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Coinbase Taps BNY Mellon Vet to Head Global Compliance Efforts

Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:05 PM
Josiah Wilmoth
Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:05 PM

Cryptocurrency exchange and brokerage giant Coinbase has poached a BNY Mellon veteran to head the firm’s global compliance efforts as it seeks to ramp up its international operations and expand the range of assets supported on its platforms.

The San Francisco-based Coinbase on Tuesday announced that it had appointed Jeff Horowitz as its chief compliance officer.

Prior to joining Coinbase, Horowitz spent 12 years at Pershing — a BNY Mellon subsidiary that specializes in clearing, custody, and settlement — most recently as its managing director and global head of compliance. He also spent three years as director of corporate investment banking AML compliance at Citigroup and recorded stints at Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs, Salomon Brothers, and banking regulator FDIC.

“As Coinbase — along with the cryptocurrency space as a whole — grows and matures, continued regulatory compliance across all the varying jurisdictions globally will be critical,” Asiff Hirji, Coinbase’s president and COO, wrote in a statement. Hiring Jeff is recognition on our part that navigating compliance complexities on a global scale requires a concerted, cross-functional effort, guided by leaders with experience that spans policy, financial services, and corporate governance.”

According to the announcement, Horowitz’s hiring frees up Mike Lempres, Coinbase’s chief legal and risk officer, to “focus his resources exclusively” on leading the firm’s government relations efforts.

That’s notable because, as CCN.com reported, Coinbase has already begun to lay the groundwork for eventually listing security tokens and other cryptocurrencies that regulators deem to be securities.

Toward this end, the firm has made a series of acquisitions that will provide it with federal registration as a broker-dealer, registered investment advisor (RIA), and alternative trading system (ATS) under the oversight of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

Coinbase, which currently supports four assets (bitcoin, ethereum, bitcoin cash, and litecoin, with a fifth — ethereum classic — on the way), recently announced that it is “exploring” adding five new cryptocurrency tokens to its platform and is engaging with regulators in various jurisdictions about how to do so in a compliant manner.

The firm also recently established a political action committee (PAC), presumably to lobby on behalf of the cryptocurrency industry amidst what many have characterized as an uncertain regulatory climate in the U.S.

Featured Image from Coinbase