Charles Schwab Places Its $100 Million-Plus Media Account in Review

UM won the business in 2009

The company produces its creative campaigns in-house. Getty Images
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San Francisco-based bank and brokerage firm Charles Schwab has issued an RFI for its U.S. media business.

This marks the company’s first formal media review since 2009, which saw UM San Francisco beat out Carat and incumbent PHD.

“Schwab partners with some of the best agencies in the world to achieve our brand and marketing goals. As is a best practice in our industry, we periodically take the opportunity to evaluate our agency portfolio,” said a company spokesperson. “This due diligence helps ensure we are making the most effective use of our firm’s marketing investment. As part of this process, we are currently inviting media firms to share with us their capabilities through their response to an RFI.”

The representative continued, “Schwab has many exciting opportunities ahead and looks forward to tackling those with the help of our world-class roster of agency partners.”

CP+B won the firm’s creative account in an early 2013 review but hasn’t worked on the business for several years. Charles Schwab has long produced work via its Austin, Texas-based in-house agency Creative Center, and that group has assumed more responsibilities since the client split with CP+B.

Sources close to the matter confirmed that Charles Schwab is leading the review process but has hired an unnamed third-party firm to facilitate the review. It is unclear which agencies beyond the incumbent have been invited to pitch.

“We have a very productive and strong relationship with Universal McCann—and they have set a high bar as our media partner. We expect to hear from them as well as other firms who may have an interest,” said the client representative.

“We are incredibly appreciative of the deep partnership we have developed with Schwab over the past nine years,” added UM U.S. CEO Kasha Cacy. “We take great pride in the work we have produced together and look forward to demonstrating the strength of that work and of our partnership during this process.”

Charles Schwab’s spending estimates have remained somewhat steady since UM first won the business: The client spent approximately $127 million on paid media in 2016 and $106 million last year, according to Kantar Media.

@PatrickCoffee Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.