Charles Schwab, Inc.: Creating an International Marketspace
In 1996, Charles Schwab, Inc. (Schwab) pioneered online trading and experienced phenomenal growth by creating a whole new market for its products and services. In doing so, it significantly altered its business model. The ease with which information could be obtained over the Web meant that investors could bypass the traditional brokers (dis-intermediation) and trade on their own at a much cheaper price. This lured not only many new traders to the market but also many new competitors. Price wars followed, which shrunk margins. In order to retain its dominant position and continue growing, Schwab had to find other ways of expanding the market base. The case specifically focuses on how Schwab successfully created a new market of customers by pioneering the establishment of Web-based trading and how this, in turn, has led to new challenges and opportunities.