New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo plans to tap one of his longtime aides to serve as the state’s top financial regulator.
Cuomo said in a statement Jan. 4 that he will nominate Linda Lacewell, his current chief of staff and counsel, to serve as the next leader of the New York Department of Financial Services as part of a round of personnel changes at the start of his third term as governor. The nomination requires the New York state senate’s approval.
Lacewell, who oversees executive chamber and law enforcement matters for Cuomo, will take over for current New York Superintendent of Financial Services Maria Vullo. Vullo announced her intentions to leave her position late last month.
New York’s Department of Financial Services is one of the most powerful state financial regulators in the country, overseeing both banks and other financial firms as well as insurance companies operating in the state. Among the banks that the DFS oversees are some of the largest foreign banks operating in the U.S.
Since it opened in 2011, the DFS has hit several of those banks with billions of dollars-worth of fines for anti-money laundering and sanctions violations and other compliance failures.
The New York state regulator was also the first to regulate cryptocurrencies with the creation of the BitLicense and has taken a lead role in policing financial technology firms. It has also sued to stop the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency from issuing its own national fintech charters.
Lacewell has also served for nine years as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York. During her tenure there, she spent two years on the federal government’s Enron Task Force, which brought cases against the leaders of the failed energy firm.