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Charles Schwab to cut 600 jobs amid dropping interest rates

Charles Schwab by Bloomberg News

Charles Schwab said it is cutting 600 jobs, or about 3% of the workforce, as the San Francisco-based broker-dealer and wealth advisory firm faces “an increasingly challenging economic environment.”

“These actions are a prudent step to ensure we manage our expense growth while continuing to invest in initiatives that allow us to achieve greater scale and efficiency,” the firm said Tuesday in a statement. “Impacted positions span all staffing grades, as well as organizations and locations across the company.”

Schwab, with about $3.75 trillion in client assets, derives the majority of its revenue from net interest on client cash, which has been squeezed by falling interest rates. The firm began to review its expenses this spring, according to the statement.

Falling rates and narrower net interest income have spurred banks including Wells Fargo to cut earnings outlooks. Asset managers including Legg Mason, BlackRock and State Street announced staff reductions this year as they spend more on technology and face unprecedented pressure to reduce fees.

Schwab, which has been on the front lines of the fee-cutting war, has been pushing more deeply into advisory services. It agreed in July to pay $1.8 billion for the wealth management operations of USAA, the insurance company that serves military veterans and service members.

The Wall Street Journal reported the job cuts earlier.