Charles Schwab acquired $3.6 billion in new client assets in January, but it was its lowest level in nine months, according to the company’s monthly report, which was announced today.

It was also the seventh time in 12 months in which new client assets dropped at the San Francisco-based brokerage firm.

Meanwhile, profits dropped for the fifth straight quarter, according to the firm.

The down market has prompted individual investors, who comprise the majority of Schwab's clients, “to avoid stock trading,” according to a Schwab broker on the East Coast. “It’s been really bad.”

Schwab has 9,353 registered reps, an amount that has not significantly decreased much over the last year in the midst of extensive job company cuts, according to the firm.

Schwab has slashed expenses enough to improve profitability amid lower trading levels. The firm cut 6,000 jobs in 2001, decreasing costs to offset declining revenue.

Schwab CFO Chris Dodds said in a statement that individual investors "continue to be weighed down about the degree of faith they have in the time and degree of the economic recovery."

Net New Assets (in billions)

Jan. 12.5; Feb. 8.5; March 9.9; April (.5); May 6.6; June 5.2; July 7.2; Aug. 6.7; Sept. 3.8; Oct. 4.0; Nov. 4.2; Dec. 5.3.; 2001 Jan. 3.6

Total Client Assets (in billions)

Jan. 919.7; Feb. 844.8; March 805.8; April 856.4; May 864.9; June 858.3; July 851.3; Aug. 821.0; Sept. 768.4; Oct. 790.1; Nov. 833.7; dec. 845.9; 2002 Jan. 842.6.

Net New Assets (quarterly, in billions)

2001: 1Q 30.9, 2Q 11.3; 3Q 17.9; 4Q 13.5

Total Client Assets (quarterly, in billions)

2001: 1Q 805.8; 2Q 858.3; 3Q 768.4; 4Q 845.9

Net Income (quarterly, in millions)

2001: 1Q 97.0; 2Q 102.2; 3Q 13.0; 4Q (13.0)

2000: 1Q 300.0; 2Q 137.0; 3Q 142.0; 4Q 139.0