Investing made easy the Charles Schwab way
Racks of brochures and fliers offer advice on how newcomers can use the Schwab service, -for instance through its own "StreetSmart" software that allows investors to trade via personal computer.
There is the possibility of human contact too: there are three desks with representatives waiting to offer advice to anyone uncertain about how to proceed. In no need of counselling is Peter Warnet, a computer consultant, who was in the neighbourhood and wanted to scan options prices on one of the terminals. He has been using Schwab for five years, and does most of his trading from home on his touch-tone phone.
"I like Schwab because basically it is just very convenient," says Mr Warnet, a living advertisment for the firm.
"I travel all over the country and wherever I go, there is an office. And it's big enough so I know they are going to be reliable".
He is a bit sheepish about how often he visits the offices and makes trades, but he admits it's several times a week.
Christopher Berkland is one of those behind the desks. He confirms the essential difference between Schwab and the traditional brokerage firms: he might give clients guidance on what kind of investment might be wise - mutual funds, perhaps, or straight stock purchases - but he will not make any picks. "I am not going to say you should buy X, Y or Z.".
The easy-to-use formula is indeed tempting. "To place and order please touch two", says the automated voice on the trade phone. Two is duly touched, but then a real voice comes on. Better stop there.
There are 207 other branches like this out there on Main Streets all over the US, making Schwab the biggest discount brokerage firm in the land, with 44 per cent of the market.
With its brand of no-pressure selling and use of cutting-edge technology, the company accumulated $27bn of customer assets last year and took in 800,000 new accounts. Its own share values have soared, rising nearly fivefold in the last four years.
Katie Hopkins continues campaign to become Britain's most hated talking head with poorly timed Bob Crow tweet
No EU referendum under Labour: Ed Miliband to reveal that vote on membership is ‘unlikely’ in next Parliament if party wins power
Grace Dent: Who cares if she spells it Barraco Barner? Gemma Worrall is more employable than some bookish arts graduate
Europeans have ‘got whiter’ due to natural selection in past 5,000 years, scientists say
Fracking is turning the US into a bigger oil producer than Saudi Arabia
The rise of Ukip: Study warns Labour that Eurosceptic party's electoral base now 'more working class than any of the main parties'
- 1 Is your name now 'banned' in Saudi Arabia?
- 2 Tony Benn meets Ali G: Watch Labour veteran burn Sacha Baron Cohen
- 3 Women do experience two different types of orgasm, study reveals
- 4 Istanbul protesters take 'Ellen selfie' from the back of a police van
- 5 Lady Gaga has struggled with eating disorders in the past, so it's indefensible that she's glamourising bulimia in her SXSW set
iJobs Money & Business
£35000 - £43000 per annum + Bonus and Benefits: Harrington Starr: A global lea...
£50000 - £60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Linux Systems Administrator - UNI...
£32000 - £36000 per annum + generous benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: * TAX * ...
£37000 - £40000 per annum + £20000 benefits package: Pro-Recruitment Group: **...