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Schwab's Game-Changing ETFs

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Schwab (SCHW) launches its first four proprietary ETFs Tuesday in what could prove to be a game-changer for the ETF industry.

The new low-cost, equity based ETFs will rival similar funds from established issuers like iShares and Vanguard while offering commission-free trading for Schwab customers.

Schwab U.S. Broad Market ETF (SCHB), Schwab U.S. Large-Cap ETF (SCHX), Schwab U.S. Large-Cap Growth ETF (SCHG) and Schwab U.S. Large-Cap Value ETF (SCHV) mark an important moment in the development of the exchange traded fund industry, as issuers shift their target from large institutions towards an aging baby-boomer demographic and individual investors looking for a more hands-on approach to investing.

Lower fees, preferable tax treatment and a growing distrust for mutual fund managers and Wall Street insiders have aided in the explosion of the ETF industry. As electronic trading and the lightening-fast dissemination of information continues to demystify the financial world, investors are demanding to be where the rubber meets the road: actively managing transparent funds or a choice of long-term strategies with cheaper price tags.

Following in the footsteps of Vanguard, Schwab's first ETFs mimic the design and methodology of popular mutual fund picks. Vanguard offers the Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF (VTI), Vanguard Large Cap ETF (VV), Vanguard Growth ETF (VUG) and Vanguard Value ETF (VTV).

Also slated for launch in the near future are three international funds and a small-cap offering. The Schwab International Equity ETF (SCHF), Schwab International Small-Cap Equity ETF (SCHC), Schwab Emerging Markets Equity ETF (SCHE) and Schwab U.S. Small-Cap ETF (SCHA) are expected to follow soon.

More than simply launching a line of ETF products, Schwab appears to be expanding its brand. ETF issuers like iShares and PowerShares have been diligently building the breadth of their products to become one-stop ETF shops. Schwab is aiming to be a one-stop shop for financial needs.

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