Today I received the three reports in the Charles Schwab promotion of three free "Charles Schwab Equity Snapshot Report" I signed up weeks ago. Frankly speaking, I'm quite disappointed on the reports.
Each Schwab Equity Snapshot Report is a one-page summary of a company's key facts plus a "Schwab Equity Rating" of A, B, C, D or F. All the key facts, like a brief description of the business, consensus opinion, fundamental information, EPS trend and key financial metrics, are available for free at Yahoo Finance or MSN Money. And such information is summarized much better in S&P reports free to all AmeriTrade and Fidelity investors. The "Schwab Equity Rating" includes an overall rating and ratings for sub-categories of fundamentals, valuation, momentum and risk. But it is no more than the buy/sell recommendations from a typical research report. Furthermore, the one-page report does not offer any explanation as of why the rating is given, which let me wonder if the rating is generated mechanically. Alas, there are already tons of free mechnical rating systems on the Internet.
I think it's fair to say this kind of report does not offer any meaningful value that will encourage investors to switch accounts to Schwab and tolerate its higher-than-normal commission schedule. I don't know how this will help Schwab.
(This post is part of PFBlog Product Review series. Check out more reviews here.)