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Inaugural Meeting of District of Columbia Financial Services Regulatory Sandbox and Innovation Council Set for December 18

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Washington, DC—On the heels of Mayor Muriel Bowser’s appointment of 19 members to a new council charged with assessing the viability of a financial services regulatory sandbox, the group’s inaugural meeting has been scheduled. The District of Columbia Financial Services Regulatory Sandbox and Innovation Council will hold its first meeting on Wednesday, December 18, 2019 at 3 p.m. at the offices of the District of Columbia Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking (DISB), 1050 First Street NE, Suite 801. The meeting is open to the public.

The Council is charged with two primary missions for the District: (1) studying and reporting on the feasibility of implementing a financial services regulatory sandbox; and (2) developing a blockchain and innovation regulatory framework to facilitate financial services. If a sandbox is feasible, the Council will provide a report with legislative, programmatic and policy recommendations to the Mayor.

The Council is chaired by DISB Commissioner Stephen C. Taylor.

“Actionable innovation is key for industry growth, particularly in the financial sector where it translates into more affordable products and services and new distribution channels that reach excluded groups,” said Commissioner Taylor. “Regulatory sandboxes benefit consumers by providing proof of concept, making it possible to create services with better compliance and risk-management approaches.”

In addition to fostering innovation and competition, a sandbox can help District regulators understand how innovative firms are evolving and can adapt regulatory rules, if appropriate, to better suit the evolving landscape while protecting consumers. A sandbox also will allow the use of technology to streamline and innovate the District’s regulatory operations, which could further benefit financial services providers and consumers.

The membership of the Council calls for a cross section of professionals from the insurance, securities, captive insurance and banking industries; consumer representatives; technology industry members; and financial services regulatory professionals.

Appointees are expected to serve until November 1, 2022:

Shahar Abrams is a Managing Consultant in the IBM Public Sector Blockchain practice. Mr. Abrams specializes in blockchain technology application, strategic management and data analytics. He also has experience in blockchain use-case discovery within the healthcare sector.

Omar Al-Alami is a multi-disciplinary banker and FinTech professional. He has built his career around delivering inclusive products in lending and payments. He was a pioneer in operating payment channels between the United States and the Middle East.

Julian Alcazar is a Senior Financial Institution Policy Analyst for Retail Payments in the Division of Reserve Bank Operations and Payment Systems at the Federal Reserve Board. Mr. Alcazar’s work focuses on helping oversee the policies and operations of the Federal Reserve Banks.

Marquis Allen is the Principal for Clintech Consulting, LLC where he runs the blockchain development teams for healthcare IT startups. He also serves as Chairman for the Healthcare Working Group with the Government Blockchain Association and as contributor for the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society 2020 Blockchain Task Force.

B. Salman Banaei is the Executive Director and Global Head of Clearance and Settlement at IHS Markit. Mr. Banaei is responsible for new clearance and settlement ventures utilizing distributed ledger technology.

Elizabeth A. Eurgubian is the Deputy Chief Advocacy Officer and Senior Counsel for Regulatory and Executive Branch Relations at the Credit Union National Association (CUNA). In this position, she leads CUNA’s advocacy efforts before federal regulators and the administration.

Jigar Gandhi is an Associate on the Faegre Baker Daniels Insurance team and uses his trade association and regulatory background to guide his clients through a variety of insurance matters. Mr. Gandhi also served as counsel at the American Council of Life Insurers as subject matter authority on privacy, cybersecurity, InsurTech, ORSA, FINRA and state securities issues.

Thomas Hampton is a senior advisor with Dentons' Insurance Regulatory practice. Mr. Hampton has over twenty-five years of experience in insurance regulation, operations, financial management, audit and investigations. Prior to his position at Dentons, Mr. Hampton previously served as the DISB Commissioner.

Renée J. Johnson manages Small Business Majority’s federal policy and government affairs, leading the organization’s outreach and educational efforts to small business owners and business groups in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Lara Kaplan is an England and Wales qualified lawyer working in the Fintech Group at Paul Hastings and is based in the firm’s Washington, DC office. Her practice focuses on financial services regulation, FinTech, cryptoassets and payment systems.

Drew Maloney is the President and CEO of the American Investment Council. Mr. Maloney is a leading government affairs expert with more than 25 years of experience in the public and private sectors.

Casey Mauldin is the chief lending officer for Next Generation “NXG” Bank (in formation) headquartered in Columbia, MD. Prior to his position at NXG, Mr. Mauldin served as the CEO of Moxy Bank.

Treasure McClain is an attorney at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation with experience in international coordination and resolution planning of global complex financial institutions and systemically important banks under Title I and Title II of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and the Federal Deposit Insurance Act.

Erica Miles is the Director of Diversity and Inclusion for the House Financial Services Committee. Ms. Miles was previously a Senior Analyst in the U.S. Government Accountability Office, where she led and contributed to various reviews in the financial market and housing sectors including nonbank mortgage servicing, access to banking services in border Southwest communities, and homeless assistance.

Lindsey Parker is the District of Columbia Chief Technology Officer, working to support practical, innovative policies and engagement models to help the District find new ways to remain competitive, diverse and innovative.

Courtney K. Robinson is a financial services policy expert and attorney based in Washington, DC. Ms. Robinson is the Financial Inclusion Lead for Square, Inc. where she works on issues critical to underserved communities and financial services policy development.

Joshua Rosenthal is an associate at Bredhoff & Kaiser, PLLC where he represents unions and benefit funds in litigation and related matters. His career is focused on advocating for broader economic opportunity and fairness.

Stephen C. Taylor is the DISB Commissioner and will serve as Council chair. Commissioner Taylor is the chief regulator of the District of Columbia’s financial-services industries, including insurance companies and their representatives; captive insurance companies; state-chartered banks; mortgage lenders and brokers and other non-depository financial institutions; and securities broker-dealers and investment advisors.

Joseph Vardner is the Director and Compliance Manager in Wholesale Banking for Wells Fargo and the antitrust regulatory source owner. Before joining Wells Fargo, Mr. Vardner worked at a top global law firm and the U.S. Department of Justice's Antitrust Division.

DISB Mission

Our mission is three-fold: (1) cultivate a regulatory environment that protects consumers and attracts and retains financial services firms to the District; (2) empower and educate residents; and (3) support the development and expansion of business.