In an interview on Wednesday (January 19), Walter W. Bettinger II, the CEO of Charles Schwab Corporation (NYSE: SCHW) — which is “the largest publicly traded investment services firm in the United States”) — shared his thoughts on crypto.
Bettinger has been CEO of Schwab since late 2008 and he was President from 2007 to 2021. Furthermore, Bettinger “serves on the Board of Directors of The Charles Schwab Corporation, Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. and the Charles Schwab Bank, as well as Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Schwab managed mutual funds and exchange traded funds.”
He “leads a workforce of approximately 33,400 employees, with headquarters in Westlake, Texas and branch offices in more than 420 locations across the United States plus London, Hong Kong, Singapore and Puerto Rico.”
Schwab is the largest publicly traded investment services firm in the U.S., as well as one of the world’s largest financial services firms (with roughly $8.14 trillion in client assets)
According to a Bloomberg report published on January 19, here is what the Schwab CEO had to say when asked about the possibility of Schwab getting into crypto:
“Crypto is hard to ignore, right? It’s fairly significant today. We have a lot of ways that clients today can invest in crypto. What we don’t offer is direct trading.
“We would welcome the chance, if the opportunity presents itself from a regulatory standpoint. There’s a tremendous void in that space today for a firm like Schwab. The transaction costs in crypto trading are exceptionally high, the spreads are exceptionally high.“
Bettinger was also asked by Bloomberg what changes to the financial services industry we should expect to see in 2022.
“We’re just dealing with overall trends that the pandemic probably accelerated. The willingness of clients to engage in multiple ways, as opposed to simply in person, is something the pandemic has pushed along. Client expectations are being formed by their experiences outside of financial services. They’re comparing financial-services firms to Amazon or Uber, and they’re looking for those types of experiences.“
The Charles Schwab CEO’s comments about crypto echo what he said about this subject back in November 2021 at the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association’s (SIFMA) annual conference:
“It’s become large enough and consumer awareness is high enough that you can’t ignore it… from a corporate standpoint, we don’t really take a viewpoint on whether it’s right for investors …. Personally, I really have no opinion on Bitcoin as an investment any more than I do artwork or the explosion in values of baseball cards of late…
“… when you look at it from a regulatory standpoint, it seems pretty clear that there’s a certain group of organizations that are not headed toward direct trading at this point and, generally speaking, they’re under a common regulator with the Federal Reserve…“
The views and opinions expressed by the author, or any people mentioned in this article, are for informational purposes only, and they do not constitute financial, investment, or other advice. Investing in or trading cryptoassets comes with a risk of financial loss.