Charles Schwab buys TD Ameritrade in brokerage blockbuster

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NEW YORK (AP) – Charles Schwab is buying rival TD Ameritrade for $26 billion, a blockbuster deal accelerated by massive disruption in the online brokerage industry.

Competitive pressure has already forced brokerages to make it free for customers to trade U.S. stocks online, and Schwab’s proposal would combine two of the biggest players in the industry.

The tie-up announced Monday would create a company so big, however, that it may draw sharp scrutiny from antitrust regulators, analysts say. Together the companies would have more than $5 trillion in client assets.

By itself, Schwab may control close to half the market for acting as a custodian for money managed by registered investment advisers, for example, while TD Ameritrade may control about 15% to 20%, according to Kyle Voigt, an analyst with Keefe, Bruyette & Woods.

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