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Citing 100% increase in net new assets, Charles Schwab Corp. will give staff 5% 'special' pay raise that leaves one HR analyst doing a double-take

As talent wars rage in call center meccas like Dallas and business booms, the Westlake, Texas firm commits to a leap in overhead

Author Brooke Southall August 20, 2021 at 12:01 AM
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Walt Bettinger: 'This increase is a way to reward our talented employees for their contributions and their relentless commitment.

Walter Bettinger

Joe Carberry

Joe Carberry

August 20, 2021 — 5:03 PM
Brooke, we often ignore what you say in the belief that intelligent people will see your blog posts for what they are. But this one rises to such a level of silliness that I cannot help but comment. It is unfortunate to see you try to take a genuinely positive gesture and stretch to find a way to inject cynicism into it. I’m not sure why the lone quoted source in your story feels like the entire company didn’t work hard to warrant this recognition, or why she believes she is even in a place to opine on that. But let me be clear: the amazing people of this firm have moved mountains in support of clients and colleagues. And we are proud to reward people from across the entire firm with a meaningful pay raise to recognize what they accomplished together. The past 19 months have been hard on everyone, and this was a way to say thank you to people who deserve it. It takes a special kind of cynic to believe that is worthy of derision. As for the press release, Schwab is a public company with multiple stakeholders, including clients and stockholders as well as employees and our local communities. When we take a noteworthy step like this, to invest in our people, we may choose to share that news so that all our stakeholders are aware. That is a fairly common practice. It is up to you if you choose to use uninformed opinions in your blog. But your story also includes factual inaccuracies, such as our firm actually having 32,500 employees versus the 21,000 you cite. Perhaps next time, you may want to slow your rush to criticize and check publicly available information so you can get the basic facts right.
Brooke Southall

Brooke Southall

August 20, 2021 — 6:46 PM
Joe, It's our job to question everything as journalists or even as writers of a "blog" as you prefer to call us. Yes, at face value it is a great gesture to give an entire workforce of 32,000-plus a 5% raise out of the blue and put out a release about. It's also not a move that I am sure I have seen in my 20-plus years of writing about big companies in our industry and so it was important to ask why. I called a source whose job it is to advise RIAs on these kinds of compensation issues to assess why it happens infrequently and whether it's wise in this instance as a bsuiness matter. [We're a trade publication.] Her opinion was that she would have handled the matter differently based upon her experience. Her overarching message was that she'd pay greater attention to individual merit rather than look at it on a workforce level. (Some people worked valiantly on behalf of Schwab in battle conditions the past 18 months but others were just hired last week.) She also had a message that she'd keep the raises a confidential matter between employer and employee. I believe those are both relatively conventional philosophies in modern corporate America and that it doesn't take a "special kind of cynic" or "silliness' to introduce them. It just takes a journalist asking the most conventional questions in my opinion -- and a person who advises on these matters day-to-day to answer. You are right as a Schwab spokesman to chastise me for getting the staff number wrong and I apologize. I published a correction. Brooke
Schwabbie’s Response

Schwabbie’s Response

August 21, 2021 — 4:45 PM
First, Kelli Cruz has not been working at Schwab since March 2010, a lot has changed since then. Second, she stated “Not everybody made the same extraordinary effort. That's why I don't like it,” how can she know that if she hasn’t work at Schwab for quite some time? Third, your evidence on covering this event is connected by thin research with no mention of reaching out to Schwab for further comment on this event (a standard practice for a journalist with integrity to be objective). Fourth, Schwab’s culture runs on the spirit of collaboration to champion every clients’ goals with passion and integrity; and that energy is alive and well.

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