Charles Schwab (SCHW) recently announced the expansion of its global investing capabilities with the launch of the Schwab Global Account. Schwab Global Account is a new platform that provides investors with direct, 24/7 online access to 12 foreign equity markets. The platform also allows investors the chance to trade in their local currencies whenever the markets are open. Schwab is throwing in a nice bonus for investors as well. Investors will be able to trade commission-free in this new account until March 2013.

What markets will this new platform give investors direct access to? The platform offers access to Australia, Belgium, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, and the United Kingdom. These are some of the most important and liquid markets in the world.

The ability to buy, sell, and hold equities in local currencies is a major plus for investors. This will allow investors to hedge their exposure to the U.S. dollar. In the past, most investors have been limited to investing in stocks that trade via American Depositary Receipts (ADRs) or in the OTC market. A transparent way to invest in foreign markets is a major step forward for the entire investing community.

A new Schwab survey found that 73 percent of investors are interested in global investing. The Schwab Global Account platform gives those investors an affordable and innovative way to invest globally.

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