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Wilson Lecture Series begins

Sanjana Kumbhani
Contributing Writer

Over 45 years ago, Chuck Schwab founded a unique company in San Francisco that would, over time, come to be known as one of America’s biggest brokerage firms: The Charles Schwab Corporation. In October 2008, Ohio native Walt Bettinger took over as CEO of the company that is known by virtually everyone, regardless of whether they are in the world of finance or not. The College will welcome Bettinger to campus next week as part of the Wilson Lecture Series hosted by the Business Economics Department.

As the company known for having redefined the relationship between a stockbroker and their customer, Charles Schwab was the first to introduce the concept of discount brokerage: offering brokerage services for extremely low fees without investment advice, as compared to a full service broker. Undeterred by its competition, the firm is constantly innovating and introducing new, creative strategies in order to stay true to its distinctive business model that employs approximately 15,000 people and has almost ten million client accounts.

Bettinger is also well-known for having steered Charles Schwab through the 2008 financial crisis. The company emerged as a front runner among its competitors and grew around $200 billion more than its four major competitors added together in the post-crisis period.

“It is really nice that Wooster is associating with a company and man of such high caliber. Not only does it gives the students of this college­ — a lot of whom are interested in the field of finance — a great business perspective but also the rare opportunity to personally interact with the CEO of Charles Schwab himself,” said John Sell, professor of Business Economics.

One of the things that sets this event apart from past Wilson Lecture Series that the lecture will take the form of a question-and-answer session between Bettinger and Bill Longbrake, chair of Wooster’s board of trustees. Sell said that Bettinger’s lecture will nicely bridge the gap between talking about Charles Schwab as a company and more general economic phenomena like investing.

“This lecture is doing exactly what the Wilsons and I hoped the series would do when it was started — to introduce to students people of prominence from the business world and most importantly, give them the ability to interact directly with the speaker,” said Sell.

Due to expected increased attendance as compared to previous years, the lecture will be held in the Lean Lecture Room in Wishart Hall on Thursday, Feb. 4 at 7:30 p.m. It is free and open

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