Securities broker Koehler joins Charles Schwab

Expects to transfer 700 clients to Mequon branch

Bill Koehler

Bill Koehler, president of Glendale-based Wisconsin Discount Securities Corp., this week will be transitioning his business to Charles Schwab Corp.’s Mequon office.

Bill Koehler
Bill Koehler

Bill’s father, Robert Koehler, started WDSC in 1977 and Bill joined the firm in 1985. Robert retired in the mid-1990s.

When Bill Koehler moves to Charles Schwab, he expects to bring with him about 700 of his 1,500 clients and about $350 million in assets under management. Clients who choose not to join Schwab will be transferred to a Georgia-based brokerage firm.

Wisconsin Discount Securities Corp. was not sold, he said, but the name of the legacy company will likely be changed by the Georgia firm at some point.

“It’s more of a transition. We attempted to transition as many of our clients from Wisconsin Discount to Charles Schwab,” Koehler said.

Julie Peterson, who was a client service specialist at WDSC, joined Kevin Gerard’s Mequon Charles Schwab franchise office in August. She and Bill were the only employees of the company.

A letter sent by Peterson to WDSC clients last week asks them to apply for an account transfer to Schwab so they can continue working with her and Koehler.

“At Schwab, we will be able to offer additional services beyond those we could in the past, including advice, recommendations, financial planning and comprehensive wealth management solutions,” the letter says.

Koehler, 54, said he decided to make the transition because of the increasing regulations and pressures he faced running an independent brokerage firm.

“It’s become more and more difficult for a smaller broker-dealer to compete,” Koehler said. “Pricing pressure has been pretty intense over the years from the likes of Schwab and Fidelity and Scottrade. Given my age, the time was right.

“It’s an opportunity for all of us, Julie and I and the clients, to establish a relationship with a bigger firm and all of the resources that Schwab brings to the table, from technology to products to support. And it’s less expensive for the clients.”

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Molly Dill, former BizTimes Milwaukee managing editor.

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