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SCHWAB’S Success Story

On October 22nd, the Commonwealth Club hosted an insightful conversation with Charles Schwab in San Francisco. Charles “Chuck” Schwab is one of the world’s most influential financial executives. As of 2019, nearly $3.6 trillion worth of assets are managed by the eponymous Charles Schwab and Company. Mr. Schwab founded his brokerage firm in 1971 with a loan of $100,000 and four employees in San Francisco. In conversation with Adam Lashinsky, Executive Editor of Fortune magazine, Chuck explained that during the firm’s cradle days, Wall Street venture capitalists were reluctant to fund his company, cognizant of the threat posed by a customer-service centered financial services firm. A customer-service oriented firm was counterintuitive to the predominantly commission-focused brokerages in New York. Out in the West Coast, however, Chuck’s vision had advantages. He benefited from being in the technologically savvy Bay Area and found the attitudes of people less commission-focused. He attributes his success to putting customer needs first and letting customers make buying decisions, rather than focusing on selling products. The outrage of established firms didn’t help Chuck obtain enough capital for his vision. To get the support he needed for his innovative financial firm, he personally went to radio stations around the country to give interviews about his company. Even though he had limited resources and support, he succeeded by taking advantage of the

opportunities that were available to him.


Choose something you’re passionate about. When Chuck was a kid, he wanted to be able to buy anything he wanted. He’s now able to do that while conducting an innovative business that helps thousands of people.


Educate yourself about investing. Our educational system is still behind on sound financial literacy. Index funds are great but they are dull to young people. Think about Microsoft, Netflix, Amazon etc

- Ashi M. Idicula