As vice president for Legislative and Regulatory Affairs, Michael T. Townsend handles a number of legislative issues for Charles Schwab & Co., Inc., and is also responsible for development and implementation of the firm’s public policy communications strategy.
Townsend analyzes legislative and regulatory proposals to determine how they would affect individual investors, retirement plan participants and advisers. As an advocate for individual investors, he then develops and executes strategies to communicate their interests to lawmakers, the media, employees and clients. He specializes in all tax issues, as well as retirement savings, charitable giving issues, market structure issues and financial literacy. Townsend works closely with company founder, CEO and Chairman Charles R. Schwab in Mr. Schwab’s role as chairman of the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy, supporting the Chairman and the Council as it seeks to increase financial literacy among all Americans. Townsend also speaks regularly to employee and client groups about how the political and policy environment in Washington affects investors, and contributes legislative and political analysis articles to a variety of company publications. He also oversees the company’s voter education efforts, which includes managing an internal web site devoted to providing employees detailed information on federal, state and local elections.
Townsend joined Schwab in April 2000 after nearly three years at Powell Tate, Inc., a Washington, D.C., public affairs firm, where he headed the Financial Services Legislative and Regulatory Issues group. He previously served as press secretary and legislative assistant to Senator Susan M. Collins (R-Maine), and
was Collins’ spokesperson during her successful 1996 campaign for the Senate. From 1993-1996, Townsend was an aide to Senator William S. Cohen (R-Maine), serving as assistant press secretary and later as press secretary to the Senate Special Committee on Aging, which Cohen chaired.
He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, and a Master of Arts degree in English from George Mason University.