Coinbase Taps Morgan Stanley Lawyer to Head Enterprise Compliance

Ian Rooney clocked almost 10 years at Morgan Stanley.

Apr 1, 2021 at 11:22 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 12:34 p.m. UTC

Ahead of its public listing expected in April, U.S. cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has hired Morgan Stanley's global anti-money laundering counsel.

According to a report by Bloomberg Law on Wednesday, Ian Rooney will head Coinbase's enterprise compliance team to ensure a smooth run in the lead-up to the exchange's direct listing, recently pushed back from March to April.

Coinbase, like other large U.S. cryptocurrency exchanges, wants to appear completely above board in the eyes of regulators, particularly around sensitive areas like money laundering, which is often seen as naturally suited to crypto. The addition of Rooney should also be helpful as virtual asset firms face an onerous set of anti-money laundering (AML) rules courtesy of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), with progress to be reviewed in June.

Earlier this month, Coinbase's intentions for a direct listing reportedly faced a review by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Around the same time, it was reported Coinbase agreed to a $6.5 million settlement with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission over allegations the exchange “self-traded” digital assets between 2015 and 2018.

Rooney's hiring comes after the exchange nabbed former SEC official Brett Redfearn on Tuesday as the vice president of its capital markets division. Coinbase also has hired a former executive of payments company Stripe, Melissa Strait, in February to head its compliance efforts.

Coinbase Class A shares will be listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the ticker "COIN," and is expected sometime this month.

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