Schwab's financial and other relationships with ETFs and mutual funds
Payments to Schwab
No transaction fee (NTF) mutual funds ("NTF Funds")
Transaction fee mutual funds ("TF funds")
Load Mutual Funds
Schwab-affiliate mutual funds and ETFs
Mutual fund share classes, investment minimums, fees and expenses
Marketing and sponsorships and other compensation paid to Schwab
Retirement business education
At Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. ("Schwab"), we believe it's important for you to understand the compensation Schwab receives from mutual fund and exchange-traded fund (ETF) sponsors or their affiliated firms. This information can help you identify and evaluate any potential conflicts of interest that Schwab may have when you purchase a mutual fund or ETF through your Schwab account. This resource provides information about the financial relationships Schwab has with the mutual funds and ETFs available at Schwab, including mutual funds and ETFs managed by Schwab's affiliate, Charles Schwab Investment Management, Inc. ("CSIM").
Mutual Fund Compensation. Schwab receives fees and other remuneration from mutual fund companies or their affiliates for the recordkeeping, shareholder services, and other administrative services that Schwab provides to shareholders of such funds (shareholder services). These services include, among other things, transaction processing, settlement of trades, dividend distribution, record maintenance, and distribution of statements, confirmations, prospectuses and other regulatory shareholder documents. These fees are discussed more fully in the mutual fund compensation disclosures that follow.
ETF Compensation. Third-party ETF sponsors or their affiliates may make payments to Schwab for ETF-related opportunities such as education and events and reporting. Schwab does not receive payment to promote any particular ETF to its customers. These fees are discussed more fully in the ETF compensation disclosures that follow.
Schwab affiliated-fund and Schwab ETF Compensation. Schwab receives various forms of compensation from mutual funds and ETFs that are affiliated with Schwab (Schwab-affiliated funds): the Schwab Funds®, the Laudus™ Funds, and Schwab ETFs™. This may create a potential conflict of interest. CSIM, a subsidiary of the Charles Schwab Corporation and Schwab affiliate, serves as investment advisor to the Schwab-affiliated funds. CSIM receives compensation for serving in such capacity. CSIM and Schwab are affiliated and compensation received by CSIM may also create potential conflicts of interest. This website discusses the compensation received by CSIM and Schwab from the Schwab-affiliated funds.
In addition, Schwab compensates its financial consultants for recommending or selling mutual funds and ETFs, which could create potential conflicts of interest. If you are interested in learning more about the manner in which Schwab compensates its financial consultants for sales of mutual funds and ETFs, please review Schwab's Representatives' Compensation policy.
Mutual fund Compensation
Schwab receives various fees for the recordkeeping, shareholder services and other administrative services Schwab provides to funds that participate in Schwab’s Mutual Fund Marketplace ("MFMP"). These fees are negotiated between Schwab and fund companies and usually take the form of asset-based fees (that is, calculated as a percentage of the fund assets held by Schwab customers), although some fees are calculated based on the number of accounts to which Schwab provides services. Schwab receives different compensation from funds that choose to participate in its Schwab Mutual Fund OneSource® service —Schwab's no-load, no-transaction fee fund service—than it receives from Schwab affiliated-funds and other funds available through Schwab’s MFMP, such as funds for which investors pay Schwab a transaction fee.
The fee paid to Schwab may be paid entirely out of fund assets, but some portion of the fee may be paid by the fund's investment advisor, distributor, or other service provider. In cases where the fee is paid in full or in part by the fund, the portion paid by the fund is included in the fund's operating expense ratio (OER) and borne indirectly by fund shareholders. You should carefully consider fund OERs relative to other important investment considerations when making an investment decision.
Certain funds or fund families may pay a flat fee to compensate Schwab for activities related to Schwab’s sponsorship of the MFMP such as (i) investing in platform technology and systems necessary to maintain the MFMP; (ii) providing tools and services that allow Schwab customers or advisors acting on their behalf to make informed investing decisions; and (iii) maintaining educational resources related to mutual fund investing. This payment to Schwab can be based on any number of factors, such as the level of assets invested in the funds, purchases of the funds over the period, net flows into the funds (gross purchases less redemptions), or other qualitative factors such as Schwab and the fund’s mutual assessment of the quality of the relationship. This flat fee is paid to Schwab in addition to the asset-based fee discussed below; however, if the flat fee were converted from dollars to an annual asset-based fee, it would compare to an annual fee of 0.10% or less of the average fund assets at Schwab on which Schwab does not receive other asset-based compensation as described elsewhere in this disclosure. This flat fee is generally paid by the fund advisor or another fund affiliate out of its own resources, and not directly out of fund assets.
Schwab receives various fees for the recordkeeping, shareholder services and other administrative services that Schwab provides to funds participating in Schwab's Mutual Fund OneSource service and other NTF Funds. Fees paid to Schwab include asset-based fees (fees based on a percentage of the fund assets) and one-time set up fees.
A. Asset-Based Fees. When you purchase and redeem shares of NTF Funds, you don't pay a transaction fee (see the Charles Schwab Pricing Guide for more information on other fees that may apply). You can purchase and redeem shares of a NTF Fund without paying a transaction fee because the fund or its advisor or the fund’s service provider pays Schwab a fee based on a percentage of the fund assets held by shareholders at Schwab ("OneSource/NTF Fee") to cover the costs of providing the shareholder services to you and other Schwab customers.
The OneSource/NTF Fee may differ based on when the fund first became available at Schwab or other factors. Most NTF Funds pay Schwab's standard OneSource/NTF Fee of 0.40% per year, however, the annual fee can range up to 0.45% of the fund assets held at Schwab. At this standard rate, the fund or fund service provider pays Schwab $40 each year for each $10,000 in fund assets held by an investor for the shareholder services provided by Schwab. In some cases, Schwab applies a minimum monthly fee of $2,000 per month per NTF fund. This minimum monthly fee is applied starting with the seventh full month after the fund is made available for purchase at Schwab and only if the asset-based fee calculated for the month is less than the minimum monthly fee.
NTF Funds may pay a different asset-based fee on shares made available to retirement and other benefit plan (Plan) participants through Schwab's retirement plan services business. The annual fees paid on Plan shares generally range from 0.10% to 0.50%—but in rare cases can range up to 1.10%—of the average fund assets held at Schwab. Schwab typically passes through all or a portion of those fees to Plan recordkeepers, some of which may be affiliated with Schwab, for the shareholder and administrative services they or other service providers provide to Plan participants. These shareholder and administrative services vary depending on the type of retirement or other benefit Plan, but typically include processing of Plan purchases, redemptions and exchanges, processing of dividends and distributions, delivery of Plan account statements, delivery of fund documents, administration of Plan benefits and maintenance of Plan records.
B.One-Time Fund Set-Up Fees. In addition to the asset-based OneSource/NTF Fee, NTF Funds pay one-time "establishment fees" for the addition of the funds to Schwab's Mutual Fund Marketplace. These establishment fees help cover the start-up costs associated with setting up the mutual fund on Schwab's brokerage systems. The establishment fees vary, and in some cases may be waived, but generally do not exceed $10,000 for the first fund and $1,000 per additional fund within a fund family.
Schwab receives various fees for the recordkeeping, shareholder services and other administrative services that Schwab provides to TF Funds. Fees paid to Schwab may include low asset-based fees or per position fees; and one-time set up fees.
A. Asset-Based Fees. Most TF Funds pay Schwab a low, annual asset-based fee, typically 0.10% annually of the average fund assets held at Schwab, although the fee can range up to 0.25% annually. At this standard rate of 0.10%, the fund or fund service provider pays Schwab $10 each year for each $10,000 in fund assets held by an investor for the shareholder services provided by Schwab. Some TF Funds pay Schwab a set dollar amount per customer account in lieu of the asset-based fee, typically $20 per account, but which can range up to $25 per account annually (a "per position fee").
Keep in mind that Schwab receives these asset-based or per position fees from TF Funds (or their affiliates or service providers) in addition to any transaction fee that you pay to Schwab when you purchase or redeem fund shares. The transaction fee you pay to Schwab, together with the asset-based or per position fees received from the funds, helps compensate Schwab for the shareholder services it provides to customers who own TF Fund shares. To view Schwab's current transaction fee rates charged to investors, please refer to the Charles Schwab Pricing Guide.
B. One-Time Fund Set-Up Fees. In addition to the asset-based or per position fee, TF Funds pay one-time "establishment fees" for the addition of the funds to Schwab's Mutual Fund Marketplace. The establishment fees help cover the start-up costs associated with setting up the mutual fund on Schwab's brokerage systems. The establishment fees vary but generally do not exceed $10,000 for the first fund and $2,000 per additional fund within a fund family, but may range up to $15,000 for certain funds that require additional operational support.
Schwab no longer makes load funds shares available for purchase by Schwab customers. However, if you previously purchased a load fund through Schwab or another firm and hold those shares at Schwab, Schwab will receive compensation for services Schwab provides with respect to those fund shares. Schwab receives the following types of fees from a fund company or its affiliates on load fund shares: (1) an asset-based shareholder servicing fee payable pursuant to a Rule 12b-1 Plan; and (2) an additional fee for the sub-accounting services Schwab provides to load funds.
A. Shareholder Service Fees (Rule 12b-1 fee). Load funds may pay Schwab for shareholder services out of a fund's assets, typically pursuant to a fund's distribution and/or servicing plan (a Rule 12b-1 plan). The amount payable under a fund’s Rule 12b-1 plan is determined by each fund's board of trustees (a Board). The amount of the fee authorized by the Board under a Rule 12b-1 plan is disclosed in the fund's prospectus and varies from fund to fund and from share class to share class. The Rule 12b-1 fee is included in the fund's OER and borne indirectly by fund shareholders. You should also review a fund's prospectus for more information about that fund's Rule 12b-1 plan and fees.
B. Omnibus Processing, or Networking Fees. Schwab may also receive fees for the sub-accounting services that Schwab provides to load funds. These fees differ depending on the operating model deployed: omnibus or networked. In omnibus processing, Schwab performs record maintenance, transaction processing, dividends and other distribution processing, delivery of account statements and fund documents, among other services. For assets held in omnibus accounts, Schwab receives from load funds either an annual per account fee (typically $20 per account) or a low annual asset-based fee (typically 0.10% annually of the average fund assets held at Schwab, although the fee can range up to 0.15% annually). In the alternative, Schwab may receive a networking fee for each sub-account maintained by Schwab, most often equal to $6 annually. In a networking structure, the fund's agent (typically a transfer agent) performs most of these services, and Schwab reflects these transactions on its books and records.
ETFs listed on a US or Canadian exchange are available with $0 online commissions. The standard online $0 commission does not apply to large block transactions requiring special handling, and service charges apply for trades placed through a broker ($25) or by automated phone ($5). Exchange process and Stock Borrow fees still apply. See the Charles Schwab Pricing Guide for Individual Investors dated October 7th, 2019 for full fee and commission schedules.
Remember that even though Schwab may waive its commissions on buy and sell transactions, other fees may apply to an ETF transaction, as discussed further in the Charles Schwab Pricing Guide. Additionally, your investment in an ETF will be subject to management fees and other expenses.
Third party ETF sponsors or their affiliates may make payments to Schwab for ETF-related opportunities such as education and events and reporting. Schwab does not receive payment to promote any particular ETF to its customers.
Schwab-affiliated mutual funds
Schwab currently has two affiliated mutual fund families: the Schwab Funds® and the Laudus™ Funds. Schwab and its affiliates Charles Schwab Investment Management, Inc. ("CSIM") receive fees from these Schwab-affiliated funds for the services they provide to the funds, as further discussed below.
The aggregate fees Schwab or its affiliates receive from Schwab-affiliate funds may be greater than the remuneration Schwab receives from fund companies participating in Schwab's Mutual Fund OneSource® service and other funds available through Schwab's Mutual Fund Marketplace.
A. Investment Advisory and/or Administration Fees. Investment advisory and/or administration fees are asset-based fees paid by a fund to its investment advisor for the investment-management and related administrative functions it performs.
- Schwab Funds and Laudus Funds are advised by CSIM, a registered investment adviser and affiliate of Schwab. The advisory fee is part of the funds' operating expense ratio (OER) and is disclosed in each fund's prospectus.
- Some of the Schwab Funds have adopted a unitary management fee. CSIM receives a management fee from these Schwab Funds for the services it provides to the funds, and out of which CSIM compensates other service providers to the funds. Any portion not paid out by CSIM is retained by CSIM to cover the expense of managing the funds, or as profit.
B. Shareholder Servicing Fees. These fees are paid to financial intermediaries to compensate them for providing sub-accounting and recordkeeping services, and for responding to shareholder requests for information about their fund investments and other types of shareholder account inquiries.
- Schwab Funds and Laudus Funds participate in Schwab's Mutual Fund OneSource service. Consequently, like unaffiliated NTF funds, these funds may pay Schwab an asset-based fee for the shareholder services that Schwab provides for client assets held directly at Schwab.
- Some of the Schwab Funds have adopted a Shareholder Servicing Plan or fee pursuant to which the funds pay shareholder servicing fees ranging up to 0.25% annually to Schwab. Payments under a Shareholder Servicing Plan are made for the Schwab Money Funds, Schwab Active Equity Funds, the Schwab Active Fixed Income Funds, Schwab MarketTrack Portfolios, and Laudus MarketMasters Funds. The other Laudus Funds pay a fee ranging up to 0.10% annually for the shareholder services that Schwab provides. These fees are part of the funds' OER and can be reviewed in the funds' prospectus and/or statement of additional information.
C. Sweep Administration Fees. Schwab also receives an asset-based fee from the Schwab Sweep Money Funds for sweep administration services. This fee ranges from 0.10% to 0.15% annually. This fee is in addition to the shareholder servicing fee described above, however, the combined fee payable to Schwab will not exceed 0.30% annually. These fees are part of the funds' OER and can be reviewed in the funds' prospectus and/or statement of additional information.
Schwab's affiliate, CSIM, is also the investment adviser to the Schwab ETFs™.
A. Management Fees
CSIM receives a management fee from the Schwab ETFs for the services it provides to Schwab ETFs, and out of which CSIM compensates other service providers to the ETFs. While Schwab is not a service provider to Schwab ETFs, Schwab may benefit indirectly from the management fee received by CSIM through its affiliation.
The management fee is part of the Schwab ETFs' operating expense ratio (OER) and is disclosed in each ETF's prospectus and statement of additional information. The management fee ranges from 0.03% to 0.39% annually. To view the management fees CSIM receives for any particular Schwab ETF, please refer to the appropriate Schwab ETF prospectus.
C. Educational and Marketing Activities. CSIM makes payments to Schwab for additional services provided by Schwab, in its capacity as an affiliated financial intermediary, with regard to Schwab’s brokerage customers who are shareholders of the Schwab-affiliated funds. These payments may include services related to sales lead generation, client support, assistance with public relations, marketing and/or fund promotion activities and presentations, educational training programs, conferences, data analytics and support, and the development and support of technology platforms and/or reporting systems.
Schwab-affiliate funds have access through CSIM’s internal fund wholesalers to Schwab's financial consultants for the purpose of educating the consultants about the Schwab-affiliate funds. This access may include presentations by portfolio managers, additional training and education, and creation of sales materials for use by financial consultants in their interactions with clients.
Schwab-affiliate mutual funds also have access to Schwab clients through general marketing and advertising opportunities or client events that may not be offered to unaffiliated mutual funds, or that may be offered at no cost or a discounted price to Schwab-affiliate funds.
A. Share Classes. Some mutual fund companies offer separate retail, institutional and other share classes of the same fund. Retail funds are primarily built for and made available to individual investors, who may invest directly with the fund or through a financial intermediary like Schwab. Institutional shares generally are made available by the fund to investors such as large companies and organizations which tend to make larger investments in a fund. Institutional shares are also available to clients of registered investment advisers that custody their client’s mutual fund assets at Schwab. Schwab does not make every share class available for purchase at Schwab.
B. Fees and Expenses. Regardless of share class, fund shareholders pay the expenses associated with their particular share class indirectly. These expenses include fund management, recordkeeping, accounting and taxes, and together are often referred to as operating expenses and reflected in a fund’s prospectus in the form of an Operating Expense Ratio (“OER”). Fund operating expenses are deducted from fund assets on a daily basis, which effectively reduces returns to investors. Institutional share classes typically have lower overall fund operating expenses than retail share classes.
C. Investment Minimums. Schwab, as a broker-dealer, sets its own purchase investment minimums which may be higher or lower than the minimum a fund company sets for one or more of its share classes. Generally there are three categories of fund m inimums at Schwab*:
- OneSource® service (NTF) funds (no load (or load-waived), no transaction fee funds) = $100 investment minimum
- Transaction Fee funds = $2,500 investment minimum
- Institutional share classes where an NTF share class also is available to Schwab clients = $100,000 investment minimum
Having three categories enables Schwab to offer clients the choice of either paying or not paying a transaction fee on a mutual fund purchase. Choosing a share class of a fund that participates in Schwab’s Mutual Fund OneSource service avoids a transaction fee but, depending on the fund, can result in paying a comparatively higher OER over time. As discussed elsewhere in this website, Schwab receives compensation from funds that participate in the Mutual Fund OneSource service as well as many Transaction Fee funds that are made available to Schwab clients with a transaction fee. Schwab receives greater compensation from fund share classes participating in the Mutual Fund OneSource service than it receives from comparable investments made in Transaction Fee Funds.
Schwab’s investment minimums for clients purchasing institutional share classes may be higher than the investment minimums the fund would impose for purchases through Schwab. Where an institutional share class has a corresponding NTF share class, and Schwab imposes a $100,000 investment minimum, an investor purchasing less than $100,000 in such a fund at Schwab would need to purchase the corresponding NTF share class. This purchase would not be subject to a transaction fee; however the investment in an NTF share class would have a higher OER when compared to the institutional share class, with higher indirect costs over time.
* If you are a client of a registered investment advisor that custodies assets at Schwab, including Schwab’s affiliated advisers, Schwab’s sets the investment minimums lower (generally $1) unless the fund has requested that Schwab set a higher minimum. Ask your investment advisor if you are eligible to invest in a share class available through Schwab that carries lower expenses.
Certain mutual fund and ETF fund families pay additional fees to Schwab for the services Schwab provides related to various educational events or marketing opportunities.
These opportunities allow fund sponsors to engage directly or indirectly with Schwab investment professionals and clients. The types of marketing opportunities Schwab makes available to funds vary depending on the client segment. For example, certain sponsorship events are designed to reach registered investment advisors that custody their clients’ assets at Schwab, while others are intended to reach Schwab’s professionals that serve individual or “retail” clients. Below is a list of the various opportunities made available to funds in the 2017 calendar year for each client segment through the time of the last update to this site, along with the program administrative fees charged in connection with a fund’s participation in the event. In addition to the activities listed below, Schwab may from time to time create and make available to fund sponsors or their affiliates additional marketing opportunities that are not described below.
The fees Schwab receives for administering these marketing opportunities are separate and distinct from, and in addition to, the asset-based, per position, and other fees paid to Schwab for the shareholder services described elsewhere in this document. The total amount of fees paid in total by each fund sponsor will vary depending on the types and number of opportunities in which the fund sponsor participates each year. Participation in any event or opportunity is made available to a fund sponsor at Schwab's discretion based on business needs. In certain cases Schwab may invite a fund to participate in speaking opportunities based on the fund’s investment expertise, without a fee, given the nature, audience, and subject matter of a particular speaking opportunity.
Schwab affiliate funds also have access to Schwab clients through general marketing and advertising opportunities or client events that may not be offered to third-party funds, or that may be offered at no cost or a discounted price.
A. Retail (i.e., Investor Services) Marketing/Sponsorship Opportunities. Participating funds may pay for advertisement space in Schwab’s client magazines or opportunities to sponsor conferences, educational workshops and similar events attended by Schwab’s client-facing employees.
- "On Investing" and “OnWard” Advertisement Pages: $70,000 per full-page or $28,000 for a half-page ad space (frequency discounts are available). The total payments Schwab expects to receive in 2018 from the approximately 3 fund companies advertising in On Investing/OnWard is $322,000. (As December 2017)
- Schwab Private Client Wealth Management Symposiums: $1,200 to $5,000 (depending on level of sponsorship/participation)
- ICON (for Independent Branch Leaders): $5,000 to $15,000 (depending on level of sponsorship/participation)
B. Schwab Advisor Services Marketing/Sponsorship Opportunities. Participating sponsors pay for the opportunity to sponsor conferences and similar events attended by registered investment advisers (e.g., lunch and dinner sponsorships, golf outings, and similar entertainment events). Such fees are intended to offset Schwab’s costs of hosting the events. These events include IMPACT®, a Schwab hosted conference that provides education and networking opportunities to independent registered investment advisers, as well as other national (EXPLORE) and regional (Investment Outlook, ADVANTAGE®, SOLUTIONS®) events. IMPACT and certain small regional events may include speaking opportunities. IMPACT sponsorship and participation opportunities are made available first to OneSource Funds, and thereafter any remaining opportunities are made available to funds participating in Schwab’s Mutual Fund Marketplace.
- IMPACT (National Event): $6,500 to $135,000 (depending on level of sponsorship/participation)
- EXPLORE (National Event): $50,000
- ADVANTAGE (Regional Event): $20,000
- SOLUTIONS (Regional Events): $5,000 to $50,000 (depending on level of sponsorship/participation)
- Investment Outlook (Regional Events): $6,500 to $20,000 (depending on level of sponsorship/participation)
- Smaller Regional Events: $1,500 to $5,500 (depending on scope of event)
The total payments Schwab received from the approximately 239 fund companies participating in the Schwab Advisor Services marketing opportunities for 2017 is approximately $8.2 million.
Certain fund sponsors, their investment advisors or other service providers to the funds make payments to Schwab to offset the costs of various educational opportunities Schwab makes available through Schwab’s Corporate and Retirement Services division. In addition to the activities listed below, Schwab may from time to time make available to fund sponsors or their affiliates additional educational opportunities that are not described below.
The payments Schwab receives for administering these educational opportunities is separate and distinct from, and in addition to, the asset-based, per position, and other payments to Schwab for the shareholder services. The total amount of the payment by each fund will vary depending on the types and number of opportunities in which the fund participates. The educational opportunities are generally available on a first-come, first-served basis for funds available on the Retirement Business Services platform.
A. Schwab Retirement Business Services Education Opportunities. Participating funds pay for the opportunity to participate in educational conferences, seminars and other events attended by retirement plan providers and independent recordkeepers (also known as third party administrators) who service Plan assets held at Schwab. Similar opportunities are available for events attended by Schwab education consultants and analysts who provide customized education and information services to Plan providers, including investment education and advice tools and general financial planning education. Participating sponsors pay up to the following amounts to offset the costs of each event:
Retirement business education
The total payments Schwab expects to receive from the 10 fund companies participating in the Schwab Corporate and Retirement Services educational opportunities for 2017 is approximately $114,000.
EventAccredited Investment Fiduciary ("AIF") Training>
EventTrust & Custody Advisory Board Meeting>
EventSchwab Retirement Technologies, Inc. Advisory Board Meeting>
EventNational Summit Sponsor>
EventNational Client Summit-Lunch and Reception Sponsor>
EventTPA National Client Summit - Education Sponsor>
EventRetirement Business News Article>
The total payments Schwab expects to receive from the 10 fund companies participating in the Schwab Corporate and Retirement Services educational opportunities for 2017 is approximately $114,000.
Keep in mind that this information only discusses the compensation Schwab receives from fund companies and does not include everything you need to know about buying mutual funds or ETFs through Schwab. While this website provides an overview of Schwab’s financial relationships with the funds, you’ll want to review additional information about mutual funds and ETFs before you invest.
For starters, regardless of whether you purchase a fund through Schwab, another financial intermediary or directly from the fund itself, you’ll want to read carefully each fund’s prospectus to learn about the investment objectives, strategies and risks of the fund, as well as other important information related to fund performance and fund management. The prospectus includes the ongoing fees charged by the funds (in the form of operating expenses) and any other fees charged by the funds, such as sales charges (loads) and redemption fees. And you should take advantage of additional publicly-available information about mutual funds available through securities regulators, industry associations, and other financial organizations. You can visit, for example, the educational web sites of the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, and the Investment Company Institute, all of which can help further develop your overall understanding of mutual funds and ETFs.
If you choose to purchase a fund at Schwab, you should be aware of fees that Schwab may charge you for investing in a mutual fund or ETF. These fees might include a transaction fee, a live broker assistance fee or a short-term redemption fee, all payable to Schwab. For more information on these or other fees relating to your Schwab account, see the Charles Schwab Pricing Guide.