Fidelity CEO Abby Johnson tells 45,000 staff to stay home, if possible; Schwab CEO Walt Bettinger says it's neither practical nor technologically feasible for most of his 19,000 staff to telecommute

March 16, 2020 — 4:09 PM by By Lisa Shidler

Brooke's Note: We are all lost in a crisis of this unusual stripe and magnitude. Expect, therefore, different people -- even different CEOs -- to make radically diverging choices. The news hook of this story is Walt Bettinger, for now, is making his employees work -- at work. It might seem brazen but his choices are stark. Schwab's ability to provide its signature service levels with telecommuters is severely hampered. Cutting back on service seems pretty out of the question when the stock market is having one of its worst days in years. Many people (like me) would rather die than sit on hold for three hours to talk to their broker. And there is a non-bunk school of thought that questions total withdrawal and economic shutdown. But COVID-19 can kill and having people working together in big call centers -- or interacting in branches -- carries dangers. Danger is everywhere. TD Ameritrade has expanded its work-from-home program with some caveats. Pershing and Fidelity are urging most of their staff to work from home.  Technology is apparently a big issue here. Employees at financial firms do most work on computers and phones -- both of which they have at home. Bettinger suggests in his memo to employees that Schwab does not yet have the technology to securely bridge that last mile. That makes Schwab's choices even starker.


Fierce rivals Walter Bettinger and Abby Johnson are -- for now -- taking radically different approaches to how they manage the social distancing of staff members as cases of coronavirus rise in the United States. 

The respective CEOs of The Charles Schwab Corp. and Fidelity Investments made their moves at the end of last week. Bettinger opted to make most of his 19,000 staff work out of Schwab offices. Johnson told 45,000 employees to work from home if possible. 

Pershing is encouraging some staff work from home and it is doing a "deep cleaning" of an office where one employee contracted COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus.  Employees who work on that floor at the Pershing Plaza office in Jersey City have been told to work from home until March 23.

Abby Johnson is telling most employees to work from home.

“We are conducting a deep cleaning of the impacted floor as well as all high-touch surfaces in the building," the company said in a statement. 

Todd Gibbons, CEO of BNY Mellon, the parent company of Pershing LLC, sent out a message last week urging employees to work from home when possible. 

“…the executive committee and I agreed to advance that agenda and push toward having the majority of our global staff work remotely. In fact, our goal, which we intend to ramp up very quickly is to have only employees who are deemed “essential in-office” personnel onsite.” 

Schwab spokesman Rob Farmer has not replied to four emails seeking comment. But sources passed on a companywide email to RIABiz that was written by Bettinger to employees.

So far, Fidelity has not provided Johnson's email, but other publications reported that she wrote Fidelity wanted to do its part to fight the virus. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends establishing "policies and practices, such as flexible worksites (e.g., telecommuting) and flexible work hours (e.g., staggered shifts), to increase the physical distance among employees." See: The CDC Has Less Power Than You Think, and Likes it That Way

"For employees who are able to telework, supervisors should encourage employees to telework instead of coming into the workplace until symptoms are completely resolved. Ensure that you have the information technology and infrastructure needed to support multiple employees who may be able to work from home," it states. 

Walking a tightrope

In his email, Bettinger said his hands are tied. Schwab technology doesn't permit staffers to work from home without "significant" drop-offs in service levels.

“The reality is we do not have the ability to send everyone home due to both technical and practical capabilities without creating the potential for significant interruptions in our ability to be there for our clients,” he said in the company-wide email.  

Schwab is closing off areas and doing 'enhanced cleaning' when employees are suspected of COVID-19 infections.

In a twist, COVID-19 may actually compel some Schwab telecommuters to begin working at the office, Bettinger writes in the email. It's trading around $31 today -- despite tremendously positive recent results.

"Not surprisingly, our clients have turned to us for help in this environment and we’ve been there to support them," says Peter Crawford, chief financial officer of Schwab in a March 13 statement posted on Schwab's website. "The $45.3 billion in core net new assets brought to Schwab during the first two months of 2020 represents the strongest start to any year in our history."

In a twist, COVID-19 may actually compel some Schwab telecommuters to begin working at the office, Bettinger writes in the email.

“Because of our business needs, the potential need for other colleagues to work from home, and our remote access capacity, some employees who currently telecommute, may be required to work on-site as we manage our remote access capacity.” 

A Schwab staffer says colleagues are concerned whether leadership is making the right call under such an unusual threat.

"This could be a real nightmare for them if employees start contracting COVID because they don’t like people working from home. We’re in unprecedented times and shouldn’t be operating under the same policy as we would in any normal circumstance."

Bettinger admits that he is walking a tightrope between staff safety and client service levels.

“First we must maintain a safe and healthy work environment for you. Second, and at the same time, we must be there for our clients, who are also trying to navigate these very challenging times and who now need us more than ever.”


Schwab serves 12.5 million active brokerage accounts, 1.7 million corporate retirement plan participants, 1.4 million banking accounts, and $3.86 trillion in client assets as of February 29, 2020. 

One Schwab staffer, who asked to remain anonymous because they weren't authorized to speak publicly, says Bettinger's decision may be driven less by technology concerns, including data security and privacy, than business concerns -- based on the reactions of some of its largest competitors.

"They [Schwab] don’t have the resiliency systems built as well as BNY Mellon or Fidelity," the staffer writes by email.

"It’s ridiculous because people can work via their phones on email without dialing into the VPN (virtual private network) and that’s what BNY and Fidelity told their employees to do." 

In Bettinger's email, he did not discuss reducing travel. 

“Some of our jobs simply cannot be done from home. And there are technical limitations on the remote access infrastructure that we cannot change over-night.”  

Default culture

Bettinger is doing his very best under trying circumstances, says Joel Bruckenstein, founder of the T3 conference. “I think every conscious firm, and I count Schwab among them, is trying to do the right thing. I feel certain that they have consulted experts to assess risk and are following their advice.”

The Schwab staffer has doubts about whether Schwab is following expert advice or simply defaulting to its historical instincts.

"It's also a cultural thing here. Schwab hates people working from home. Always has." 

In an email forwarded to RIABiz, the company states that it is willing to make adjustments going forward. “As we go forward, we will continue to face potential exposure risk in our facilities and we will continue to adjust our responses as we learn more about the virus.” 

There’s no question that, given the number of employees at Schwab and all of the financial firms, staffers will certainly contract the virus, Bruckenstein says. 

“That in and of itself is no cause for alarm. Ditto for the other major firms. I am not an expert on infectious diseases. However, if everyone is taking precautions and following the advice of experts, I am not going to second guess Schwab," Bruckenstein adds.

In the email, Bettinger said, he pointed out the firm isn’t able to let staffers work from home but is trying to make changes but it’s not easy. 

“Teams are working hard as they can right now to expand our capacity. However, we need to be thoughtful about how and where our employees do their work. In that light, we are asking everyone to be flexible on behalf of our colleagues and our clients” 

But Schwab leaves the door open a crack for sticking to the home office.

“If you are seeking a new telecommuting agreement, please discuss the need with your manager," he wrote in the email.

Virus hotbeds

Fidelity's Johnson sent an email Thursday telling the company's 45,000 employees worldwide that those who could work from home should do so. She also put restrictions on business travel.

She told staffers that she wanted her firm to do its part to slow the virus. 

TD ameritrade message
TD Ameritrade sent this notice to customers Monday.

A Fidelity spokesperson was asked if the company had any suspected cases and has yet to respond. Boston is a hot-spot right now for the virus.

As of Mar. 15, at least 29 confirmed and presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 have been reported among Boston residents, according to the city's municipal website.  

New York State and specifically New York City, an international financial center, has confirmed 100 additional coronavirus cases statewide, bringing the total to 524 new cases in nine counties, according to the governor's office.  New York City has 213 cases. Of those 59 are new. 

In San Francisco, home to Schwab Corp., nine new coronavirus cases were reported on Sunday, bringing the total to 37 confirmed cases, according to the city's health department and station KRON

At least 1,872 people in 47 states have tested positive for coronavirus, according to The New York Times. At least 41 people nationwide have died.

Morgan Stanley, headquartered in New York City, Wells Fargo, headquartered in San Francisco and RBC, headquartered in Toronto, have all reported cases among employees. 

JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) has asked all managers globally to allow employees who can effectively work from home to begin doing so to help with social distancing as the coronavirus pandemic spreads, according to a memo seen by Reuters.

“Effective immediately, we are asking all managers globally to allow employees to work from home to the extent feasible,” the memo said.

Financial pressure

Tellingly, Bettinger acknowledges in his email that Schwab is going through "record levels of client interaction right now," causing delays in customer service. 

"We recognize that means at times we may not be able to pick up your phone call as quickly as usual. Please know our dedicated client teams are working incredibly hard to be available to you, as quickly as possible. We appreciate your patience if you do experience longer-than-usual wait times," it states.

In an email to clients, Johnson revealed that some offices may not be open. She said, right now centers are opened with enhanced cleaning routines, but urged investors to consider phone appointments and cautioned that offices may need to close.

"As we continue to monitor the situation, we may temporarily transition all client service to digital channels and phone," the email said. 

Fidelity, Schwab and TD Ameritrade are operating in a challenging financial environment due to the pressures created by zero-commission business models. Schwab and TD have the added burden of their merger, including convincing the Department of Justice (DoJ) the new company won't be anti-competitive. 

Fidelity, which is privately owned, has also escaped the punishing stock market. But Schwab and TD haven't been so lucky. TD (AMTD) which traded as high as $56 in the past year, has lost roughly half its market value. It's currently down 17% in today's trading to around $28. 

TD Ameritrade will cut back on customer contacts as of March 19, it reported on Monday afternoon.

Schwab (SCHW) has seen a similar drop from its 52-week high of  $51.65; it's trading around $31 today -- despite tremendously positive recent results.

"Not surprisingly, our clients have turned to us for help in this environment and we’ve been there to support them," says Peter Crawford, chief financial officer of Schwab in a March 13 statement posted on Schwab's website. "The $45.3 billion in core net new assets brought to Schwab during the first two months of 2020 represents the strongest start to any year in our history."

No people referenced

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Share your thoughts and opinions with the author or other readers.


Jesse Livermore said:

March 16, 2020 — 6:51 PM

Having lived thru the Spanish Influenza of 1918 when there were no options other than to be "at work" I consider myself lucky. Given the technology available today to enable an effective mobile workforce I can only describe Schwab's call as grossly irresponsible and shows either a lack of trust and care for its employees OR colossally misguided in thinking that keeping a workplace norm is somehow going to make things better. We're supposed to be practicing social distancing. Instead CS is clustering people in a closed environment surely to recycle diseased air no matter how clean the facility is. JLL

Concerned Schwab employee said:

March 17, 2020 — 1:54 AM

Although, all companies are in a difficult spot right now, Schwab is suffering more due to a culture of cost cutting that has been championed by Mr. Bettinger. You can only cut so much and the business begins to suffer. The events that we are in the midst of right now are making that very clear. Schwab has gotten away with under-staffing, not updating and investing in technology, and having very little trust in their employees(that’s a big reason why their isn’t as much telecommuting.) They got away with this in a long market up just like the stock market, those who take on too much risk get stung when the trend turns. Mr. Bettinger’s past decisions just got him stung, big time.

Stunned said:

March 17, 2020 — 5:38 AM

So he is asking for lawsuits?

Nick Vandalay said:

March 17, 2020 — 1:50 PM

He should s!!!can his CTO and CIO for their inability to properly perform their job functions to ready their company

Another Schwab Worker said:

March 17, 2020 — 3:00 PM

Worked at Schwab for years and the execs shunning remote work - even for the staff that is non client facing is the stuff of legend. The company is run by dinosaurs resistant to change. The truth is we should all be working remote if we don’t have a job that requires contact with customers in order to protect the call center staff. Problem is, once they know WE KNOW these jobs can be done remotely they lose the control to give us BS reasons about why it can’t be done. Once the toothpaste is out of the tube, they won’t be able to put it back in. So they’re the orchestra on the titanic...stubbornly playing us out while the ship sinks with 20,000 employees aboard. Seeing other companies step up the way they have takes seat so much of the pride and respect I had for this organization.

Glen Mathison said:

March 17, 2020 — 4:20 PM

Once again, this post is full of inaccuracies. As effectively every other financial services company is doing, Schwab is balancing having some employees work from home and others come into the office. But rather than spending time debating our approach in a blog, we are focused on serving our clients and employees during these unprecedented times. Glen Mathison Charles Schwab Corp.

Observer said:

March 17, 2020 — 7:18 PM

We have had coworkers recently travel to Italy, Seattle, cruises, and other locations. When concerns were raised to managers about their travel and limiting exposure to them upon return we were told there was nothing that could be done and they don’t pose a risk to us. Some employees are able to work from home, driving resentment from others. The office has become an uncomfortable place to be during this crisis with little being communicated. While some groups like Greg’s are able to work from home, many are woefully underprepared, not having laptops or accesses established.

Disappointed in Schwab said:

March 17, 2020 — 8:40 PM

Glen Mathison is talking through his backside. He claims the post is full of inaccuracies but never points out a single piece of information that is incorrect. Most of the post is facts and quotes that are easily verifiable. If you want to talk about inaccuracies consider Glen's claim that Schwab is focused on serving it's employees. If that were true then why is it that the Schwab internal network can only handle a fraction of the total workforce being remote while other firms have no such issues? Why is it that Schwab locations with known outbreaks are expecting employees in non client facing roles to come in with little protection beyond an enhanced cleaning whatever that means? Why is it that the CEO tries to deflect responsibility by saying their hands are tied when as the head of the company they're the one with the rope? Does that sound like a company that is focused on serving it's employees? Concerned Schwab employee said it best. Bettinger and his cronies have been understaffing and underfunding their technology side for years and now it's coming back to bite them.

Concerned in Denver said:

March 17, 2020 — 8:41 PM

Shame on Bettinger! Many departments can be remote so do so before you face a law suit!

SchwabStaffer said:

March 18, 2020 — 1:16 AM

Morale is dropping here with the lack of action and inconsistency at Schwab. Many back office folks like myself who have laptops, remote access and no interaction with clients are being forced to risk our lives to come into the office while folks in adjacent departments on our floor are being allowed to work remotely. This is crazy and breeding lots of bitterness and declining morale. We all have contacts at other firms, some smaller and some larger, and their leadership values them enough to say work at home until further notice. We are being told the network capacity at Schwab is lesser than at Fidelity and other Firms but the suits aren't seeming to have urgency around fixing that nor do we really have proof this is true. Feels like they don't care about out health and would rather send a bunch of emails crying about alleged network limitations. Bad look for Glen to find the time to comment here while he knows full well the remote work thing hasn't been rolled out evenly or properly to mitigate our risk. Even Glassdoor reviews will tell you the story of how Schwab feels about remote work. Don't come here and lie Bro.

So Disappointed said:

March 18, 2020 — 1:48 AM

The most utterly amazing thing about this article is that he probably did the whole interview from the comfy confines of his multi-million dollar home. Probably paid for with last year's bonus, even though employees were laid off. Furthermore, wonder what the Fed cutting rates to 0 will do? More layoffs? Good ol' corporate greed. I worked at a big bank during the bailouts. Typical. I can't think of a financial sector CEO that wouldn't sacrifice a live animal, behind closed doors of course, if it meant a couple more bps on earnings. But they're all saints when the camera is on. I also seem to remember a statement about the employees being there for the people who are most important, perhaps it was on another feed. I'm not speaking for anyone else, but my "most important people" are my family. Can't be there for them if you're sick from being stuck in the office.

SchwabTech said:

March 18, 2020 — 2:40 AM

This is what happens when the shot callers at Schwab refuse to modernize the company and accept remote work as a good thing. Employees couldn't all work from home if they wanted to because the company spent so little on the VPN that it can't come close to handling the full load. Earlier this week employees were asked to sign in after hours to see how much the VPN could take. With 25% of the workforce signed in the VPN was struggling. At less than 50% of the workforce signed in it was failing drastically. If Schwab can't get a simple VPN right good luck trusting their systems to handle your money.

Schwab is SO behind said:

March 18, 2020 — 12:31 PM

It's all true: their systems can't handle the work from home traffic and it is business as usual. Employees are scared and do not feel valued by their employer. In San Francisco, they are using the bank excuse to disobey to shelter order. All of their systems are lagging and behind and at the very beginning of this customers were even seeing ZERO BALANCES on accounts. Schwab has chronically under-invested in technology and will continue to do so because leadership thinks that just because they are making money means they are financially strong. They can't see that they are literally crumbling from the inside due to an aging tech stack and the executives don't have the technological savvy to comprehend it (or the honestly to address it).

SchwabResilient said:

March 18, 2020 — 1:00 PM

Interesting. This announcement from BCIM basically suggests that their BCPs have been bogus documents years, since most of the scenarios include remote work (via VPN) and when the activation is necessary, they can't handle that. I am curious to see the liability that would rise if someone is contaminated and later dies because of the virus.

Schwab Employee said:

March 18, 2020 — 1:39 PM

It is ridiculous that Schwab has decided to not heed various local, state, and federal recommendations during this crisis. Now we are being told to staff the branches, but to not allow the public inside. What if you live with an elderly person or another high-risk individual? How do we know if the cleaning crew, co-workers, Usps, ups, people have adhered to Sanitary practices? This is going to be a horrible decision in retrospect for Walt and I hope that it ends up costing him his job. I would encourage my peers to consider the value, or lack thereof, that Schwab places on you. Competitors have never looked so attractive. No wonder we are known as the Walmart of investing firms.

I Work At Schwab said:

March 18, 2020 — 2:16 PM

Look, I work at Schwab in a non-client facing role and I’m also in the high-risk category of catching the Coronavirus. A lot of employees, including myself, are incredibly upset about Charles Schwab’s reaction to this situation. They rather us risk our lives because they don’t have the “technological infrastructure” to have their employees work from home. It’s absurd! And while we’re on the topic of absurdity, why are we so focused on multi-billion dollar acquisitions when we don’t even have the Human Resources or the technology to support them? Schwab leadership has really shown their true colors as of late. They’re more focused on preserving their precious brand than the livelihoods of their employees. This is a serious and a potentially deadly situation they’re putting us in and they better not be surprised if there are lawsuits thrown their way!

JayBro said:

March 18, 2020 — 2:28 PM

As someone who works remote for Schwab that email hit like a ton of bricks. "Hey our loyal employees who are safe and isolated from exposure to this dangerous pandemic working in the privacy of your homes, we might force you to come into the office because our sh*try network isn't up to par! May the odds be ever in your favor!" What company that "cares" for it's employees would issue what basically amounts to a THREAT without first trying to move heaven and Earth to address their freaking tech issues? This is asinine and they should be ASHAMED of their handling of this.

Concerned Schwab employee said:

March 18, 2020 — 3:35 PM

This is unbelievably irresponsible. Just goes to show that schwab does not care about the well being of their employees and only cares about share price. Let these people work from home already.

Schwab Employee #1230953124750... said:

March 18, 2020 — 3:56 PM

After 2019 being a record-breaking profit year in a difficult interest rate environment and still having lay-offs and corporate bonus funding at less than 100%, are we really surprised that Walt and his C-suite are failing to care for us, the employees that fund his $16M comp package? "Through the client's eyes" has become a substantive excuse for anything that demands more from the workforce despite no recognition or compensation for the front lines driving these results. Walt doesn't even bother to send real email updates in this crisis, let alone host an all-hands meeting or even publish a "Schweb" video addressing concerns as a demonstration of solidarity. The corporate leadership has no loyalty to the employees whatsoever, only to the shareholders using the clients as props, though to observant folks, this was apparent before the COVID-19 outbreak.

Disgraceful said:

March 18, 2020 — 4:24 PM

This question about telecommuting was first asked TWO WEEKS AGO during an all hands with the CIO. The first part of his answer was around the capacity of the system and our ability to serve our clients (a proxy for profits). Employee health was the last thing mentioned. No thought has been put into managing this via non technology ideas like alternate work schedules, prioritization for those that use public transportation etc. It's just been "no" all the way down the line. I got a Facebook ad last night, urging me to come into a Bay Area Schwab branch for a consultation. WTF ?

Concerned person said:

March 18, 2020 — 4:27 PM

Schwab is closing branches to walk in traffic (finally). Should’ve been done at least on Friday. The irony here is while they constantly make excuses about technology limitations they are installing the call center software on all branch computers almost instantaneously to have branch employees come in and take inbound calls. Somebody please make sense of that for me.

FRANC said:

March 18, 2020 — 5:06 PM


Disgraceful said:

March 18, 2020 — 5:28 PM

The telecommuting question was asked to the CIO during an all hands meeting TWO WEEKS ago. If this had been technology related to "seeing through clients eyes", ie profits, it would have been fixed immediately. Every bulletin I've seen so far has been centered around the business, not employee safety and health. No special dispensation for Bay Area employees who rely on public transportation, even when the local government has said stay home. No discussion of other alternatives like off-hours schedules for non-client facing employees. No creative leadership thinking at all, just reiterating of the archaic telecommuting rules. I even got a Schwab Facebook ad yesterday urging Bay Area customers to visit a branch for a consultation. Wtf ?

Stewart Coughlin said:

March 18, 2020 — 5:33 PM

"But rather than spending time debating our approach in a blog, we are focused on serving our clients and employees during these unprecedented times." Really Glen? How are your customers going to be served when a chunk of your employees are down with COVID-19? How does this serve your employees? It's disappointing to see such a generic defensive response from a member of the C-Suite.

Another Schwab employee said:

March 18, 2020 — 5:44 PM

3% staff cuts. 3% pay increase for Walt. Cash Incentives for new to firm clients. Hundreds of millions in stock buy backs. Acquisition of new companies, small and large. Incentive structures “reorganized”, effectively cutting pay by 4-8% for branch employees. And this was all before February. Now with this epidemic, I can’t help but echo my fellow Schwabies above, excluding those made by Vice Presidents working in our communications Division - wondering if he was given the ‘OK’ approval to make that comment... now that I think about it, it is quite ironic for Schwab leadership to leap into action and respond; usually there is a 1 to 2 to 35 year lag when it comes to reacting to events and change in technology. Class action labour lawsuits will certainly be in Schwab’s future, and I’m looking forward to being a part of it. I’ve already reached out to contacts at local news stations in Phoenix, Denver, and Indianapolis. I encourage concerned Schwab employees to do the same.

SchwabResilient said:

March 18, 2020 — 6:54 PM

I called Schwab customer service today and Was put on hold for an excessive amount of time, no different than other firms who are actually able to support WFH. This means that clearly the “Through our clients eyes” approach isn’t working this time and unfortunately it’s impacting people’s health. Very sad.

In the Trenches at Schwab said:

March 18, 2020 — 8:09 PM

Business resiliency plans need to be approved and tested before being implemented, not rolled out half-assed in the middle of a crisis. I warned directors on multiple occasions about the possible implications if they were to lose the use of a facility for whatever reason. To make things worse, Schwab's call center employees practice neighborhooding- meaning the employees rotate shifts, and share desks and equipment. They are even permitted to use each other's headsets if theirs isn't working. As others have said, Schwab has gotten away with cost-saving measures like this which were not in the best interest of its employees, and now, ultimately, not its clients.

Stephen Pushor said:

March 18, 2020 — 10:11 PM

I am retired computer programmer and I have all my assets in a Schwab wealth management program and it is very disconcerting that Schwab states they do not have adequate technology to allow home access and safety from a virus hot bed. It is also my understanding that Schwab technology offices are 95% dominated by ALL Male cheap H1B Indians who tend to be cohabitants and thus live a stewing virus environments. This is the dirty little secret that Schwab is hiding, the ELEPHANT in the room. An elephant that not only is a health hazard, but a risk to my own personal wealth managed by Schwab. Employees and indentured servant contractors who are stressed and unhappy make mistakes, software errors proliferate and company credibility goes south like the market is now. THIS IS APPALLING WHAT SCHWAB IS DOING! WHAT IS THE PROBLEM HERE? ASK THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM.

Greg Scanlon said:

March 19, 2020 — 12:10 AM

It is important that we keep the grunts in the office processing levies and garnishments that the government continues to apply to folks. If we didn’t have people to apply the levy and garnishment related restrictions it would be an incredible hardship for the government agencies during this time.

Jesse Livermore said:

March 19, 2020 — 12:32 AM

Mr. Mathison is an idiot. That aside here's a fact for Schwan's corporate leaders. In the 24 hours from March 15th to March 16th there was a jump of 90,000 new cases globally. If that is not enough to convince you to action and that human lives are more important than money then you are culpable. The fact that comments are still flying fast and furious from Schwab employees tells me you don't get it out just don't care. Send your people home. JLL

Jesse Livermore said:

March 19, 2020 — 12:35 AM

By the way dear colleagues and Schwab employees just walk out, stay home. What is Schwab going to do - fire all of you? I think not. JLL

Call Center Worker said:

March 19, 2020 — 2:40 AM

I work on the third floor... Telephone Broker... We have a community seating system meaning i use a desk that was previously occupied by the shift before me. We are told to wipe our work station down with old sanitizer wipes... Today I worked amongst 200 other people all sitting in cubicles within about a five foot proximity of the next employee. It is a disgusting tender box that is about to be exposed to fire... They are buying our silence which was evident today with a 20 % raise through then end of the month and a one time immediate 1k bonus... I’m sorry but you can’t buy my health and safety. I have a household that includes at risk individuals i don’t know what to do.

ConcernedSchwab said:

March 19, 2020 — 5:18 AM

Announcement to all Schwabbies the afternoon of 3/18: “Starting tomorrow, all employees who have the ability to work remotely may do so” There was absolutely a Tech issue and obviously keeping the heat on via online forums has worked.

Concerned Schwabbie said:

March 20, 2020 — 11:06 AM

They are begrudgingly starting to allow many of us to start working remotely after this article started making the rounds. I’ve had they ability to work remotely for years, which I have used it to assist while I was on vacation with my family or in the middle of the night when we’ve had technical issues or geopolitical events. Schwab has no issues when I used SVO access on my time, but, now that I’m fearful of my family’s safety, I am told I CAN work from home with a passive aggressive attitude from my superiors. These are people that know I have at-risk family members I help take care of. When the pandemic is over, I will find other employment. I have been at Schwab long enough to earn several sabbaticals, so I’ve poured a lot of time and energy into my job. It feels terrible to be treated like I don’t care about my job because I want to prioritize my family’s safety while working from home. I hope Walt and other folks in management realize how much they depend on their employees to overcome massive technological deficiencies. Fewer employees than last year because they wanted to give themselves bonuses while pinching pennies everywhere else. These layoffs were announced after Schwab had record earnings. My previous firm was light years ahead of Schwab, technologically, and this was 16 years ago. Some of the middle and back office systems were designed when Reagan was in office. If someone told me that we were using IBM punchcard computers on the back end, I wouldn’t even be surprised.

Screwed said:

March 24, 2020 — 2:13 AM

Those of us not being sent home now resent Schwab. Showing us that you are willing to gamble with our lives shows the depth of your character. The CEO should be at the helm of the ship until every last employer is working from the safety of their home, anything less makes you a weak unfit leader. Shame on you!

BernieM said:

March 24, 2020 — 5:28 AM

News today that two major cities in India where Schwab conducts its extensive development, production support and QA have declared a lock down. That means hundreds (maybe thousands ?) of developers and QA staff won't be able to work for at least a week, and probably much longer. Schwab does the vast majority of its technical work via the major Offshore companies. Remarkably, some "key staff" in India have been granted access to work remotely with very short notice. Contrast that with full-time US staff, many who've been with the company for decades, took weeks to get permission to work remotely. Some still don't have it. Even more remarkable is that this is being allowed to happen. For the best part of two decades, since Schwab starting Offshoring, the overriding reason for not allowing remote access was security and privacy. Now, all of that seems to have taken a back seat in the name of business continuity. It's suddenly "OK" ? I'd be very concerned if I were a Schwab customer ! One major breach and this makes the cover of the WSJ. Yet another myopic move by Schwab "leadership" putting all of its technology eggs in the offshoring basket !

Shwitshow said:

March 26, 2020 — 12:46 AM

We were told a little over a week ago we could work at home but we'd get nothing but our laptops and a headset (lucky we have that, I guess). Then, we were told we need a certain amount of people onsite. We were given one bulls..t excuse after another. Today, we were told to work from home. This has been begrudgingly. They don't trust employees to work from home and do their job (sometimes better than in the office) but they tout this trust is earned over time and lost in an instant. Well, the instant has come (actually past due). Anyone gets a class action against them, I'm in.

Lisa Shidler said:

March 26, 2020 — 1:33 AM

Hey guys, This is Lisa Shidler, and I've written a few pieces on this topic. I'd appreciate the chance to communicate with any staffers and see how things are going now for work-at-home. It seems it's still up-in-the-air. I wanted to see if most staffers are working at home. Also, is the technology coming together to work from home? What kinds of communication is happening to encourage or discourage working from home? And, is morale is bad as it seems. I can be reached at: or 219-743-6282 (text or call).

Still Screwed said:

March 26, 2020 — 10:40 AM

Still in the office and the lethargic pace at which Schwab is moving at to send us home is pathetic. They say use your sick or pto time if you want to be away from the office. So, we have the option of burning our vacation and sick time to mitigate the risk that everyone else is getting by being able to work from home. We aren't being given any incentive for working from the office and we are absorbing the cost of our daily commute while those at home aren't. Schwab hasn't offered us anything extra except a box lunch and even that has stopped. Oh and don't say the 20% pay hike because everyone is getting that. Fix this Schwab, make it right, apologize for your lack of planning, your lack of action and your lack of concern. No action means class action.

ExSchwabbie said:

March 27, 2020 — 4:56 AM

Schwab has declined since Chuck turned over the keys to Walt. I was a long time employee of the company and I will tell you the senior leadership is pathetic. The officers of the company walk around like they are above everyone. All you hear as an employee is record year and earnings. They buy two companies, layoff people and now force people to work in close proximity after the social distancing mandate was in place. Terrible company, culture and leadership (or lack thereof)

Incredulous said:

April 1, 2020 — 8:30 PM

It's interesting to me that every single post is negative. No employee was complaining when we were getting large bonuses and growing like crazy and career paths like crazy but suddenly we've got a few disgruntled people who make it sound like the whole place is just horrible and every executive is an idiot. Seriously people? They're just maybe a little bit of embellishment here, I don't know. Haha!

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