Charles Schwab UK, a foreign branch office of US-based Charles Schwab & Co, is in discussions with "institutions" about new equities ratings and research tools, which could mean new tools for IFAs for use with their investment clients.
For now, however, they will remain targeted at direct retail customers of CSUK itself, to make investing in US stocks easier.
Schwab Equity Ratings (SER) is a free tool to any client opening an Schwab trading account, while the Street Smart Pro (SSP) tool is available to those carrying out more than four trades every month.
On the face of it, the latter tool looks more interesting to IFAs, enabling research into equities before placing orders – including American Depository Receipts and Exchange Traded Funds.
It also enables investors to learn more about risk managment and implementing strategies such as stop losses and going short.
Gertjan Scholts, CSUK chief executive says he cannot talk about what possible institutional deals he might be mulling over.
”We’ve just launched these tools into the UK and that is what we are focused on at the moment,” he says.
”Schwab does offer advice and other services in the US market that for regulatory and other reasons may not be available here.”
If those hurdles could be overcome, Schwab would be in a good position to leverage its existing expertise: its offer to IFAs in the US called CyberTrader actually goes beyond SSP in also offering futures trading.
For now, CSUK is focused on a niche.
It only offers US dollar-denominated trading accounts and then only for dealing in US equities.
The company has handled £30m in new money invested so far this year – clearly indicating it operates in a niche when compared to the $11trn turnover of stocks on the New York Stock Exchange – but the plan is still to grow the business by 25% annually, says Scholts.
”We have taken an average of £150,000 per new client this year.” he says.IFAonline
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