Charles Schwab (NYSE:SCHW) Continue Reading »
As our conviction in M&T Bank waned, conviction built in another previously held financial, Charles Schwab. We previously held Schwab, ultimately selling the stock for valuation reasons in late 2013, after the stock got well ahead of what we thought were solid fundamentals. Valuation was the driving factor for the sell approximately two years ago, and valuation was the driving factor for this most recent purchase. In other words, little has changed from a fundamental point of view. Schwab has maintained their low-cost leadership (per dollar of platform assets) by leveraging their independent open-architecture asset gathering platform, and scaling over $2.3 trillion in client assets across decades of technology investments. Schwab’s low- cost of servicing allows them to pass on lower fees to advisors and clients, which is a key advantage, particularly in the highly commoditized financial services industry. While Charles Schwab’s capital intensity has increased over the past several years, they continue to maintain industry-leading pretax profit margins. We expect Schwab to continue gathering assets at a mid-single digit organic growth rate, combined with continued expense leverage, and only modest help from the interest rate environment.