Charles Schwab & Co. announced Monday that it will begin offering a franchising option to independent advisors. The new program, called the Independent Branch Services program, has been mentioned recently in analyst calls by Schwab Institutional President Walt Bettinger, but is now officially launched, according to the company.
A Schwab spokesperson says the branch locations will offer the same products, pricing and service as the 300 company-managed branch locations, but with an element of independence. It also plans to serve the same mass affluent clients as Schwab’s company-managed branch locations.
How the two will differ, and avoid directly competing with each other, not to mention with Schwab's more than 5,000 independent RIAs, was unclear as of the time of this writing. (Look for further updates on AdvisorOne.)