Retail Investing Behemoth Is ‘Closely’ Looking at Crypto Market; Awaiting ‘More Regulatory Clarity’

Operating nearly 32 million brokerage accounts with over $7 trillion in client assets, Charles Schwab says they will be highly competitive and disruptive when that comes.


Charles Schwab is looking “closely” and “cautiously” at the cryptocurrency market, said the head of the brokerage on Thursday, adding that they are awaiting more guidance from regulators before offering crypto capabilities on its platform.

It has been exploring the launch of crypto brokerage since last month, and as we reported, it has been seeking a compliance director for its futures and forex team that involves crypto aspects.

“We would like to see more regulatory clarity,” Schwab Chief Executive Officer Walt Bettinger said on a call with analysts.

“And if and when that comes, you should expect Schwab to be a player in that space in the same way it has been a player in other investment opportunities across the spectrum.”

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has yet to provide any clear rules and regulations regarding digital assets, but with crypto-friendly Gary Gensler being the new chairman, “guidance and clarity” is expected soon.

One of the largest retail brokerages and retirement account providers in the industry, Charles Schwab added a record 3.2 million new clients in the first quarter of 2021, more new accounts than the entire 2020.

The company said it now operates nearly 32 million brokerage accounts and has more than $7 trillion in client assets.

The retail investing behemoth also said it is closely watching for any new developments on the regulator front regarding whether they allow a crypto-based investment-oriented product like an exchange-traded fund (ETF). “We recognize a bit, I'd say, well, what's going on,” Bettinger said.

“If Charles Schwab, the company, decides to participate in the crypto market, we will be highly competitive, we will be disruptive, and we will be client-oriented.”

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