The Charles Schwab Corp., a financial holding company, is known best as a discount brokerage but offers a full line of securities brokerage, banking and related financial services to individuals and institutional clients. The company, the largest discount-broker by market capitalization, has the 13th-largest fund complex in the U.S. and has an extensive fund platform of outside funds called the Mutual Fund Marketplace and a no-transaction-fee mutual-fund supermarket called OneSource. Schwab also helps companies manage retirement and equity compensation plans for their employees.
At the center of Schwab's business are independent investment advisers, many of whom are wirehouse veterans. The company hosts annual "Impact" conferences to bring advisors and fund companies together. The San Francisco-based firm has an entrepreneurial West Coast culture lacking the fixation on M.B.A.s common to many other financial firms. Schwab recently reaffirmed its commitment to the city, when it opened its new flagship branch in its Financial District.
Founder Charles Schwab, a Sacramento native and Stanford alum, is still chairman and he stars in its "Talk to Chuck" ad campaign. He's written several books, including "Charles Schwab's Guide to Financial Independence" and "You're Fifty -- Now What?" In keeping with the company's looking-out-for-the-little-guy philosophy, Mr. Schwab chairs the President's Advisory Council on Financial Literacy.
Schwab's Web site is welcoming, with employee profiles and info on career success, training, and diversity initiatives.
The firm is among the discount brokers redoubling efforts to persuade brokers to go independent. It recently held workshops around the country to show brokers how to set up their own shop.