* August trading volumes down 31 pct year-over-year
* Client assets rise, in line with gains in S&P 500
NEW YORK, Sept 17 Charles Schwab Corp
said on Monday its trading volumes fell 31 percent in August
from a year earlier, highlighting the difficult environment for
brokerage firms due to disengaged retail investors and low
volatility in the markets.
Schwab, one of the largest U.S. brokerages, said its clients
made an average of 375,900 trades a day in August, down 31
percent from August 2011 and down 5 percent from July.
The trading levels were 8 percent below the forecast of JMP
Securities analyst David Trone and around 5.5 percent below the
estimate of Macquarie Securities analyst Ed Ditmire.
Schwab, which had 8.7 million active brokerage accounts at
the end of August, said its total client assets rose to a record
$1.86 trillion. That was up 12 percent from a year earlier and
up 2 percent from July, in line with the rise in the S&P 500 in
The San Francisco-based firm said net new assets in August
totaled $6.9 billion.
While the markets edged higher in August, trading levels at
equities exchanges hit multi-year lows as concerns about the
health of the economic recovery kept retail investors largely on
Online brokers TD Ameritrade Holding Corp and
E*Trade Financial Corp both said last Tuesday their
trading volumes were down 37 percent from a year earlier.
In August a year ago, volatility spiked on concerns over
Europe's debt crisis and the downgrading of the U.S. credit
rating, leading to a big increase in trading as investors tried
to keep up with wild market swings.
Trading represents about 20 percent of annual revenue at
Schwab, 40 percent at TD Ameritrade, and nearly 30 percent at