Schwab puts focus on communication, training

About Charles Schwab

Founded: 1973

What it does: Investment management

Austin employees: 1,165

Austin locations: 3

Charles Schwab Corp. is an investment industry giant — and it’s also one of Austin’s technology growth stories.

The San Francisco-based company already has 1,300 employees in Austin and plans to add at least another 500 here over the next decade.

Like most big investment companies. Schwab continues to invest heavily in technology. The biggest part of its Austin workforce — about 500 people — is tied to technology, including software development and computer operations. Others are involved in retirement plan administration, marketing, legal and other jobs.

The company and its workers pride themselves on an innovative culture that promotes career growth and team building and an intense focus the customer.

Schwab employees, who like to call themselves “Schwabbies,” praise the company’s culture of open communication, mentorship and top training programs that promote career development.

Schwab ranked third among large employers in the 2015 American-Statesman survey of Top Workplaces.

Sandy Paturi, a team manager involved in administering corporate retirement programs, has enrolled in a management training program and believes she is acquiring the tools she needs to create a lasting career at the company.

“This is where I want to retire,” said Paturi, 36. “I am a Schwabbie for life.”

She was sold on the company when she interviewed there four and a half years ago. “It was amazing,” she said. “Everyone was very happy. The managers I walked with were very interactive with each other and friendly.”

She still sees it that way.

“Management cares about employees,” she said. “Ideas are always welcome. Everyone is approachable. They actually care about employees’ opinions. New training programs and new products come out of our ideas. It is very empowering.”

David Abendschein, an information technology team leader, says his group has become a key part of a corporate effort to get the IT organization more closely integrated with Schwab’s various business groups.

In some places where he has worked, Abendschein has seen the IT organization separated — techies call it “siloed”— away from the rest of the business.

Schwab is pushing its IT organization and its business organizations to work more closely to enable the company to introduce new computerized products and services to clients.

In a lot of companies, the IT response to unexpected problems is to point the finger of blame elsewhere.

Not at Schwab. “Everyone says we will step up and we will figure out the root cause and tackle it as a team and take care of it,” Abendschein said. “It is a true team environment.”

The IT team is having input into planning and shaping the look of Schwab’s new Austin campus being built in North Austin.

The new campus will have a more informal look with more collaborative places where employees can talk over ideas while sitting on couches and bean bag chairs.

“It is recreating the environment from the cubical sit down to the startup space look,” he said. Schwab will move its Austin operations to the new campus over the next two years.

Lawyer K.C. Waldron is part of a legal team that supports Schwab’s investment adviser services.

Frequently her job involves researching applicable laws and regulations to see how they apply to investors with complex holdings and complex investment strategies.

“I love being able to work with smart people and solve hard problems,” she said. “I love that the company is risk-adverse and makes conservative decisions.

She gets to interact with clients and other Schwab staffers from around the country.

“The culture here is incredibly collaborative,” she said. “It is one of the nicest places to work. You sort of pinch yourself sometimes.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Business

These three websites will scare you silly for Halloween
These three websites will scare you silly for Halloween

You could go see a scary movie or terrify yourself by simply viewing the day’s headlines, but why not enjoy some more old-fashioned creepy vibes from the nearest web browser? Here are three sites you may have missed that will get you in the Halloween mood: Creepypasta ( An excellent repository of more than 10,000 memes, short...
Business week in review: HQ2 bid; home sales dip; Aldi’s coming
Business week in review: HQ2 bid; home sales dip; Aldi’s coming

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT Austin submits HQ2 bid: For the past month, hundreds of cities have scrambled to prepare proposals to win Amazon’s second company headquarters after the online retailer announced plans for the $5 billion project. Austin, considered a contender by industry analysts, has been among those preparing bids. Now, Austin enters the...
Virtual house calls rise as doctors embrace new Texas telemedicine law
Virtual house calls rise as doctors embrace new Texas telemedicine law

Doctors in Austin and statewide are gearing up to make house calls again — at least digitally. The field known as telemedicine — in which patients can use their computers or smartphones to see doctors via videoconferencing without leaving their homes — is poised to take off in Texas, fueled by recent changes to state law that lifted...
Tight labor market heightens premium on startups, education, exports
Tight labor market heightens premium on startups, education, exports

Austin’s rapid business and population growth have started to stretch its capacity, snarling highways, slowing job growth and making the region less affordable for many of its residents. Yet, the metro area’s ability to sustain its entrepreneurial spark has allowed employers to continue adding jobs, and the region’s potential for...
Plan would demolish Arbor cinema, Manuel’s to build apartments, shops
Plan would demolish Arbor cinema, Manuel’s to build apartments, shops

The Great Hills Market shopping center in Austin’s Arboretum area is slated to be redeveloped over time into a mixed-use project that would replace a popular arthouse theater and Manuel’s Mexican restaurant. The project is proposed for 17.2 acres bounded by U.S. 183, Great Hills Trail and Jollyville Road, site of Great Hills Market. Manuel&rsquo...
More Stories