Charles Schwab expects to pay $200 million to resolve a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigation concerning its robo-advisory business.
The financial services provider offered sparse details in a regulatory filing Friday, only stating the investigation arose out of a compliance examination and concerns “historic disclosures related to the Schwab Intelligent Portfolios (SIP) digital advisory solution.”
Robo-advisers, like SIP, provide automated, software-based portfolio management services. Charles Schwab added it “has been cooperating with SEC staff in the investigation and is evaluating its options.”
“Given the investigation’s status, Schwab’s second quarter 2021 financial results will include a liability and related non-deductible charge of $200 million,” the regulatory filing states. “The company’s ultimate liability may differ, depending on the outcome of the matter.”
Charles Schwab said SIP is “well established as a key component” of its digital advisory lineup and served almost $64 billion in client assets as of March 31, “up 51 percent on a year-over-year basis.”
The SEC brought its first enforcement actions against robo-advisers—Wealthfront Advisers and Hedgeable—in December 2018 for making false statements about investment products and publishing misleading advertising. Wealthfront and Hedgeable neither admitted nor denied the SEC’s findings.
Wealthfront consented to the entry of the SEC’s order censuring it and agreed to pay a $250,000 penalty. Hedgeable similarly agreed to an $80,000 penalty.
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