American wealth management giant Charles Schwab Corporation has re-opened an office in Sydney after exiting the Australian market in 2000.
The San Francisco-headquartered financial advice firm, custodian and brokerage has “re-established” its presence in Australia following the acquisition of Chicago-based “broker-dealer” optionsXpress.
Charles Schwab Australia managing director JP Drysdale told InvestorDaily the decision to re-enter the Australian market was due to growth of SMSFs in Australia that exhibited the “clear demand for self-directed investment opportunities”.
“The acquisition and integration of the optionsXpress business presented opportunities in both the Australian and Singapore markets,” Mr Drysdale said.
“The time was right to enter both, to give investors in both markets the ability to trade in US markets through a platform that’s cost effective, secure and time-tested.”
Prior to 2000, Charles Schwab had an Australian presence but decided to physically exit the market due to a “range of market circumstances at that time”.
Where optionsXpress only offered an online trading platform, Charles Schwab had the capacity to cater to the needs of Australian investors more broadly, Mr Drysdale said.
“Globally, Charles Schwab is a wealth management and advisory firm that focuses on helping clients invest for their future,” Mr Drysdale told InvestorDaily.
“This is a far broader approach to customers investing needs than optionsXpress.
“Charles Schwab Australia is now in a position to assist many more Australians who need to manage they investments and diversify in the US, but don’t see themselves as short-term traders.”
Through its electronic trading platform, the broker firm will offer Australian investors access to US-listed equities, offshore mutual funds, ETFs, fixed income, options and futures at US$4.95 per online equity trade.
He added that local investors, through a variety of channels, were now able to have cost effective access to the US market.
“Typically, access to US markets for self-directed investors, including SMSFs, is expensive compared to the costs of transacting in the Australian market,” he said.
“However, we believe there need not be trade-offs between price and customer service.
“From the high-quality research content mentioned above to the ability for clients to pick up the phone and talk to a financial consultant, Charles Schwab provides many ways for clients to access investment experts.
“We see our role as working with clients to help them develop a strategy for increasing the diversity of their investments and therefore managing the risk in their portfolios.”