Last month, Fool contributor and former Charles Schwab
During Pottruck's tenure, Schwab was caught in the middle of the brokerage industry, unable to compete on a pricing basis at the low end with online trading firms such as Ameritrade
Though Schwab has scaled back the work force, cut costs, reduced commissions, and slowly transitioned into more of a full-service brokerage firm -- moves that I believe will eventually get the firm back on track -- the restructuring has yet to turn the tide or salvage Pottruck's fortunes.
Aside from the management reshuffling, Schwab also released disappointing second-quarter results this morning. Skittish investors caused daily average revenue trades to fall 20% lower, resulting in a 10% drop in net income to $113 million, or a penny shy of $0.09 estimates. However, in a testament to Pottruck's efforts to diversify revenues away from market-dependent trading revenues, asset management fees and other non-trading sources of income reached record highs. Furthermore, at the midway point of the year, Schwab is well ahead of last year's pace: Earnings of $274 million ($0.20) are 39% higher than the $197 million earned at this time last year, on a 20% rise in revenues to $2.3 billion.
Pottruck has made a few costly mistakes, such as failing to properly integrate U.S. Trust and needlessly overpaying for Soundview Technology (which Schwab is already looking to unload at a loss after only eight months), but probably deserved better after a 20-year career at the company. However, the harsh reality is that management is just as result-driven as in football, and as the coach of a losing team, all blame has fallen squarely on his shoulders. Charles Schwab the man has a unique opportunity to resurrect Charles Schwab the company, something that can't happen soon enough for shareholders, clients, and employees alike.
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Fool contributor Nathan Slaughter owns none of the companies mentioned.