BlackRock vs. Charles Schwab: what’s the difference?

1 min readLast updated May 31, 2024by Unbiased team

Unpack the major and minor differences between BlackRock financial advisors and Charles Schwab financial advisors to choose a firm that best suits your needs as a client.

Summary 

  • BlackRock is a multinational, high-net-worth financial advisory firm that offers services to both individuals and corporations.  

  • Charles Schwab is a full-service financial advisory firm that focuses on providing low to no-commission brokerage and IRA advice for a range of client types.  

  • Learning the pros and cons of these two similar but unique financial firms can help you make the most informed decision possible.  

Charles Schwab vs. BlackRock: what’s the difference? 

Charles Schwab provides a wide range of financial services to a broad demographic of clients. Schwab financial services include a well-rounded offering of commission-free stock and ETF trades, as well as extensive research tools.  

BlackRock financial advisors are employed by one of the world’s largest multinational investment firms, which has clients in over 100 countries. BlackRock’s financial advisors are more focused on managing the portfolios of high-net-worth individuals or large corporations that require active asset management.  

The main difference between these two financial advisory firms is that Charles Schwab has a diverse service offering that targets clients from a broad income demographic, and BlackRock’s financial services are geared towards already wealthy investors and corporations seeking further growth.  

What are Charles Schwab and BlackRock’s specific investment strategies? 

Charles Schwab's financial advisors follow a consistent, planning, and research-based investment strategy. Due to their strong reputation for handling IRAs, many of Charles Schwab’s investment strategies are geared towards long-term retirement funds.  

The BlackRock financial investment strategy focuses on working closely with clients to determine their investment preferences and goals. They take security and asset evaluation seriously and are strongly guided by the client’s individual risk tolerance and financial goals.  

What fees can I expect from BlackRock and Charles Schwab? 

The fee structures used by BlackRock and Charles Schwab are very different and one of the major distinguishing factors between the two.  

BlackRock fees are based on the numerous different services they offer. BlackRock’s fixed-income investment strategy fee schedule starts at 0.35% for the first $1 million, and the non-wrap fee for equity and balanced investment strategies starts at 1.00% for the first $1 million.  

The multinational firm charges 2.5% for the first $500,000 worth of assets you invest with them and grows incrementally smaller as your account balance increases.  

Charles Schwab fees follow a no-commission, no trade minimums structure. Their broker-assisted trades require a $0 to $25 service charge, and their portfolio account minimum starts at $5,000 and goes up to $500,000, depending on what kind of account you open with them. 

With Charles Schwab financial services, there is no minimum investment amount needed for opening a brokerage account.  

Is BlackRock or Charles Schwab better? 

Both BlackRock financial advisors and Charles Schwab financial services representatives offer reputable and comprehensive financial services. However, as independent firms with unique strategies and objectives, unpacking the pros and cons of each can help you choose one that works best for your financial needs.   

Pros of BlackRock 

  • Highly personalized strategies. 

  • Hands-off portfolio management.  

  • Provides services for both individuals and corporations.  

Cons of BlackRock 

  • High investment requirements.  

  • Complex fee structures.  

Pros of Charles Schwab 

  • There are multiple trading platforms to choose from.  

  • No minimum investment requirements.  

  • Extensive research tools.   

Cons of Charles Schwab 

  • A low-interest rate on uninvested cash.  

  • Higher margin rates than some competitors.  

Charles Schwab or BlackRock: which should I choose? 

The right firm for you ultimately depends on your financial circumstances and what kind of goals you are working towards. ]Your budget also plays a significant role.  

Charles Schwab financial advisors are reputably well-rounded and suitable for a wide variety of investors. Both new and experienced, active and passive investors can benefit from the wide selection of affordable, low-minimum mutual and index funds.  

BlackRock financial advisors are employed by a larger and more equipped firm that is best suited for taking active portfolios off investor’s hands and providing fiduciary advice to individuals and corporations around the world. They are a good option for those wanting to grow their existing wealth for long-term financial freedom.  

In addition to fees, investment strategies, and various pros and cons, here are some other questions you should ask yourself when choosing between Charles Schwab and BlackRock.  

How do Charles Schwab and BlackRock remain competitive and adapt to changing market conditions? 

Charles Schwab relies on a comprehensive and continuously evolving research system that allows it to appeal to a wide target market. Its low minimums and no-commission fee structure enable it to reach a broad network of people from all income brackets.  

BlackRock financial services are established as industry leaders across multiple countries and cities around the world. Their service offerings are bountiful and based on global economic trends and technology, making them an undeniable front-runner in the investment industry.  

Which platform provides better customer service and support? 

Charles Schwab's customer service has a consistently strong reputation. By accommodating a wide demographic of clients, it is reliably responsive and known for having a warmer touch.  

BlackRock customer service is associated with efficiency and close client personalization. Strong customer support is one of its biggest assets, so BlackRock provides committed and frequently updated customer support channels.  

Can I access my Charles Schwab or BlackRock accounts through their websites and mobile apps? 

Both Charles Schwab and BlackRock have websites and mobile apps for clients to use. You can access your account via either website.  

Charles Schwab’s website is modern but simple. It offers accounts, products, and educational resources to clients. The company's mobile app has advanced features that elevate the client experience.  

BlackRock’s website is similarly modern and easy to navigate. It offers accounts, insights, and investment strategy guidelines. The company's mobile app also has advanced features that allow clients to explore on-the-go investment options and asset updates.  

Get expert financial advice 

BlackRock and Charles Schwab financial advisors offer unique fees, services, and tools that you should assess before you decide who to invest with. BlackRock is more geared toward managing the portfolios of high-net-worth individuals or large corporations, while Charles Schwab caters to a wide range of clients with varying incomes and assets.  

Get matched with an SEC-regulated financial advisor at Unbiased to ensure you get the best possible expert advice for your financial circumstances and situation.  

Writers

Unbiased team

Our team of writers, who have decades of experience writing about personal finance, including investing and retirement, are here to help you find out what you must know about life’s biggest financial decisions.