Charles Schwab opens Singapore outpost ‘to help Asians invest in US market’

Charles Schwab, the NYSE-listed American wealth manager and brokerage, earlier today officially unveiled a new office in downtown Singapore, as it said it readied itself to prepare helping Singaporean and Asian investors with easier access to the US market. 

A “client event” is scheduled to be held in Singapore tomorrow.

The move comes in the wake of the company’s integration of the business and systems of optionsXpress, a derivatives trading platform Charles Scwab acquired in 2011 – and, according to press reports last year, its closing of the accounts of many American expatriates in and around Singapore, reportedly because of the problems of maintaining American clients since the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act came into force.

Charles Schwab didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

However, in a statement out of Singapore, Schwab noted that Asian investors’ investment portfolios currently are “underexposed to the US market due to high transaction fees”, the perception of distance and unfamiliarity. and poor access, and that it intended to respond to this by making its “proprietary tools and research, quality service and competitive pricing” available to these investors.

Greg Baker is heading up the new Charles Schwab Singapore operation, as managing director.

In a statement, he noted that although the US is “the largest, most liquid market in the world, and gives [investors] access to the some of the largest global companies across every industry sector”, investors too often “do not sufficiently diversify their investments”, limiting their  international market exposure to foreign exchange vehicles, even though “there is an opportunity to maximise their investment return by exploring other vehicles such as options, stocks and ETFs”.

He added: “What we mean by improving access is that one no longer needs to be a private banking client to access quality service and a comprehensive platform like this.

“We are also offering to investors in Singapore a simple fixed-fee structure, with…competitive pricing.

“There do not have to be trade-offs between quality research, price and customer experience.”

Founded in 1971

Charles Schwab was founded in 1971 by Charles R Schwab and is based in San Fransciso, with more than 345 offices operating around the world.  It claims to hold more than 10.6 million active brokerage accounts and US$3.18trn in client assets globally.

In Singapore, the new offices are located at 1 George Street, in Singapore’s financial district.

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