Coinbase Crypto Exchange Onboards Fannie Mae’s Brian Brooks as New Chief Legal Counsel

Coinbase Crypto Exchange Announces a New Chief Legal Counsel

Coinbase announced that it had hired Brian Brooks, a finance executive, as its chief legal counsel. The hiring of Mr. Brooks comes as the crypto exchange expands its compliance-related functions amid intensifying scrutiny by regulatory bodies into the emerging crypto markets.

Mr. Brooks served most recently as the executive VP, corporate secretary and lead counsel at Fannie Mae, an American mortgage finance firm. In his previous role, he managed the firm’s legal department along with the government-relations section. He also performed an advisory role to both the board of directors and CEO of Fannie Mae.

Coinbase, which is among the biggest crypto exchanges in the world, said that the arrival of Mr. Brooks would help them expand their legal, government affairs, and compliance capabilities. Brian Armstrong, the Coinbase CEO, noted that Mr. Brooks would bring a lot of much-needed expertise in matters relating to compliance as the exchange moves towards strengthening its place in the crypto industry.

According to Coinbase, the previous risk and legal manager at Coinbase, Mike Lempres, will still have a role to play in the organization. Even though he has been moved from heading the legal department, Mike will now shift his emphasis on helping to grow the firm’s government affairs section.

Regulators Focusing on Crypto Markets

This new appointment by Coinbase comes as governments and regulators begin increasing their emphasis on crypto markets. There has been a considerable rise in interest from investors about crypto investments over the last 18 months, and regulators want to ensure that the consumer rights of these investors are protected. The adverse effects on the consumers, economy and financial system in general associated with failure of any financial institution necessitate sound regulatory practices to ensure that crypto firms are safe to use.

According to reports from the AG’s office in New York, a few crypto exchanges suffer from lack of adequate consumer protections, conflicts of interests along with lack of market surveillance. In April, Coinbase was among the 13 platforms that were told to share financial information regarding their practices with the AG’s office.

The reports noted that various platforms were engaging in prop trading where the firms were earning profits from market trades, instead of from the low-margin commissions from handling trades. Coinbase has not yet commented on those reports by the AG’s office, but it is expected to disclose that it does not participate in any form of proprietary trading.


The hire of Brian Brooks that was announced yesterday follows the appointment of multiple other former finance managers to lead compliance posts at Coinbase. In July, the firm hired an executive who used to work at Pershing LLC to act as its primary compliance officer.

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