Schwab's Women Investing Now
Charting the future of public relations
Holmes Report

Schwab's Women Investing Now

Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. (Schwab) launched Women Investing Now (WIN) in 2000 to inspire women to become more confident and knowledgeable about investing and then to share that knowledge with family and friends.

Paul Holmes

Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. (Schwab) launched Women Investing Now (WIN) in 2000 to inspire women to become more confident and knowledgeable about investing and then to share that knowledge with family and friends.  This multi-faceted, multi-channel and multi-year program provides the tools and resources to address financial opportunities and challenges including:  a women’s portal online at a library of literature designed to help women navigate through the challenging times (death of a spouse, divorce, etc.) that create unique financial demands; sponsorships of women’s organizations; workshops, conversations and forums to help women learn about investing in an environment where they feel free to ask questions and share ideas with others; and, an internal program for Schwab employees.


Schwab concluded that the financial services industry as a whole hadn’t done a good enough job of serving women.  Women aren’t actively investing in numbers that are comparable to men — only in about one-third of U.S. investing households do women participate in investment decisions (SRI Macrominder 1999).

With other financial services firms already offering similar products and services for women, Schwab needed to distinguish the WIN program from the efforts of companies like Merrill Lynch and Salomon Smith Barney.  Schwab’s solution was to focus attention on research findings that revealed a significant 29 percentage point gap between men and women’s confidence in their investing abilities (March 2000, “Women & Investing,” The Harris Poll sponsored by Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.).  Schwab pledged to help close that gap. 

Unlike traditional Wall Street firms, approximately 40 percent of Schwab’s employees are women, 36 percent of the company’s officers are women, and more than two-thirds of all employees report up to a woman, uniquely positioning Schwab as the ideal company to launch and continually develop a program targeted to women investors.

Schwab is also a firm that women can trust because of one of their key advantages — salaried, rather than commission-based brokers, enabling them to service clients without any potential conflict of interest.


Reinforce the image of Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. as the country’s leading, full-service financial services firm offering objective and unbiased help and advice to all investors.

Increase Schwab’s market share among women by making Schwab the financial services firm of choice for women.

Communicate Schwab’s authoritative positioning not only to women investors, but also to the financial services community, women “influentials” (e.g., thought leaders, authors, academics, etc.) and the media (general consumer, women's interest, business/personal business, finance, parenting, general news and marketing/advertising outlets).

Position Carrie Schwab Pomerantz, vice president/consumer education and daughter of company founder, Chairman and Co-CEO Charles Schwab, as a leader and innovator in the financial services industry.

Empower women with the motivation, expertise and resources to help raise their financial acuity and make them money mentors to other women.  


In early 2000, Schwab commissioned a survey conducted by Harris Interactive, to explore generational and gender-based investing dynamics so that Schwab might better understand and therefore more effectively serve the needs and wants of women investors.  

Schwab’s own research revealed that women are more anxious than men about investing, they are less involved overall, more conservative and somewhat daunted by the task.  Consistent with their express lack of knowledge, women are quite open to learning more, but often prefer to learn via different channels than their male counterparts, who tend to prefer the Internet, books and tapes.  Women are more likely than men to prefer learning about investing through investment seminars tailored for women and through women’s investment clubs.  Survey findings also revealed that GenX women are just as likely as senior women to say that investing is “scary” for them.

Key survey findings, such as those listed above, are the cornerstone of the WIN program.  Tailored to meet the needs of all women investors, WIN offers a range of tools and products for the novice to the more experienced investor.


Distill Harris Poll survey findings to focus on statistics relating to the investment habits of women across the generations.

Strengthen Schwab’s appeal to women by tailoring and adapting existing programs and services into a comprehensive online resource that features not just investing information, but also the forums, message boards and other collaborative vehicles important to women for learning about finances and investing as evidenced by the Harris Poll survey.

Develop engaging, inspirational video relating personal anecdotes from Schwab female executives about their experiences with investing, strongly position Schwab as a company that understands women investors and one in which women investors flourish.  Video would have multiple uses beyond press conference, including, as a prelude to WIN seminars, as part of the company’s grassroots program, and as part of any speeches given by WIN program spokesperson throughout the year.


Leverage the results of Harris Poll survey, which revealed that the different ways in which men and women approach investing have remained relatively unchanged across four generations, positioning survey data as the research underpinning for the WIN program, a new multi-faceted initiative created by Schwab to provide tools and resources to inspire women to increase their own investing knowledge.

Announce the WIN program and position Carrie Schwab Pomerantz as the spokesperson for the new initiative.

Augment the WIN program with an internal effort to educate and inspire the company’s female employees to raise their own investing knowledge and confidence to become money mentors to other women.


Launch Schwab’s WIN program at a New York City press conference, hosted by Charles Schwab and Carrie Schwab Pomerantz, for key national print, broadcast and online media.

Develop and distribute a press kit on WIN, including a program release and fact sheet, a Harris Poll survey release and fact sheet, and bios on Charles Schwab and Carrie Schwab Pomerantz, to a targeted list of national and local market print, broadcast and online media.  

Upon completion, distribute press release announcing launch of the WIN portal on the Schwab Web site, offering tools and resources in a collaborative and interactive learning environment (via forums, message boards, etc.), a preferred learning style of women as evidenced by the Harris Poll survey.

Conduct extensive media outreach to secure coverage of WIN program and local WIN seminars.

Arrange one-on-one media interviews for Carrie Schwab Pomerantz, creating platforms and opportunities for her to address women’s interests, concerns and challenges to becoming confident investors.


Publicity generated communicated Schwab’s commitment to women, the company’s responsiveness to the specific financial needs and preferred learning styles of women, and their survey findings regarding the attitudes of women towards investing.

Publicity surrounding the WIN program and Harris Poll survey findings to date total more than 134 print and broadcast placements, which translates into more than 244 million media impressions.  

Print publicity for the WIN program generated more than 106 placements, delivering more than 239 million media impressions.  Key print placements included The New York Times, Business Week, Money, Newsweek, USA Weekend, the Associated Press and Dow Jones News Service.  Key financial outlets such as Investor’s Business Daily,, Financial Times and Mutual Funds Magazine also covered the program.

Broadcast publicity for the WIN program produced 28 placements delivering more than 4.5 million media impressions.  Key broadcast placements included CNBC, NBC “Early Today,” CNNfn, CNBC and CBS Marketwatch.  Additionally, prominent financial media Jean Sherman Chatzky, Money editor-at-large and contributor to NBC “Today  Show;” Sharon Epperson, CNBC correspondent; and BusinessWeek columnist Toddi Gutner, all spotlighted Schwab’s WIN program in their respective media outlets.

Sixty-eight percent of placements looked favorably on Schwab as a company sensitive to the needs of women investors.

Carrie Schwab Pomerantz was identified as the pioneer behind Schwab’s WIN program in 66 percent of the placements generated to date.  In addition, Carrie Schwab Pomerantz was named one of four “Market Movers,” “rewriting the rules of finance” in the March 2001 issue of Working Woman.  The special report profiled Carrie Schwab Pomerantz as “The Educator,” alongside prominent financial authorities Amy Domini, Suze Orman and Mary Schapiro.

More than 5,000 women participated in a Schwab WIN seminar or workshop in 2000.
The WIN campaign has reached 25,000 Schwab employees through the internal employee network @Schwab.

comments powered by Disqus