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LEADING FINTECH AND PAYMENTS ATTORNEY JOINS BAKERHOSTETLER

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LEADING FINTECH AND PAYMENTS ATTORNEY JOINS BAKERHOSTETLER

Noted authority on anti-money laundering compliance and data security Carol Van Cleef becomes partner in the firm’s D.C. office

BakerHostetler is pleased to announce that Carol Van Cleef has joined the firm as a partner in the Washington, D.C., office. Van Cleef is an authority on the regulation of financial technology (FinTech), including emerging and alternative payments systems, digital currencies and blockchain technologies as well as anti-money laundering, sanctions, and privacy and data security compliance. She becomes the newest member of the firm’s Financial Services Industry and Privacy and Data Protection Teams. She joins BakerHostetler from Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, where she was chair of the firm’s global payments practice.

Van Cleef provides counsel to the full spectrum of financial services businesses from banks, securities firms, insurance companies and money services businesses operating globally to emerging FinTech companies, payment processors, prepaid access providers, virtual currency wallets and exchanges, and blockchain and other software developers, among others. She also advises leading retailers, payment processors and prepaid access program providers and sellers. She advises on structuring and operating business models to address key legal and regulatory considerations; developing and enhancing anti-money laundering compliance programs whether required by the Bank Secrecy Act or suggested for mitigating risk under federal criminal statute and the Office of Foreign Assets Control; preparing for examinations by federal banking regulators, the Internal Revenue Service (for money services businesses) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; and addressing federal and state regulatory enforcement actions.

“I’ve built a practice that focuses on the complex intersection of federal and state laws, regulations and regulatory expectations that financial services companies confront daily, including electronic payments, data security, AML compliance and state licensing requirements. I’ve worked with technology companies in the financial services space long before FinTech became such a buzzword. BakerHostetler has established itself as a leader in the privacy and data security space, and has tremendous depth and experience in servicing both financial services and technology companies. My practice complements those capabilities, particularly in regard to payments and blockchain and other ledger-based technologies as well as the burgeoning RegTech space,” said Van Cleef.

A certified anti-money laundering specialist (CAMS), Van Cleef created a series of AML compliance training programs sponsored by the Conference of State Bank Supervisors and attended by state regulators, executives from domestic and foreign banks, securities firms, MSBs, and other entities. She also developed and leads an AML Compliance Bootcamp for Virtual Currency and Blockchain Businesses.

“We have built a Privacy and Data Protection Team with collaborative people who have broad capabilities and deep experience and we are incredibly excited to add Carol to the team,” said Ted Kobus leader of BakerHostetler’s Privacy and Data Protection Team. “Blockchain technology and alternative payments issues confront clients inside and outside of financial services these days, and Carol’s solution-driven counsel is widely sought. Also, with cyberattacks continuing at a rapid pace – including those involving ransomware – Carol’s global payments and anti-money laundering expertise will further our position as a first choice for support related to breach responses.”

“Carol’s experience greatly enhances the firm’s legal capabilities in the financial services and banking industries,” said Brett Wall, leader of BakerHostetler’s Financial Services Industry team. “We are particularly excited about Carol’s thought leadership in the FinTech space – from cross-border money transmission and payment processing to crypto currencies and blockchain technologies —just to name a few.”

“Carol is one of those outstanding lawyers who spends most of her time innovating for and with clients to help them achieve their goals and to drive change. We are incredibly excited to be working with Carol in these fast-evolving areas that create significant opportunities for our clients,” said Jeffrey Paravano, managing partner of BakerHostetler’s Washington, D.C., office.

Van Cleef serves on the advisory board of the Chamber of Digital Commerce. She is also on the board of a gold-backed digital currency system and a regulatory incubator, and on the advisory board of X-Mode Social Inc., which launched the mobile app Drunk Mode. She is a member of the Association of Anti-Money Laundering Specialists and the American Bar Association, and a past president of Women in Housing and Finance.

Van Cleef received her J.D. from American University Washington College of Law and a B.S.F.S. from Georgetown University.

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Sunak to use budget to expand apprenticeships in England

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Sunak to use budget to expand apprenticeships in England 1

LONDON (Reuters) – British finance minister Rishi Sunak will announce more funding for apprenticeships in England when he unveils his budget next week, the government said on Friday.

Employers taking part in the Apprenticeship Initiative Scheme will from April 1 receive 3,000 pounds ($4,179) for each apprentice hired, regardless of age – an increase on current grants of between 1,500 and 2,000 pounds depending on age.

The scheme will extended by six months until the end of September, the finance ministry said.

Sunak will also announce an extra 126 million pounds for traineeships for up to 43,000 placements.

Sunak’s March 3 budget will likely include a new round of spending to prop up the economy during what he hopes will be the last phase of lockdown, but he will also probably signal tax rises ahead to plug the huge hole in the public finances.

Sunak is also expected to announce a “flexi-job” apprenticeship scheme, whereby apprentices can join an agency and work for multiple employers in one sector, the finance ministry said.

“We know there’s more to do and it’s vital this continues throughout the next stage of our recovery, which is why I’m boosting support for these programmes, helping jobseekers and employers alike,” Sunak said in a statement.

(Reporting by Andy Bruce, editing by David Milliken)

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UK seeks G7 consensus on digital competition after Facebook blackout

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UK seeks G7 consensus on digital competition after Facebook blackout 2

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain is seeking to build a consensus among G7 nations on how to stop large technology companies exploiting their dominance, warning that there can be no repeat of Facebook’s one-week media blackout in Australia.

Facebook’s row with the Australian government over payment for local news, although now resolved, has increased international focus on the power wielded by tech corporations.

“We will hold these companies to account and bridge the gap between what they say they do and what happens in practice,” Britain’s digital minister Oliver Dowden said on Friday.

“We will prevent these firms from exploiting their dominance to the detriment of people and the businesses that rely on them.”

Dowden said recent events had strengthened his view that digital markets did not currently function properly.

He spoke after a meeting with Facebook’s Vice-President for Global Affairs, Nick Clegg, a former British deputy prime minister.

“I put these concerns to Facebook and set out our interest in levelling the playing field to enable proper commercial relationships to be formed. We must avoid such nuclear options being taken again,” Dowden said in a statement.

Facebook said in a statement that the call had been constructive, and that it had already struck commercial deals with most major publishers in Britain.

“Nick strongly agreed with the Secretary of State’s (Dowden’s) assertion that the government’s general preference is for companies to enter freely into proper commercial relationships with each other,” a Facebook spokesman said.

Britain will host a meeting of G7 leaders in June.

It is seeking to build consensus there for coordinated action toward “promoting competitive, innovative digital markets while protecting the free speech and journalism that underpin our democracy and precious liberties,” Dowden said.

The G7 comprises the United States, Japan, Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Canada, but Australia has also been invited.

Britain is working on a new competition regime aimed at giving consumers more control over their data, and introducing legislation that could regulate social media platforms to prevent the spread of illegal or extremist content and bullying.

(Reporting by William James; Editing by Gareth Jones and John Stonestreet)

 

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Britain to offer fast-track visas to bolster fintechs after Brexit

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Britain to offer fast-track visas to bolster fintechs after Brexit 3

By Huw Jones

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain said on Friday it would offer a fast-track visa scheme for jobs at high-growth companies after a government-backed review warned that financial technology firms will struggle with Brexit and tougher competition for global talent.

Finance minister Rishi Sunak said that now Britain has left the European Union, it wants to make sure its immigration system helps businesses attract the best hires.

“This new fast-track scale-up stream will make it easier for fintech firms to recruit innovators and job creators, who will help them grow,” Sunak said in a statement.

Over 40% of fintech staff in Britain come from overseas, and the new visa scheme, open to migrants with job offers at high-growth firms that are scaling up, will start in March 2022.

Brexit cut fintechs’ access to the EU single market and made it far harder to employ staff from the bloc, leaving Britain less attractive for the industry.

The review published on Friday and headed by Ron Kalifa, former CEO of payments fintech Worldpay, set out a “strategy and delivery model” that also includes a new 1 billion pound ($1.39 billion) start-up fund.

“It’s about underpinning financial services and our place in the world, and bringing innovation into mainstream banking,” Kalifa told Reuters.

Britain has a 10% share of the global fintech market, generating 11 billion pounds ($15.6 billion) in revenue.

The review said Brexit, heavy investment in fintech by Australia, Canada and Singapore, and the need to be nimbler as COVID-19 accelerates digitalisation of finance, all mean the sector’s future in Britain is not assured.

It also recommends more flexible listing rules for fintechs to catch up with New York.

“We recognise the need to make the UK attractive a more attractive location for IPOs,” said Britain’s financial services minister John Glen, adding that a separate review on listings rules would be published shortly.

“Those findings, along with Ron’s report today, should provide an excellent evidence base for further reform.”

SCALING UP

Britain pioneered “sandboxes” to allow fintechs to test products on real consumers under supervision, and the review says regulators should move to the next stage and set up “scale-boxes” to help fintechs navigate red tape to grow.

“It’s a question of knowing who to call when there’s a problem,” said Kay Swinburne, vice chair of financial services at consultants KPMG and a contributor to the review.

A UK fintech wanting to serve EU clients would have to open a hub in the bloc, an expensive undertaking for a start-up.

“Leaving the EU and access to the single market going away is a big deal, so the UK has to do something significant to make fintechs stay here,” Swinburne said.

The review seeks to join the dots on fintech policy across government departments and regulators, and marshal private sector efforts under a new Centre for Finance, Innovation and Technology (CFIT).

“There is no framework but bits of individual policies, and nowhere does it come together,” said Rachel Kent, a lawyer at Hogan Lovells and contributor to the review.

($1 = 0.7064 pounds)

(Reporting by Huw Jones; editing by Jane Merriman and John Stonestreet)

 

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