Charles Schwab is attracting a slew of new assets, and daily average trades are rising. New and established clients brought the company $6 billion of net new assets in January, according to its monthly market activity report. Total client assets rose 27% from a year earlier, to $1.401 trillion, but were down 2% from December because of difficult market conditions.
Schwab's exchange-traded funds, launched in November, have already attracted $570 million of assets, according to Greg Gable, a spokesman for the company.
Matt Snowling of FBR Capital Markets wrote in a research note that although Schwab continues to gather client assets at a 5% to 7% annual rate, "the cost of that growth is rising as the company invests in advertising and price cuts to maintain that growth." Net new client assets were less than anticipated "even after adjusting for $1 billion of net outflows related to retirement plan services clients," Snowling wrote.
"The 5% annualized organic growth rate remains strong on an absolute basis, although we note that there is nothing in the data to suggest any dramatic impact from the company's commission cuts. We continue to believe that this latest round of price cuts was driven by client retention goals rather than an attempt to grab market share."
Client daily average trades rose 8% from a year earlier and 23% from a month earlier, to 354,700, according to Schwab’s monthly market activity report.
Snowling wrote that Schwab's increase in daily average trading is "largely in line with expectations but positive nonetheless." He wrote that trading this month is up 4% to 5%.
On Jan. 19 the San Francisco investment management company's retail investors began paying $8.95 per online trade in stocks or non-Schwab exchange-traded funds.
At the end of 2009 Schwab had 300 offices and 7.7 million client brokerage accounts, 1.5 million corporate retirement plan participants and 739,000 banking accounts. It also had $1.4 trillion of client assets under management.