Schwab Reports Fourth Quarter Earnings Per Share of $.57 GAAP, $.74 Adjusted (1), Bringing Full-Year Results to $2.12 and $2.45, Respectively
January 19, 2021 at 08:45 AM EST
The Charles Schwab Corporation announced today that its net income for the fourth quarter of 2020 was $1.1 billion, compared with $698 million for the third quarter of 2020, and $852 million for the fourth quarter of 2019. Net income for the twelve months ended December 31, 2020 was $3.3 billion, compared with $3.7 billion for the year-earlier period. The company’s financial results include TD Ameritrade from closing on October 6, 2020 forward, as well as certain acquisition and integration-related costs and the amortization of acquired intangibles. Together these transaction-related expenses totaled $429 million and $632 million on a pre-tax basis, for the fourth quarter and full-year 2020, respectively.
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Beginning with the second quarter of 2020, the company’s financial presentations include references to adjusted measures of expenses, net income, diluted earnings per common share, and pre-tax profit margin, as well as return on tangible common equity (ROTCE), which are intended to help investors evaluate Schwab’s operating performance as well as facilitate a meaningful comparison of our current results to both historic and future periods.
CEO Walt Bettinger said, “Producing record operating performance and closing the largest brokerage acquisition in history during the fourth quarter of 2020 was an extraordinary capstone to an extraordinary year. Schwab’s unrelenting commitment to seeing through clients’ eyes helped us not only stand tall throughout the events of the past twelve months, but also enabled us to enter 2021 larger, stronger, and more capable of serving clients than ever.”
“The impact of COVID-19, along with social and political turmoil, created an unprecedented combination of personal and macroeconomic challenges for our clients, employees and stockholders alike,” Mr. Bettinger continued. “The pandemic’s rapid escalation in early 2020 was accompanied by volatile equity markets and further easing of monetary policy. As the year progressed, government aid packages and vaccine developments helped settle the markets, with the S&P 500® eventually erasing its pandemic-related losses to finish up 16% from December 2019. Against this backdrop, client engagement with the financial markets rose to record levels – pro-forma combined new-to-firm households increased more than 175% compared to 2019, with the number of households placing trades up more than 50% year-over-year. Our clients also continued to set numerous single-day trading records, including a peak of 7.8 million trades on November 9. As we collectively focused on helping clients navigate the trials of this environment, they rewarded us with a record $281.9 billion in core net new assets – including a record $119.4 billion in the fourth quarter – exceeding $200 billion for the third consecutive year. At December 31, total client assets reached a record of $6.69 trillion spread across 29.6 million brokerage accounts, up 66% and 140%, respectively, from a year ago.”
Mr. Bettinger added, “Throughout 2020, we persisted in executing our strategy, working tirelessly to reinforce our overall value proposition and share the benefits of increased scale with our clients. Notable solutions introduced during the year included Schwab Intelligent Income® and Schwab PlanTM, each designed to assist with key investing and planning needs. In addition, we made several enhancements to our mobile app – which supported 2.6 million unique users during the year, up 54% from 2019 – such as the integration of Schwab Intelligent Portfolios® as well as the launch of Schwab Assistant, a chatbot that enables clients to intuitively perform tasks on-demand. Our ongoing investments in technology that improve both the client experience and our efficiency helped us to accommodate unprecedented levels of activity in 2020 – Schwab alone handled 2.3 billion total interactions across web, mobile, chat, and direct messaging. Access to guidance remains extremely important in this environment. Advised assets made up roughly half of our overall client assets at December 31, and assets enrolled in digital advisory ended the year at $57.9 billion, up 18%. For our registered investment advisor clients, we’ve made strides in improving our service delivery by better aligning advisors with the teams and resources that support their particular needs. Additionally, we continued to expand our digital service capabilities to help advisors more seamlessly and efficiently support existing clients, cultivate new relationships, and scale their businesses. We also celebrated the 30th anniversary of Schwab IMPACT® with a virtual format that included advisors who custody client assets with TD Ameritrade for the first time. The conference brought together participants from around the country in an interactive forum, with a record 2,200 advisors in attendance. Our focus remains unchanged as we work to create a combined custodian positioned to deliver top-quality service and value to advisors of all sizes across a rapidly growing industry.
“In addition to TD Ameritrade, we also successfully closed three other acquisitions during the year, which each support our key strategic initiatives in unique ways. The USAA transaction added incremental scale as we welcomed over 1 million new accounts and $80 billion in brokerage and wealth management client assets, as well as a long-term referral arrangement, which is well underway. The acquisition of Motif’s technology and hiring of their staff enables us to accelerate progress on personalized investing capabilities. Similarly, Wasmer SchroederTM Strategies advances our efforts to develop proprietary solutions that benefit clients by allowing us to deliver a range of fixed income offerings designed specifically to meet our clients’ needs. And finally, TD Ameritrade not only builds scale, but also supports our ability to meet specific needs across client segments.”
Mr. Bettinger concluded, “As I reflect on 2020, I feel a deep sense of gratitude – to our clients, for entrusting us with record levels of new business, to our employees for their diligent commitment to serving others while balancing the health and safety of their own families, and to our stockholders, for focusing on the long-term, despite a volatile year and another round of accommodative interest rate policies instituted by the Federal Reserve. Pulling off our to-do list in an environment like the past twelve months takes a very special team, and I am more certain than ever that we have the talent, culture, and client-first strategy needed to successfully pursue the tremendous growth opportunities still ahead of us.”
CFO Peter Crawford commented, “Schwab’s 2020 financial results, which include TD Ameritrade from October 6 forward, demonstrate our ongoing success with clients and the benefits of our diversified revenue model in the face of environmental headwinds. During March, the Federal Reserve acted to support the economy by cutting the Fed Funds rate from 1.75% to near zero and announcing sizeable asset purchase programs. Mortgage refinancing activity subsequently accelerated and our net interest margin was impacted by both historically low rates and increased prepayments of mortgage-backed securities held in our investment portfolio. Strong growth in interest-earning assets via client asset inflows and allocation decisions, as well as our TD Ameritrade acquisition, helped limit the resulting year-over-year decline in net interest revenue to just 6% to $6.1 billion. Growing balances in advisory solutions and a robust rebound in equity markets led to an 8% increase in asset management and administration fees to $3.5 billion. Record client trading activity, and the addition of TD Ameritrade, led to an 88% increase in trading revenue to $1.4 billion – even as we absorbed a full-year impact of the commission reductions we implemented late in 2019. With the TD Ameritrade acquisition, our fourth quarter results included bank deposit account (BDA) fee revenue for the first time, which totaled $355 million for the period from close to year-end. BDA balances grew by 6% during that period and ended the year at $165.9 billion. Overall, while both Schwab and TD Ameritrade were performing well independently, we believe our first reported results as a combined firm help support the case that we’re creating an even more resilient business, producing fourth quarter revenues that were up 60% relative to standalone Schwab on a year-over-year basis.”
“On the expense front, our 2020 spending was in-line with expectations given our acquisition activities, along with the need to support our clients and employees as they navigated uniquely challenging environmental stresses,” Mr. Crawford continued. “Total GAAP expenses increased 26% to $7.4 billion for the year, which encompassed $442 million in acquisition and integration-related costs and $190 million in amortization of acquired intangibles. Exclusive of these items (1), adjusted total expenses were up 16% year-over-year, with approximately 13% attributable to including our acquisitions for part of 2020. The challenges of the past twelve months notwithstanding, our flexibility as an organization enabled us to successfully harness efficiencies and leverage our scale in order to produce a still-solid 36.8% pre-tax profit margin (42.2% on an adjusted basis) and a 9% return on equity (15% ROTCE) for the year (1).”
Mr. Crawford added, “Last year’s combination of stiff revenue headwinds and remarkable growth provides a clear example of why we remain focused on building a strong balance sheet capable of supporting our business in any environment. Our consolidated balance sheet grew 87% to end the year at $549 billion, reflecting both our substantial organic growth and the absorption of TD Ameritrade’s margin book and other interest-earning assets. We ended the year with a preliminary consolidated Tier 1 Leverage Ratio of 6.3%, which reflects the impact of that acquisition as well as the issuance of an additional $2.5 billion of preferred equity in early December.”
Mr. Crawford concluded, “2020 was an intensely challenging year in which we stayed true to our heritage. Together, our expanded team pushed through the business obstacles triggered by COVID-19 – uncertainty, volatility, and complexity – to effectively balance near-term profitability with driving strategic progress and helping solidify our competitive positioning. While we cannot predict what the future holds, we know that consistent growth is only made possible by managing for the long-term and serving our clients with clarity and focus – regardless of the circumstances.”
(1) Further details on non-GAAP financial measures and a reconciliation of such measures to reported results are included on pages 11-12 of this release.
Commentary from the CFO
Periodically, our Chief Financial Officer provides insight and commentary regarding Schwab’s financial picture at: https://www.aboutschwab.com/cfo-commentary. The most recent commentary, which provides perspective on The Charles Schwab Corporation’s recently completed acquisition of TD Ameritrade, was posted on October 6, 2020.
Winter Business Update
The company has scheduled a Winter Business Update for institutional investors on Tuesday, February 2, 2021. The Update, which will be held via webcast, is scheduled to run from approximately 8:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. PT, 11:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. ET. Registration for this Update is accessible at https://www.schwabevents.com/corporation.
This press release contains forward-looking statements relating to investments and acquisitions to improve the client experience, expand products and services to meet client needs, diversify revenues, and drive scale and efficiency; growth opportunities; the integration of TD Ameritrade; growth in the client base, accounts, and assets; building a strong balance sheet; and balancing near-term profitability with ongoing investment to support current and long-term growth. These forward-looking statements reflect management’s expectations as of the date hereof. Achievement of these expectations and objectives is subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from the expressed expectations.
Important factors that may cause such differences include, but are not limited to, the company’s ability to develop and launch new and enhanced products, services, and capabilities, as well as enhance its infrastructure, in a timely and successful manner; the ability to support client activity levels; the ability to successfully implement integration strategies and plans; the risk that expected revenue and expense synergies and other benefits from recent acquisitions may not be fully realized or may take longer to realize than expected; general market conditions, including equity valuations, trading activity, and credit spreads; the company’s ability to attract and retain clients and registered investment advisors and grow those relationships and client assets; client use of the company’s advisory solutions and other products and services; capital and liquidity needs and management; client cash allocations; client sensitivity to rates; the level of client assets, including cash balances; the company’s ability to monetize client assets; the company’s ability to manage expenses; the scope and duration of the COVID-19 pandemic and actions taken by governmental authorities to contain the spread of the virus and the economic impact; and other factors set forth in the company’s most recent reports on Form 10-K and Form 10-Q.
About Charles Schwab
The Charles Schwab Corporation (NYSE: SCHW) is a leading provider of financial services, with 29.6 million active brokerage accounts, 2.1 million corporate retirement plan participants, 1.5 million banking accounts, and approximately $6.69 trillion in client assets. Through its operating subsidiaries, the company provides a full range of wealth management, securities brokerage, banking, asset management, custody, and financial advisory services to individual investors and independent investment advisors. Its broker-dealer subsidiaries, Charles Schwab & Co., Inc., TD Ameritrade, Inc., and TD Ameritrade Clearing, Inc., (members SIPC, https://www.sipc.org), and their affiliates offer a complete range of investment services and products including an extensive selection of mutual funds; financial planning and investment advice; retirement plan and equity compensation plan services; referrals to independent, fee-based investment advisors; and custodial, operational and trading support for independent, fee-based investment advisors through Schwab Advisor Services. Its primary banking subsidiary, Charles Schwab Bank, SSB (member FDIC and an Equal Housing Lender), provides banking and lending services and products. More information is available at https://www.aboutschwab.com.
TD Ameritrade, Inc. and TD Ameritrade Clearing, Inc. are separate but affiliated companies and subsidiaries of TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation. TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation is a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Charles Schwab Corporation. TD Ameritrade is a trademark jointly owned by TD Ameritrade IP Company, Inc. and The Toronto-Dominion Bank.
THE CHARLES SCHWAB CORPORATION
In addition to disclosing financial results in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles in the U.S. (GAAP), Schwab’s fourth quarter earnings release contains references to the non-GAAP financial measures described below. We believe these non-GAAP financial measures provide useful supplemental information about the financial performance of the Company, and facilitate meaningful comparison of Schwab’s results in the current period to both historic and future results. These non-GAAP measures should not be considered a substitute for, or superior to, financial measures calculated in accordance with GAAP, and may not be comparable to non-GAAP financial measures presented by other companies.
Schwab’s use of non-GAAP measures is reflective of certain adjustments made to GAAP financial measures as described below.
The tables below present reconciliations of GAAP measures to non-GAAP measures and include the results of operations for TD Ameritrade beginning October 6, 2020.