Major Financial Services Groups Join Forces in Merger

This week, the Financial Services Roundtable (FSR) and The Clearing House Association revealed they will be combining forces and missions. The move comes in the wake of FSR’s former leader, onetime presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty, departing the organization.

Two of the most prominent financial services trade groups are combining into one.

The Financial Services Roundtable (FSR) and The Clearing House Association (TCH Association), both large associations with Wall Street ties and a close eye on what’s happening in Washington, announced this week that they would combine forces.

An American Banker story [subscription] characterized the merger as “the largest financial services trade group merger in more than a decade,” and noted that the move reflected a shift in industry tactics a decade after the 2008 financial crisis.

The move comes roughly a month after Tim Pawlenty, FSR’s longtime president and CEO, announced he was leaving the group. At the time, it was widely speculated that the former Minnesota governor and 2012 Republican presidential candidate would seek public office after more than five years away. Recent news stories have suggested he would run for governor of his home state once again.

Pawlenty’s departure raised questions about who would replace him at FSR, and the answer to that question appears to be TCH Association President Greg Baer—who will be CEO of the still-to-be-named combined group.

“Our goal at the TCH Association has been to help shape sound financial services policy with high-quality research and analysis, and I look forward to continuing that work, and amplifying its impact, as we form a new organization,” Baer said in a news release on the merger.

While the two organizations have similarities in that they focus on financial issues, they differ somewhat tactically. FSR has traditionally focused more heavily on advocacy, while TCH Association has worked more heavily on producing research that often carries weight with bank regulators.

As American Banker notes, part of the reason for TCH Association’s structure is a result of its direct connection to The Clearing House (TCH), a major payments system operator. The merger between FSR and the TCH Association will effectively separate TCH from its longtime sister group.

“It makes sense to combine the capabilities of two organizations focused on the same goals to create a premier financial services trade association, while The Clearing House continues in its mission of payments innovation and operating core payment systems for the banking industry,” TCH CEO Jim Aramanda said in a statement.

The merger of advocacy and analysis is one that could pay some dividends in the long run, the groups hope.

“FSR is shaping and advancing financial service and technology policies that drive the U.S. economy. These two organizations will be stronger together,” FSR Chairman and Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan said in the release.

(lionvision/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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