Schwab's ETF Strategy: Everyone (on its Client Roster) Trades Free
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Monday, November 02, 2009

Schwab's ETF Strategy: Everyone (on its Client Roster) Trades Free

On Monday, Schwab executives led by president and CEO Walt Bettinger -- who spoke via satellite -- discussed Schwab's ETF strategy with more than 50 journalists in New York City. Company officials revealed that Schwab's ETFs can be bought and sold through commission-free.

San Francisco-based Schwab is launching four ETFs tomorrow (executives are scheduled to ring the opening bell on the New York Stock Exchange) and another four next month. Expense ratios range from 8 bps to 35 bps.

To promote the new products, Schwab will kick off a "broad-based, multi-channel marketing campaign" tomorrow, said Peter Crawford, senior vice president of investment management solutions.

Euro RSCG created the ads for Schwab. Ads will appear on CNBC, CNN, MSNBC and the Sunday morning CBS show Face the Nation, as well as in print publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Barron's. On the Web, ads will run on Yahoo, Google, MSN and

"When you're a Schwab client, ETF stands for Everyone Trades Free," read one of the ads.

Crawford declined to say how much Schwab is spending on the campaign.

Around 53 reporters attended the press briefing at the Hilton Hotel in midtown Manhattan. Public relations firm SunStar helped put together the event, which was also attended by advisors and representatives from index providers Dow Jones and FTSE.

The four ETFs launching tomorrow are the Schwab U.S. Broad Stock Market Index ETF, Schwab U.S. Large Cap ETF, Schwab U.S. Small Cap ETF and Schwab International Equity ETF.

The other four set to launch next month are the Schwab U.S. Large Cap Growth ETF, Schwab U.S. Large Cap Value ETF, Schwab International Small-Cap Equity ETF and Schwab Emerging Market Equity ETF.

Commission-free online trading of the ETFs will be available to individual investors at Schwab, to the more than 6,000 independent advisor firms using Schwab's custodial services through Schwab Advisor services and through Schwab retirement accounts that allow ETF trading.

Schwab hired Eric Pollackov from NYSE Euronext to serve as capital markets liaison. Pollackov started at Schwab last week.

Another recent addition to Schwab, as reported by The MFWire in September, is Dustin Lewellyn, who was previously ETF head at Northern Trust. At Schwab, Lewellyn serves as managing director of ETF portfolio management.

In his comments made via satellite, Bettinger noted that Schwab is already a major player in the ETF space. "Twenty to 30 percent of retail ETF volume trades at Schwab," he said.

Bettinger, who succeeded Chuck Schwab as CEO a year ago, added that Monday's announcement is similar to the launch of the OneSource mutual fund platform in 1992.

The ETF launch is "a major priority for Walt and for Chuck," Crawford told reporters. "The entire company is behind this."

Other executives in attendance include Jeff Mortimer, Schwab Investment Management chief investment officer; Schwab Advisor Services senior vice president Bernie Clark and Jon de St Paer, vice president of investment management services.

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