Investment firm Charles Schwab gained a record number of new accounts during the first quarter of 2021. In all, the firm added 3.2 million clients in the first three months of the year, marking more than all new clients it added during the entire year of 2020. Last year’s new additions don’t include 14.5 million new accounts from its merger with TD Ameritrade or 1.1 million new accounts gained from its May 2020 purchase of USAA’s brokerage portfolio.
The investment giant says it now oversees almost 32 million brokerage accounts and boasts of holding nearly $7.07 trillion for its client assets.
Despite Schwab’s positive news, its shares fell by 2.9 percent on Thursday and 1.16 percent on Friday.
Daily trading at Schwab’s has risen to 8.4 million on average, or four times the level of trading it saw in 2019.
Walt Bettinger, Schwab CEO, said in a release, “Elevated interest in technology and other growth-oriented stocks, as well as heightened market attention to certain names via social media, significantly bolstered trading activity.”
During January, many of the major brokerages were embedded in the GameStop short squeeze fueled by Reddit’s retail investors. The manic trading propelled millions of new retail investors to platforms such as Schwab, Interactive Brokers, and Robinhood. According to Schwab, web and mobile logins amounted to more than 1.1 billion during the first quarter.
Bettinger said, “We have seen multiple days where we handled at least 10 million trades and concurrently accommodated more than 15 million logins across mobile and web.”
Many major brokers are coming out of a banner year from last year when new investors entered the stock market amid the pandemic.
Schwab surpassed expectations in its last quarterly results, earning an adjusted 84 cents a share, two cents a share more than a forecast by Refinitiv. The firm’s revenue was $4.72 billion, beating expectations of $4.6 billion in revenue. In a quarterly comparison, trading revenue grew by 46 percent to $1.2 billion.
Thus far, in 2021, Schwab’s stock up by almost 30 percent.