Michael Townsend

Michael Townsend

Managing Director, Legislative and Regulatory Affairs
Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.
Education and Certifications
M.A., English, George Mason University; B.A., English, Bowdoin College

As Managing Director of Legislative and Regulatory Affairs, Michael is Charles Schwab's Washington-based political analyst. With more than 28 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.

Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. (member SIPC), a subsidiary of the Charles Schwab Corporation, offers investment services and products, including Schwab brokerage accounts.

Get Michael's perspective on the industry.

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

Washington Watch

This report is current as of March 17, 2023

The 118th Congress convened in January with razor-thin majorities in both houses. Democrats hold a 51-49 majority in the Senate, while Republicans have a 222-213 advantage in the House of Representatives. The sharp divide between the two chambers means few major legislative accomplishments are expected in the current biennium.

Market Commentary

The United States hit the debt ceiling on January 19th, launching what could be the most consequential policy debate of 2023 for the markets. Although the crisis is still likely five to six months away, concern about when and whether a deeply divided Congress will be able to find a path to raising the debt ceiling will be a critical issue for investors to monitor.

Washington Watch

In one of its final acts of 2022, Congress approved a massive year-end spending bill that includes the long-anticipated retirement savings package known as SECURE Act 2.0.  

The provisions of the new retirement package are included in the 4,155-page bill that will fund every federal agency and government program through September 30, 2023. The bill was cleared by the House on December 23, one day after the Senate voted for it. President Biden signed the bill into law on December 29.