Charles Schwab is set to trim its work force by about 3%, or by roughly 600 employees, as a result of lower interest rates and their negative impact on profits, according to a report late Tuesday in The Wall Street Journal.
The news was delivered to staff by CEO Walt Bettinger in a town hall meeting, sources told the Journal, and cuts could come as soon as next week.
Less than two months ago, Schwab said it was buying some assets from USAA Investment Management for $1.8 billion.
As noted by the Journal, some Schwab clients receive portfolio services free of management fees if they keep some of their portfolios in cash, which allowed the firm to earn more when rates were higher.
“We initiated a process to review our expense base to ensure we remain well-positioned to serve clients while navigating an increasingly challenging economic environment,” according to a Schwab spokeswoman cited in the report.
As of June 30, Schwab had about 20,500 employees — up 10% from roughly 18,700 a year earlier.
Schwab’s bank brings in over 50% of the company’s revenue, which was $10 billion last year, vs. about 25% a decade ago, the paper said.
The brokerage firm had not anticipated the Federal Reserve would cut rates as it has done recently, according to the Journal.
Some of the eliminated posts are in the firm’s retail division, which encompasses Schwab financial advisors and others working directly with investor clients, the report said.
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