Prometheum Taps Morgan Stanley Exec as CFO Just Before Opening Doors

The much-debated crypto firm hired an experienced Wall Street hand who handled regulatory policy in his last job and also worked for Goldman Sachs and Fidelity.

AccessTimeIconMar 4, 2024 at 3:56 p.m. UTC
Updated Mar 12, 2024 at 5:41 p.m. UTC

Controversial crypto platform Prometheum continues to signal its seriousness about moving forward as the industry's sole U.S. special-purpose crypto broker-dealer, having now hired a chief financial officer with a Wall Street pedigree from the likes of Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Albert Meo was Morgan Stanley's executive director for regulatory policy and boasts a long career in mainstream finance with firms that also include Fidelity Investments and Nomura. Prometheum's new CFO has also served on an advisory board at the securities industry's internal standards organization, the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA).

He joins Prometheum as it's trying to navigate the first days of its crypto custody operations, which the company said will soon start with holding Ethereum's ether (ETH) for its customers, though it hasn't yet disclosed the names of any institutions that'll do business there. The ultimate goal is handling custody, trading and clearing of crypto securities in one place that's already fully registered and aims to be compliant with U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rules.

It's in that theoretical compliance where Prometheum is at odds with the vast majority of other crypto-native firms, who have long claimed the SEC makes it impossible to legally trade digital assets under the agency's expectation that the sector follow existing securities laws. Most of the major crypto operations have fought or are still fighting the regulator in court over these questions, including the SEC's insistence that most of the digital assets being traded by the industry are securities.

Prometheum's founders started the company under the assumption that it's possible and correct to follow the SEC's commandments and treat crypto as securities.

"It’s an exciting juncture in Prometheum’s trajectory to be joining the firm," Meo, who is a certified public accountant, said in a statement. "The company's commitments to compliance and innovation are perfectly suited for my professional values and skills alike."

Meo began his financial career as an accountant at Price Waterhouse about 40 years ago, according to his account on LinkedIn. His lengthy career has often put him in regulatory-reporting roles.

His newest employer's critics have loudly declared that institutions won't do business there and that Prometheum's trading approach won't meet regulatory muster, so the coming weeks may test who is right about how the SEC and the wider securities sector will treat the crypto startup.


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Jesse Hamilton

Jesse Hamilton is CoinDesk's deputy managing editor for global policy and regulation. He doesn't hold any crypto.