Michael Townsend

Michael Townsend

Managing Director, Legislative and Regulatory Affairs
Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.

Michael is Schwab's Washington-based political analyst. With more than 30 years of Washington experience, he analyzes legislative, regulatory, and political developments to determine how they would affect individual investors, retirement plan participants, and investment advisers.

Michael is the host of Schwab's WashingtonWise podcast, which explores the intersection between policy, politics, the markets, and the economy. He is a featured speaker at dozens of employee, client, adviser, and industry events each year, where he discusses the impact of the political and policy environment in Washington on investors and the capital markets.

Prior to joining Schwab in 2000, Michael worked at Powell Tate, Inc., a Washington, D.C., public affairs firm, and previously worked for two U.S. senators from Maine. He holds an M.A. in English from George Mason University and a B.A. in English from Bowdoin College.

Get Michael's perspective on the industry.

Take a look at what Michael has written or been featured in.

Washington Watch

2024 is shaping up to be a year of unpredictability and anxiety for investors. Wars continue in Ukraine and the Middle East, neither with any clear path to resolution. Rebel attacks on container ships in the Red Sea have impacted supply chains. U.S.-China tensions continue to rise. The Federal Reserve and central banks around the world are wrestling with inflation and other economic indicators as they determine when to begin interest-rate cuts. A landmark election looms in November. Add to that list unprecedented dysfunction on Capitol Hill, and it's no surprise investors are nervous.  

Washington Watch

October in Washington was certainly one for the history books. In the waning hours of September 30, Congress crafted a last-minute deal to fund government operations for six weeks, averting a government shutdown that would have begun on October 1. And that's when the chaos really started.

Washington Watch

This report is current as of August 9, 2023

Congress is on its annual August recess, but a major confrontation between the two parties is looming—and it could lead to a disruptive government shutdown this fall. Meanwhile, the SEC has begun finalizing a series of high-profile rule proposals that could have an enormous impact on investors and advisors alike. Let's take a look at what RIAs should be watching closely as we head into the fall season.