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Schwab to Buy USAA's Brokerage Business

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Charles Schwab will spend $1.8 billion to buy the brokerage and managed portfolio accounts of USAA’s Investment Management Company. The deal includes a referral agreement that makes Schwab the “exclusive wealth management and brokerage provider” for USAA members.

According to Schwab, the transaction should add some one million new accounts and about $90 billion in client assets to its Investor Services business, which now has $1.9 trillion in assets. Schwab’s total assets are $3.7 trillion, with about $1.8 trillion in its Advisor Services unit.

Talk of the deal was reported by the Wall Street Journal 10 days ago. It comes on the heels of USAA’s sale of its asset-management business, including mutual funds, ETF operations and 529 plans, to Victory Capital; these activities encompassed about $81 billion of assets.

“We are honored to be entrusted with serving the financial needs of USAA’s members. We have long admired USAA’s mission to enhance the financial security of our country’s military service men and women and their families,” according to Schwab President & CEO Walt Bettinger.

On Wednesday, Schwab announced that Terri Kallsen — who has led its retail brokerage operations since 2014 — is leaving along with Andy Gill, the firm’s chief marketing officer. Jonathan Craig, a senior executive vice president in charge of retail and retirement plan businesses and the former boss of both executives, has assumed their former responsibilities.

The USAA deal emerges just days after Schwab rival TD Ameritrade said its popular CEO Tim Hockey would leave the firm by February. It also comes a few months after Schwab rolled out a subscription-based advice service that has attracted $1 billion in new assets under management since its introduction.

The move to buy USAA “is more fuel for the pitchforks-and-torches crowd that is worried about Schwab competing directly with advisors,” said Tim Welsh, head of the consulting group Nexus Strategy and a former Schwab executive, on July 15.