According to most metrics, Charles Schwab ground its gears as self-directed investors paid their taxes last month. On the other hand, the firm is tiptoeing toward a social media presence.
Schwab saw clients withdraw a net $500 million in April, apparently because money they would ordinarily have invested went to the IRS instead.
While Schwab usually sees flows slow around tax time, this is the first time in a decade that April flows actually turned negative.
Regardless, AUM is still up 11% over last year and up 2% on a month-to-month basis.
Only a few people opened new Schwab accounts last month, putting annualized growth up just 3% -- well below the 8% to 10% the firm had led Wall Street to expect.
Trading activity was also down on a year-over-year basis and the seasonality of market activity makes month-to-month comparisons choppy at best.
Money continued to pour out of Schwab's money market and large-cap equity funds and into bond funds, while regular flows into target-date and other "balanced" hybrid funds continued.
Perhaps the lull in the action gave Schwab staff time to start the company's official blog. It's early days yet, but we'll have to see whether it remains active when the market heats up again.