Charles Schwab: Demystify the investment process

The Charles Schwab name, with more than 40 years of assisting investors behind it, is a solid one. "The fact that Schwab is well known and is as financially stable as we are, brings a lot of comfort to our clients," said Randy Schechter, vice-president and manager of Schwab's La Jolla branch, one of its first in the San Diego community. But Schwab does not rest on reputation.

"We've always been a challenger as a company," Schechter said, "challenging the status quo with the goal of delivering investors a better experience."

How? "We're always on the lookout for being innovative — with our relationship building, with our technology, with our new products and services, with our pricing. For me that's at the heart of what Schwab is all about."

Part of being a challenger, too, is to assist clients during often confusing economic times. "We try to demystify the investment process for the average investor," said Schechter, who has been with the company more than 20 years and who in addition to the La Jolla branch manages the Schwab branch in Rancho Bernardo.

The La Jolla branch is composed of five financial consultants, two operations specialists and Schechter himself. "The staffing is not what you might think a typical financial services branch would look like," Schechter said, explaining that outside the branch, clients have access to Schwab operational call centers 24/7.

When potential new clients come into the branch, Schechter said, "The first thing we try to address is to make sure they have a plan that takes into account their individual situation, their individual goals, and we address what their tolerance for risk is.

"A lot of folks who are either near retirement or at retirement still see the value of having a portion of their portfolio invested in the stock market," said Schechter. "But they're probably more likely to have a balance where they've got some invested in the stock market and some in bonds. Somebody who's younger can withstand some of the ups and downs that take place in the market. We try to look at what stage of your investment life you are in.

"It's important to have a plan, a road map of where you are and where you need to get to. That's what we do here (for clients). People who have a plan and stick to it have a better outcome. They're more successful long term."

Being in La Jolla as long as it has — more than 25 years — Schwab is rightfully proud of its ongoing involvement in the community. "We have a strong relationship," said Schechter. "We do a lot of events. For example, this year we're planning to do some work with The Salk Institute. We also do a lot of workshops and educational seminars. We look for opportunities to support the community and work with it."

Charles Schwab, 7777 Fay Ave., Suite 105, La Jolla. Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Friday. (858) 551-6315.


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