What Is the Financial Services Roundtable?

The Financial Services Roundtable (FSR) represented around 100 of the largest integrated financial services companies that provide banking, insurance, and investment products/services to American consumers. In 2018, the Financial Services Roundtable merged with the Clearinghouse Association, another financial lobbying organization.

Key Takeaways

  • Until 2018, the Financial Services Roundtable, a political lobbying and advocacy group, represented around 100 of the largest integrated financial services companies.
  • In 2018, the Financial Services Roundtable merged with the Clearinghouse Association to form The Clearing House (TCH).
  • The primary activities of the organization include lobbying efforts in Washington, D.C. to support the banking and financial industries, as well as political contributions to like-minded candidates.

Understanding the Financial Services Roundtable

The Financial Services Roundtable was formed in early 2000 when the first members from the securities, investment, and insurance sectors joined their banking industry counterparts (who had formerly been assembled as the Bankers Roundtable) as founding members of the Financial Services Roundtable. The Bankers Roundtable chose to expand its mission in April 1999 to represent integrated financial services firms (in response to industry shifts and congressional financial modernization legislation). Much of its activities involved political lobbying and political contributions to secure favor with the financial and banking industries.

The Bankers Roundtable was originally formed in October 1993 as a result of the merger of the Association of Registered Bank Holding Companies (formed in 1958) and the Association of Reserve City Bankers (formed in 1912).

The Financial Services Roundtable operated with four stated goals: 1. Be the premier executive forum for the leaders of the financial services industry; 2. Provide powerful legislative and regulatory advocacy; 3. Enhance the financial industry's public reputation; 4. Promote best practices and a strong infrastructure in technology.

The FSR's activities included lobbying efforts in Washington, D.C. to support the banking and financial industries, as well as political contributions to like-minded candidates. The group operated with the belief that financial services companies are integral to the nation's economy and the competitive marketplace (as opposed to the government) should largely govern the delivery of financial products and services. It underscores the necessity of uniform national standards across state lines and the effective use of technology to efficiently deliver financial products and services.

In 2018, the Financial Services Roundtable merged with the Clearinghouse Association, one of Wall Street’s largest lobbying groups. The organization is part of "The Clearing House" (TCH), a banking association and payments company owned by the world’s largest banks.

Owners of "The Clearing House" include Bank of America, Capital One Financial, Citibank, JPMorgan Chase, PNC Bank, Santander, SunTrust, UBS, U.S. Bank, Wells Fargo, and others. The move, reportedly led by Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan, cut the FSR’s membership from more than 80 members to just over 40, with the expulsion of insurers, asset managers, and some non-banks. According to a press release, “The combination of these two organizations and their respective research and advocacy strengths further advances FSR’s new strategic focus on banking and payment policies that spur economic growth, increase jobs, modernize cybersecurity policy, and improve financial security for more Americans."

As part of the Clearing House (TCH), in 2019, the Financial Services Roundtable urged the Federal Reserve to help expand real-time payments in the US by expanding Fedwire Funds operating hours, and treating the real-time payments as reserves and paying interest on these reserves.

Also, in 2019, among other actions, the TCH called for more scrutiny and robust data security requirements on fintech firms. The TCH believes these firms should be held to the same level of accountability and measures required by banks.