Charles Schwab, 75, opened his first brokerage firm in 1973.
Like many business icons, Charles Schwab's great business idea seems like simple common sense: Give small investors the same treatment big investors have always gotten.
For Schwab and his discount brokerage firm, the first big opportunity began May 1, 1975, when the Securities and Exchange Commission abolished fixed brokerage commissions. Companies such as Charles Schwab & Co. could now offer stock trades at much lower commission prices than competitors such as Merrill Lynch.
That's exactly what he did, and it sparked a revolution, helping make the stock market accessible to the small ...