It looks like Schwab was serious about opening that chain of "independent" advisor franchises by summer, although questions remain about whether these offices will compete with existing RIAs.
Schwab Independent Branch Services has gone live as a something like an RIA franchising network.
Advisors come to Schwab and pay to get an office that's more or less ready to go right out of the box.
They then get to leverage the Schwab brand to build their business.
As Chuck Schwab himself says, the network was created to give Schwab a way to get in front of brokerage clients who are currently unable to get to one of the firm's existing branches.
Since Schwab already has a substantial network of affiliated RIAs, it remains a little mysterious why it simply isn't referring those clients to them.
Maybe this is more about expanding the brand than anything else?
Either way, like just about everyone else in the business, they seem to be staffing up fast.