SEC spins out digital assets-focused FinHub into standalone agency

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The department that focuses on emerging technologies including digital currencies within the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is spinning out into a standalone office. The move is geared towards giving the SEC a better foothold of the ever-changing tech ecosystem, allowing it to protect investors better.

In a press release, the SEC revealed that the Strategic Hub for Innovation and Financial Technology, popular as FinHub, is now a standalone office. Valerie Szczepanik will continue leading the office, reporting directly to SEC chair Jay Clayton.

The SEC launched FinHub in October 2018, with Szczepanik serving as its first head. Szczepanik had been the SEC’s senior advisor for digital assets and innovation. Pro-digital currency SEC director of division of corporate finance Bill Hinman was the driving force behind the initiative. As CoinGeek reported, Hinman will be leaving his position at the end of 2020.

The SEC believes that spinning out FinHub strengthens its ability to foster innovation in emerging technologies. FinHub will still lead the agency’s efforts in analyzing how emerging tech affects the securities industry and engaging with market participants. Szczepanik will also coordinate cooperation with global regulators, while keeping her role as the SEC’s advisor on emerging tech.

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In his remarks, Clayton reiterated the SEC’s commitment to fostering innovation while protecting investors. The SEC chair will be leaving the watchdog when his term ends at the end of this year.

Clayton remarked, “Our action to establish FinHub as standalone office furthers our commitment to facilitate the introduction of new technologies for the benefit of investors and the efficiency and resiliency of our markets. The agency is fortunate to benefit from Val’s expertise and deep knowledge in the areas of innovation, financial technology and investor protection, and I’m pleased she will continue to lead FinHub as its first director.”

On her part, Szczepanik believes the spin out reflects the evolution and expansion of the scope and complexity of FinHub’s work.

“This organizational shift will facilitate the agency’s agility and flexibility to work with market participants and regulators worldwide, and to encourage leading-edge innovation that will shape the intersection between the federal securities laws and technology,” she stated.

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