Registered Representative | Denver, CO | Nov 30, 2020
Used to be a financial services career. Now its a call center job.
Schwab has changed quite a bit over the last few years, moving away from the things they tout in their pitch to potential employees as "total rewards" they previously used to offset their lower than average pay for the registered broker role.
Gone are Chairman's Club, gone are decent medical benefits, gone are decent bonuses. Gone is time away from the phones.
Everything has been replaced with incremental performance rewards, lateral moves touted as "promotions", and junk add-ons (think prepaid legal, HSA plans, and supplementary insurance plans, discounted grubhub, etc)
The role is now exclusively "answer the phones". Your worth to the firm is your metric.
There is very little in the way of advancement opportunities outside of 1)become a manager, 2)go to the branch, or 3) lateral move into another phone based client service role.
The lag at Schwab in taking a proactive approach to technology upgrades and contingency planning has led to a mess during the pandemic, including many high profile outages due to phone and website failures, and a training dept. that was not prepared to onboard/ train remotely. This has led to higher call volumes, less people adept at taking the calls, and strain on the network. All the stress of this has led to higher turnover, which has led to Schwab hiring people who are outside of finance and are only taking the role because Schwab is one of few employers hiring. These people then leave as soon as they get a new role in their desired fie
ProsDecent pay, Some limited benefits
Conscall center role, declining benefits, frequent leadership changes, focus on phone metrics only, technology challenges
There is no consistency in management. If you have a bad manager, you might as well quit now, because you'll have a hard time getting out of the position you are currently in. Schwab freely admits that their compensation is below the market. Their benefits are awesome, and that is about the best thing I can say about them. Promotions are pooled, so there may only be one or two available to a group of 50 employees or so. If you don't get the promotion, about the only pay increase they will give you is the 2% COLA.
Bonuses are pooled as well, and it is up to each manager to fight for a larger slice of the pie for their employees. Again, if you have a bad manager, your bonus will be next to nothing. And your manager will tell you there was nothing they could do about it. If you happen to do well, and earn the Key Contributor award, then you'll get a bonus - stock options and restricted stock - that it takes YEARS to actually get. Gee, you did a great job. Now you have to stay another three years to get what you've earned.
As a "Relationship Specialist," you are put in a training class that teaches you little more than there is an exception to everything, and every team does the same procedure differently. You're supposed to go above and beyond to service the client (advisor) but inevitably the answer is no, we can't do that. Once training is complete, the expectation is that you've learned all you need to know to do your job. Not by a long shot.
Policy is vague, and in some c
I started at Schwab when the pandemic was just starting, so my work experience has been entirely from home.
Schwab was quick to transition most of its employees to a remote environment due to the pandemic, all while ensuring the employees had the proper equipment to work comfortably and efficiently. They provided us multiple monitors, company-issued laptops, and other necessary accessories.
The colleagues on my team and my colleagues are great. They are always supportive, and constantly make themselves available if you have any questions which is crucial in this virtual environment
In my role, the job is simply taking inbound calls from clients all day long, troubleshooting their technical issues with our website, mobile apps, or trading platforms. If you have great customer service skills, and are good at dealing with frustrated clients over the phone, then this job is for you. Additionally, since it's a technical support role, you are not required to obtain any licenses although you are welcome to pursue those if you wish.
The pay is great. I honestly thought I was going to be getting paid less when I took the job. Benefits are also great, and the job has a wonderful work-life balance. If you are good in your role, then you can advance quickly here. The opportunities are definitely plentiful.
The cons of the job are mostly with two things: the training and adherence metrics.
Training: Even if you are in a tech support role, Schwab still puts you through a 2 week con
ProsGreat support system, pay, benefits, opportunities for advancement & work-life balance
In the beginning, Charles Schwab was a wonderful culture and seemed like a great place to work. However, the stipulation that requires you to pass the FINRA SIE, Series 7 and Series 66 exams are extremely difficult. I was able to pass the SIE with my first attempt, but was unable to pass my Series 7 exam after two attempts (I got a 68% and 65% on my attempts and you need a 72% to pass). After I failed the series 7 the first time, the entire atmosphere changed at work. My managers were no longer offering help, my co-workers looked at my fellow new hires (who also failed their first attempt, 4 of us failed out of 5) and me as if we were complete morons. Everything that gave me a positive vibe before the exams instantly changed after that first failed attempt. Also, the job itself is taking high volume phone calls about participant 401k accounts, so they have specific metrics that you have to be within. For example, they don't want any one phone call to take more than an average of 10 minutes, but when it takes 3-5 minutes to get someone verified and then get them logged into their account, that 10 minute window came up quick! All it took was one elderly person who needed 25 minutes of help signing into their account and your performance for the day was trashed. My manager had told me time and again that I shouldn't worry about my metrics and focus on the exam material and studying. The only issue I had on the phones were my calls taking a little more than 10 minutes on average.
ProsNice Cafeteria and Building
ConsHigh pressure, High stress, Statistic/Exam requirements
Great potential but limited by management effectiveness and execution
I spent most of my time in Corporate Risk Management and here are my takeaways concerning my overall experience at Schwab.
In many ways Schwab is a great company. I think the front line workers who interact with clients in the branch offices and the customer support people who interact with clients over the phone probably enjoy Schwab culture the most because they are the backbone of the organization and they are probably treated well. Additionally, Schwab is very generous to employees and bonuses are given quite liberally. They also give a free Sabbatical of 30 days to employees that reach 5 year tenure, so that's pretty sweet.
Now on to the bad. From my experience in corporate risk management (CRM), the culture of CRM is quite terrible. Culture-wise there is absolutely no interaction between senior leadership and the lower level departments. From a business partnership perspective, there is abject bitterness between some of the leadership teams and risk management is not being conducted as well as it could as a result. Turnover within CRM is incredibly high compared to what I've seen in other companies and the anecdotal reasons I hear were mostly because of director level and upward leadership issues. Chiefly, people care about the work they do but leaders are a stumbling block to them doing what is right by the firm and its customers.
In short, CRM is highly dysfunctional and the reason behind it is largely the leadership. It seems that there is a trepidation for leader
I have worked in the financial services industry since 1984 and Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. was the best/my favorite employer so far. I don't know what the culture is like now, but I worked there in the mid 90's through 2005. The company's culture was great in the 90's. They are very client focused and do right by their customers. One of the things I loved about Schwab is that they were generous to employees at all levels, not just executive level employees - as far as stock option grants etc. If you were a hard worker, it paid off. There was a lot of opportunities there at that time because the firm was going through a growth spurt. At some point, the focus of the firm seemed to shift slightly (when Charles Schwab stepped down to Dave Pottruck) after acquiring US Trust, increasing client service fees and generally upsetting some of the smaller client base. But for the most part, the company treated employees well and offered good benefit package etc. - having left and worked for other firms after my time at Schwab, I look back on my time there and wish I hadn't left! They also offered a great "sabbatical" program to employees. After 5 years of service, employees were eligible to take a 30-day, fully paid sabbatical, this was in addition to and separate from vacation time. This allowed overworked staff some well deserved and much needed down time during the 90's when the markets were crazy. I had 2 sabbaticals while working for Schwab. That's a very generous benefit that I've
ProsOpportunities, sabbatical program, stock option grants, good company culture, client focused, good to their employees
ConsVery busy place, too many layers of management
I commute via BART and arrive about 45 minutes early. I open the safe, print clients' checks for the day and open the branch. I assist clients at the front desk with check and stock certificate deposits and operational problems as well as financial consultants with any problems they have, ie. submitting paperwork, compiling information, or any other miscellaneous tasks. I talk with clients and prospects about Schwab products, looking for sales opportunities. If there is a financial workshop scheduled for the day, I may present myself or coordinate another presenter. At the end of day, I print reports of the day's activities and close the branch.
I have added to my knowledge of the financial industry, sales process, and customer service techniques, as well as working as a team with very different individuals. We have had some changes in management which have caused some adjustments. The financial consultants all keep to themselves and work in their individual offices, except when they have the occasional question. The support staff, myself included, leverage each other often and work well to meet clients' needs.
The hardest part of my job is probably the compensation and the staffing. Rather than being awarded based on our own performance, the support staff's bonus is contingent on how the company performs overall, unlike the consultant bonus plan which compensates them on multiple factors. We have had staffing problems since before I started which can be problematic for cli
A typical day involved dealing with new account requests submitted via application or online that had errors of which could not be automatically handled. I was involved in the review team that would assist with this issues and help to overcome the obstacles. This could be as basic as reviewing a smudged number, to calling a local branch or client, or even involving third-parties (client's attorneys and lawyers) when required.
The work seems very overwhelming when you first step in, but over time you will develop the means to handle the tasks. Management ensures that you are never thrown to the wolves, but will make sure that you are challenged and that you challenge yourself. I worked with a team of 15 others and was one of the more seasoned representatives on the team, which meant people would come to me for support and assistance. This is very much a team environment, where you never have to work alone. If you ever need help, there is always someone there to guide you.
The culture at where I worked was developing, slowly but surely. As more people are hired, it will expand and develop even faster. Management has made a significant improvement over the last year I worked their, and morale has seen a boost due to this.
The hardest part about my job was that each day will always bring a new challenge, and you never know what that might entail. Clients can be difficult to deal with when it comes to complicated situations, but that comes with every job.
At the end
ProsWork Hours, Overtime Availability, Health Benefits
Overall assestment of working at Schwab headquarters
This is a solid and safe place to work. I was fortunate enough to work on the one team that was fun and lively with the most personality. Since most the employees here are 40 yrs old and older you can tell that their team cultures are quiet and dull in comparison. It's a very head down with your headphones environment that doesn't breed excitement. As a company if you want to learn and take on more work to help expand your experience and knowledge they are great at doing so. but, when it comes to advancement this is not the place you want to be. It's a complacent place to be. Because there is very little types of levels (manager, Senior, Director, SVP and above) most people are Senior level, but have remained so for many years. While the company is eager to think with innovation as often as possible it is also a company/industry that is very slow moving and projects and ideas need to be voted by large majorities which can take a project that requires 2 months from start to finish, to taking a year to complete. Also, compared to competitors Schwab is the lost paying by a good $15k per salary.Overall, if you are a working parent this is a great company that has solid ground and an easy going culture that allows flexibility to balance your personal life. Most people leave the office and don't check their emails after 5pm, nor the weekends. That actually is great in the sense where you can disengage immediately. Good company, but not if you are an achiever that wants to do and b
ProsWork life balance, safe industry, education development
Conslack of advancement, slow moving industry, mediocre health benefits
Schwab used to be a great place to work at, but recently the culture changed to more of a "old-boys club" where the management only cares about themselves.
I worked as a contractor there for years with it being no secret that I wanted to be converted, but each time it was brought up there were just excuses given on why they couldn't convert me.
"Not enough in the budget", "You get paid more contracting!", "We need a little more time to see if there's space in the office".
You would hear these excuses, then get emails the same day introducing a new manager hire that has no employees under them.
We lost a lot of good talent due to politics in the workplace - constant in-fighting by Directors on the direction IT should take, which would leave the work to be in-flux.
Entire teams would go from close to 20 people to 8 in a matter of months due to poor management, direction and opportunities to advance. It seemed the only way to get ahead was to personally know some one high up - not by providing quality work.
Only direct managers were typically those who you could trust (a few directors were trustworthy, too) as they fought to keep you on-board and get your hired as an FTE.
If you work as a contractor there, don't expect to be treated like an FTE. The environment tends to lean towards making contractors feel like 2nd-class citizens.
I thoroughly enjoyed working with many of my co-workers and direct managers, which is the only reason I stayed, but that only helps
ProsWFH (limited hours), great co-workers
ConsPoor management, no chance of advancement, pay can be low, stressful environment, poor attitude towards contractors
Questions And Answers about Charles Schwab
If you were in charge, what would you do to make Charles Schwab a better place to work?
Asked Mar 31, 2018
Bring Charles Schwab back as CEO. Each time he has stepped aside the company strays from it's original core values. Currently, new staff in the branches are paid to move clients between investments...a clear conflict of interest.
Answered Dec 15, 2020
Answered Dec 6, 2020
What is the work environment and culture like at Charles Schwab?
Asked Aug 29, 2016
Micromanaged, clueless management, favoritism. Those are the 3 key words you need to know. Schwab's answer to this is a canned answer, "go look at our website" just tells you they scripted this a while back. Every answer you will get there is a canned answer.
Answered Mar 8, 2020
Mafioso: If you are an external hire or contractor & not welcomed as part of the "FAMILIA" & in the good graces of the "Godfather", the Saboteurs & Hitman... will make sure you are out.
Answered Nov 27, 2018
How long does it take to get hired from start to finish at Charles Schwab? What are the steps along the way?
Asked Aug 14, 2016
When i applied it took maybe 2-3 months to get an email saying theyd like to set up a phone interview. The interview was for a Monday, Friday of the same week i came to a 2 hr interview in person (30 min shadowing, hr & half interview). The following Monday i was offered the position. I had 48 hrs to complete my background check & drug screen from then. So i completed it Wednesday...the following Wednesday i got my notification everything was cleared. My start date was 3 weeks from then. Timely but seemingly worth it.
Answered Mar 28, 2019
Took me 6 months with 2 phone interviews and never was onsite until my first day. I also had an employee referral for the team I was joining.
Answered Sep 17, 2018
Is this a call center? I want to apply but im done with call centers
Asked May 17, 2016
Calls are taken by all client service personnel. They answer all questions regarding ever type of account offered.
Answered Oct 8, 2017
It depends on the type of role you are looking for. The majority of our opportunities are within our regional Investor Service Centers and are phone based in nature. We also have our Branch Network where you would be engaging with clients in a face-to-face, office setting. You can explore current openings here: http://schwabjobs.com/
Answered Sep 28, 2017
What remote/work from home/telecommuting capability is there?
Asked Jul 19, 2017
WFH is a joke at Schwab. With coronavirus, they are still not supporting people who choose to WFH to avoid exposure to others who are responsible about who they are exposed to. If you are salaried, you have to account for how many hours in a day you WFH. Example, you WFH in the morning due to a dr appt which saves you drive time and allows you to work more and then go to the office afterward. You have to log the 2 to 3 hrs you WFH. Micromanagement to a whole new level. They are a global company that needs to get with the times of today and people's lifestyle choices. So many other firms that allow WFH to work for in the DFW area. Too political of a company to work for and not transparent to their associates.
Answered Mar 6, 2020
It depends on the position and the organization that the position rolls up under. Each business segment has a "policy" in place for their employees and can vary from one organization to another.