How bad is Schwab's account loss over the last year?

Includes: AMTD, ETFC, SCHW
by: David Jackson

How many online accounts do Ameritrade, E*Trade and Schwab have, and how has that number changed over the last year? Here's the answer:

Schwab: 3,886,037 online accounts; down 3.1% year over year.
Ameritrade: 3,643,000 online accounts, up 8.4% year over year (includes acquisitions).
E*Trade: 2,972,542 accounts, up 3.3% year over year.

Quick comments:

  • Ameritrade is now nearly as large as Schwab in account terms. Amazing shift in market share over the last few years.
  • The differential between Schwab's percentage account loss and E*Trade's growth is 6.4  percentage points; between Schwab and Ameritrade (which acquired accounts in the last 12 months) it's a whopping 11.5 percentage points.
  • Many thanks to Scott Patrick and Bryn Harder of Morgan Stanley for help with these numbers. Schwab no longer reports the number of purely online accounts (wonder why???), so they had to be estimated.

Full disclosure: at the time of writing I'm short SCH.