Circle Taps Fmr. Goldman Sachs Executive to Spearhead Regulatory Affairs

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Circle Internet Financial has hired Benedicte Nolens, a former Goldman Sachs executive director, as its new head of global regulatory affairs and head of compliance for Europe and Asia operations, as the company expands into global crypto securities trading, according to Business Insider.

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Benedicte Nolens | Source: LinkedIn

Nolens brings significant regulatory experience, joining Circle directly from the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission. She also worked at Credit Suisse as chief compliance officer.

Circle, which has received financial backing from Goldman Sachs, recently opened offices in Beijing and Hong Kong, where it began offering over-the-counter trading earlier this year. Such trading now accounts for around 30% of its $2 billion in monthly trading volume.

Circle Eyes Securities Tokens

Circle, which also operates a cryptocurrency exchange and retail brokerage business, is looking to expand into securities tokens.  Such tokens would enable the trading of crypto-based assets registered as securities.

Chief Executive Jeremy Allaire said the company wants to work with businesses looking to launch tokenized securities. In order to do this, Circle needs a regulatory framework that can support both crypto commodities and crypto securities. Cryptocurrency companies do not currently have regulatory authority to trade such securities, though many are pursuing licenses that will allow them to do so.

Nolens, for her part, thinks the next year will be devoted to understanding the regulatory situation rather than receiving clear regulatory guidance.

Circle is participating in regulatory meetings worldwide, Nolens said, noting that regulators are keeping an open mind and viewing things globally.

Also read: Goldman Sachs-backed crypto giant Circle seeks a U.S. banking license

Regulatory Challenges Ahead

Companies that manage cryptocurrency transactions in the U.S. are currently regulated as money transmitter businesses at the state level, which forces them to comply with dozens of different regulatory regimes that often make it difficult to operate in many states.

Federal banking licenses preempt state regulations, so they would enable firms to operate under one set of guidelines. The licenses also allow companies to provide FDIC-insured accounts to customers, removing the need for a banking partner, a difficult task for companies facilitating cryptocurrency trading.

Circle, which recently concluded a $10 million funding round, has positioned its crypto investment service offerings by acquiring Poloniex, a bitcoin exchange, and introducing a pair of services: Circle Invest to support retail crypto trading and Circle Trade to support institutional crypto trading.

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