March 22, 2012 / 8:14 PM / 7 years ago

Wall Street's face in Washington to step down

Financial Services Roundtable President Steve Bartlett testifies before the House Financial Services hearing on "the Future of Financial Services Regulation," on Capitol Hill in Washington October 21, 2008. REUTERS/Mitch Dumke

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The chief lobbyist for the largest U.S. financial institutions will step down at the end of 2012, after more than a decade of waging regulatory battles, a trade group said on Thursday.

Financial Services Roundtable Chief Executive Steve Bartlett informed his board of the decision this week, the group said. A search for a successor is already under way.

A former Republican U.S. representative and mayor of Dallas, Bartlett started in 1999 as head of the group, which comprises large banks, insurance companies and investment firms. The job made him a top defender of Wall Street during the 2008 financial crisis and the regulatory overhaul known as the Dodd-Frank Act.

In a two-page letter, Bartlett said he wants to leave while he still has energy to pursue new challenges.

The financial industry, he added, “is poised to regain our reputation” and “a fresh face can advance that cause.”

The trade group reported spending $7.7 million on lobbying of the federal government in 2011. By comparison, the American Bankers Association, which has some overlap in membership, reported spending $8.1 million.

Reporting By David Ingram; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Steve Orlofsky

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