Recent moves by Charles Schwab highlight the trends at work in the retail financial industry.  Schwab earlier agreed to buy options-focused broker OptionsXpress.  Now Schwab is allowing customers to trade foreign equities.  Both of these areas are newly popular areas for individual investors.  On the other hand Schwab is making a big push into exchange traded funds with an emphasis on broadly diversified, low costs funds.  If anything Schwab is a late mover in these areas, but their entrance into these new areas highlights the changes in the industry.  In today’s screencast a look at Schwab and the changes in the retail brokerage industry.

Items mentioned in the above screencast:

Schwab to launch retail trading of foreign equities for its customers.  (WSJ)

Schwab to buy OptionsXpress.  (Dealbook)

Charles Schwab ($SCHW) looks to have the cheapest aggregate bond ETF.  (IndexUniverse)

Schwab has been the definition of a market performer.  (YCharts)

Daily price chart of Charles Schwab ($SCHW).  (Finviz)

Note:  the screencast relied on an erroneous story saying Schwab was going to allow forex trading, instead the company is allowing customers to trade foreign equities.  The theme of the screencast still holds.  Sorry for any confusion.