Letter to Taking Stock Readers

To Malcolm Berko’s reader “T.M.” who asked, “Is Charles Schwab a safe, inexpensive and honest place to handle my account?” 

On behalf of everyone at Schwab, we welcome your account and the opportunity to serve you and demonstrate to you firsthand, the safety, value and integrity that have been hallmarks of our company for more than 40 years. We strive not only to have the highest quality, empathetic and knowledgeable professionals answering the phone when our clients call but also to pick up the phone as fast we can.

Contrary to what Mr. Berko suggests, whenever you call us, you can just say “I want to speak to a representative,” and we will bring a live person on the line as quickly as possible – there is no need to go through push button scripts. So far in 2017, we are averaging about 90-100 seconds before you will speak to someone on the phone. This isn’t as fast as we want or as well as we have done historically, but we are hiring rapidly with more than 1,100 open positions at Schwab as I write this.

 We pride ourselves on outstanding customer service, measure it closely, and have been recognized by numerous third parties including JD Power, which ranked Schwab highest in investor satisfaction among all full-service brokerage firms in both 2016 and 2017. So you can see that, although we are a profitable company, we are primarily focused on serving our 10-plus million clients and objective third parties notice. However, if you or any other Schwab client are ever not satisfied for any reason, we will refund any related commission, transaction fee or advisory program fee we have charged you — a guarantee that is unique among brokerage firms.

 I also wanted to respond to the uninformed personal references about me by Mr. Berko. The roman numeral “II” in my name comes from being named after my father’s father who passed away shortly before I was born — a hard working high school graduate from Cincinnati whose life was cut short by cancer. Being named after him is a source of pride, not ego. And my family? My mother was a stay at home mom and my late teacher father never made more than $21,000 any year of his life. My parents watched every penny so they could put four children through college.

Finally, to directly answer your question, T.M. — Yes, we believe Charles Schwab is a safe, inexpensive and honest place to handle your account, and we’re confident enough in that belief to back it with a satisfaction guarantee. We would be honored to welcome you to Schwab and to serve you!

Walt Bettinger
President & CEO
Charles Schwab

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