Yeah.

Speaker 5: Do you ever grapple with that, that you started out to balk the status quo and now you are the status quo?

Charles Schwab: I hope we're not the status quo; I hope we are not. I hope we are, continue to be, agents of change for the better. Just treat people like you'd like to be treated. It's pretty simple. Not a big something from the top of the mountain; it's right there.

Charles Schwab: Anyway, it's all true.



What we do

45 years ago Schwab made a commitment to individual investors. We’ve been making that  commitment to employers and independent advisors every day.

What we do

Making a Commitment

Schwab offers its clients more choices and tools to help build and manage their financial future.

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Soft music plays. Glowing white text fades in on a dark-blue background.

Onscreen text:
45 years ago
Schwab made a commitment
to individual investors.

Text fades out, and new glowing white text fades in.

Onscreen text:
We’ve been making that 
commitment to employers
and independent advisors.

Text fades out, and new glowing white text fades in.

Every day.

Text fades to black.

Man [off-screen]: Cameras ready? In four, three, two…

A woman in a newsroom walks past the cameras to the main news desk. Someone checks the sound equipment as the woman is fitted with a body mic on her blazer. The ceiling lights in the lobby of a Schwab building turn on. In the newsroom, an employee signals the woman that they’re about to roll the cameras. The sound equipment is adjusted one last time as an “ON AIR” sign lights up. People wearing headsets behind the scenes check that the equipment is running smoothly for the woman about to be recorded: Liz Ann Sonders.

Liz Ann [onscreen]: Investing should never, ever be about a moment in time. Investing should always be a process over time.

Aerial view of a large misty park at sunrise. A man unlocks a revolving door, and the lights in a Charles Schwab branch office come on. A suburban house stands in the sunlight, and inside a man is tying his tie in the bathroom.

Husband: My brother called.

Wife: Oh really, how is he?

Husband: He’s retiring.

Husband and wife stand at the kitchen island; the wife takes off her glasses.

Wife: Wow, nice for him.

Husband: Yeah, but what about us?

They stand silently for a moment, looking at each other.

A hospital admin walks down the stairs of Metropolitan General Hospital with a Schwab representative. They continue talking while walking down a hallway.

Hospital admin: What are my peers doing with their 401(k) plans? What’s going on out there? Are we competitive?

People are seen riding bikes outside an office building and walking up the stairs inside. A company representative approaches the entrance with two Schwab reps. An employee in the lobby looks up from his computer, and a woman somewhere inside the office is giving a presentation. The group sits on sunlit couches in a common area talking.

Company rep: In tech, getting talent is the name of the game. And our stock plan is key. How can you help us?

A young man hugs a woman before getting into the back of a car. He types on his phone while facing the open window. He’s video-calling a Schwab Intelligent Portfolio Premium advisor.

Millennial: If I want to buy a house in like, say, five years, what do I need to do today?

A financial consultant in a suit walks onto a train, sits down, pulls out his computer, and begins typing an email to his Schwab advisor.

Financial consultant: My advisory firm is growing. How can Schwab help me spend more time with my clients?

A man unrolls a building plan inside a space that is being renovated. He greets two Schwab reps who walk up to him and shake their hands. The man then goes on a walk with one of the reps to chat. 

Financial consultant: I put a lot on the line going independent. You guys really going to have my back?

A gray-haired man walks down a city street with dozens of other people and boards a ferry, with the city shoreline in the background. He stands by the railing while talking into an earpiece. 

Financial consultant: Looking for core products for my client’s 401(k). Something with a track record.

The Schwab rep sits across from the company rep in the sunlit common area and answers his question confidently.

Schwab rep: We have lots of ways to help.

The Schwab rep walking down the hallway with the hospital admin responds to her question.

Schwab rep: We can help you with that.

The Schwab rep meeting with the financial consultant in his office under renovation answers his questions.

Schwab rep: We are here to support you.

Aerial view of a suburban area with homes and trees is shown while music plays. 

Onscreen text: Our answers today

The husband and wife stand close together in front of their house. 

Onscreen text: help investors

The hospital admin stands with her arms crossed in the hospital hallway, facing the camera. 

Onscreen text: help employers

The man from the train stands in the train terminal, smiling at the camera. 

Onscreen text: help advisors

Onscreen text: Own your tomorrow

Music continues to play with a woman’s voiceover. 

Onscreen text: Over 11 Million Brokerage Accounts
Woman: Today Charles Schwab is a full-service wealth management leader.

Onscreen text: Over 4 Million Participants
Woman: A leader in retirement plans and supporting independent providers

Onscreen text: Over 2,300 Company Stock and Brokerage Plans
Woman: In workplace financial services

Onscreen text: 7,500 Advisory Firms
Woman: And supporting more independent advisors of all sizes than anyone else.

Onscreen text: Over $348 Billion in Schwab Funds and ETFs*
Woman: We’re one of the fastest-growing asset management firms.

Onscreen text: $3.25 Trillion Total Client Assets†
Woman: With more total assets than any publicly traded investment firm in America.

Music continues to play. 

Onscreen text: To learn more, visit

Music changes to simple piano brand melody. 

Onscreen text: Charles Schwab. Own your tomorrow. 

Onscreen text: 
Except where otherwise noted, all figures are per Charles Schwab & Co. data as of 12/31/2018.
*Includes holdings in affiliate funds.
†From publicly available company records.



Who We Serve

  • Individual Investors

    Individual Investors

    Driven, motivated people who believe that personal engagement, a sense of ownership, and a commitment to investing gives them control over their financial futures.

  • Advisors


    Independent registered investment advisors who believe, like Schwab, that there's a better way to serve investors.

  • Employers


    Employers, and the companies that serve them, understand the long-term, bottom-line value of helping employees toward achieving a secure retirement and optimizing other financial benefits.

Our Story

Helping Our Clients

Watch this quick overview of what Schwab does for clients

Our Story

Everything we do as a company is focused on helping our clients take ownership of their financial future.

From the beginning, Schwab has championed investors, and the advisors and employers who serve them. We measure our success by getting investing right for our clients so they can achieve their goals and take charge of their financial future.

Getting it Right

Getting Investing Right

Hear about Schwab's vision to be the most trusted name in investment services

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“…Schwab is a place that I think has deep empathy for people who start out in life with meager beginnings... but they have a spirit, a spirit about the opportunities out there...”

“… I studied investments quite a bit through school and got to know the landscape pretty well back then… It was very much closed off to the common man…”

“and I began becoming very aware of all the kinds of abuses that I saw towards individual investors…”

“And so…I started to form in my own mind, the kind of company I wanted to develop, one that was really focused on individual investors…”

… That mission of ours was to make it more and more open, for the public to invest and discover…”

“…So we laid-out to bare all the costs…and that’s why all of a sudden…we saw floods of people, average people coming to firms like Schwab”.

“And it was this transparency that really, I think, above everything else made the public see the advantage of dealing with firms like ourselves…”

“Investing is – in a country like America – is absolutely essential for almost everyone…”

“And when you go to – investing – it requires engagement…”

“...engagement is about commitment. It’s about spending time on the things that are really important to you. This means asking tough questions, doing your homework.”

“…there’s nothing more powerful for someone to accept the fact that they are truly the owners of their own future…”

 “and Owners are engaged. They don’t let someone else run their life. They run their own life. They take full responsibility for their outcomes.”








Seeing the world "Through Clients' Eyes" has shaped our trajectory

Putting clients at the heart of the experience has enabled us to create products, services and platforms that have shaped our industry and helped clients meet their financial goals. Here are some highlights:

History Timeline

  • 1975

    Chuck Schwab Creates a Discount Brokerage

    When the SEC deregulated securities commissions, many Wall Street firms raised their commissions. Chuck Schwab cut his and established one of the first discount brokerages

  • 1982

    Schwab Embraces 24/7 Service

    The accepted rule was that firms closed when the markets closed. Schwab understood that clients didn’t keep bankers’ hours and chose to offer 24/7 order entry and quote service.

  • 1987

    Financial Advisor Service Launches

    Serving independent investment advisors, Financial Advisor Service exceeds $1 billion in client assets after just one year of business.

  • 1992

    Mutual Funds: Access, Convenience, Low Cost

    Mutual fund investors used to face sales loads and other transaction fees through their broker, or had to set up multiple accounts with multiple mutual fund companies to buy direct without transaction fees. Schwab thought this an unnecessary compromise and created Schwab Mutual Fund OneSource®—a one-stop way to invest in a wide array of no-load funds without transaction fees.1

  • 1996

    Low-Cost Online Trading

    At the risk of substantial cuts to its commission revenue, Schwab embraced low-cost online investing in the early days of the internet because it benefited the consumer.

  • 2002

    Quantitative Fact-Based Ratings

    Investors deserved a fact-based system to assess whether a stock was right to consider buying, selling, or holding. Stock lists at traditional firms were biased toward “buy” and depended heavily on qualitative, subjective assessments. Schwab didn’t think that benefited the clients, so it launched Schwab Equity Ratings, a system that ranked over 3,000 stocks, with equal numbers of buys and sells.

  • 2005

    Checking Meets Investing

    Clients should have easy access to their money at all times, whether depositing a check or investing in a mutual fund. That’s why Schwab Bank created its High Yield Investor Checking® account, to provide investors with banking without unnecessary costs.

  • 2006

    Affordable Professional Investment Advice

    Managed portfolios provide a convenient way to access professional investment advice, but the cost had been historically high. Schwab Managed Portfolios™ addressed this by providing broadly diversified portfolios with competitive costs.

  • 2009

    Commission-Free ETFs

    ETFs provide a great way to get access to a range of asset classes and to build a diversified portfolio. But with commissions, an investor who dollar-cost averages can have their investment undercut by expenses. Commission-free ETFs at Schwab broke new ground by making it possible to build a low-cost diversified portfolio simply.2

  • 2012

    A New 401(k) Option

    Personalized low-cost advice may help 401(k) participants reach their retirement goals and achieve better outcomes, but they typically receive single-factor advice found in target-date funds. Schwab Retirement Plan Services, Inc. (SRPS) believed there was another way and developed a groundbreaking approach to the 401(k) combining low-cost index mutual funds or exchange-traded funds offered through SRPS, an FDIC-insured deposit feature, and professional savings and investment advice provided by an independent third-party advisor.

  • 2013

    Accountability as Policy

    At Schwab, we believe that every investor deserves accountability. The Schwab Accountability Guarantee™ provides that if, for any reason, a client is not happy with one of our participating investment advisory services, we’ll refund the client’s service fee from the previous quarter.3 While it's no guarantee against loss, and other fees and expenses may still apply, we stand by our word and will work with the client to make things right.

  • 2015

    Automated and Simple Investing

    Many investors want and need help managing their money but don’t want to spend a lot of time on it and don’t want to pay a fee for the service. Schwab Intelligent Portfolios™, offered by Schwab Wealth Investment Advisory, Inc., is an online investment advisory service that builds, monitors, and rebalances your portfolio automatically, making access to automated portfolio management convenient and with no advisory fees, account service fees, or commissions charged.

  • 2019

    $0 Commissions on Online Stock, ETF, and Options Trades

    Schwab makes an industry-leading move that eliminates a barrier to making investing more accessible to everyone, reducing U.S. stock, ETF and options online trade commissions from $4.95 to $0.4

  • 2020

    Combining Two Award-Winning Companies

    Charles Schwab completes the acquisition of TD Ameritrade and starts the integration of the two companies that will be uniquely positioned to serve the investment, trading and wealth management needs of investors across every phase of their financial journeys.5

  • For more information:

Click here for disclosures

Click to see important disclosures about this timeline.

0920-0YA3, 0319-9ECU, 0118-8RYL, 1115-A2MR


Investment returns will fluctuate and are subject to market volatility, so that an investor's shares, when redeemed or sold, may be worth more or less than their original cost. Unlike mutual funds, shares of ETFs are not individually redeemable directly with the ETF. Shares are bought and sold at market price, which may be higher or lower than the net asset value (NAV).

Schwab ETFs are distributed by SEI Investments Distribution Co. (SIDCO). SIDCO is not affiliated with Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. Learn more at

Schwab Retirement Plan Services, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of The Charles Schwab Corporation provides recordkeeping and related services with respect to retirement plans.

Equity compensation plan services and other financial and retirement services to corporations and executives are provided through Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.

The Charles Schwab Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, private foundation that is funded by The Charles Schwab Corporation. The Foundation is not a part of The Charles Schwab Corporation or any of its subsidiaries.