Upon leaving the major crypto exchange Coinbase, Brian Brooks, now a US banking regulator, took with him millions of dollars.
Brooks had served as Chief Legal Officer (CLO) of Coinbase between September 2018 and March 2020. He headed the legal, compliance, audit, investigations, and government relations functions for the company. Concurrently, for a year, starting March 2019, he also served as a Member of the Board of Directors at the Federal National Mortgage Association, commonly known as Fannie Mae. During his time at the exchange, he received a salary of USD 1.4 million, separate from the stock options, reports Bloomberg. Meanwhile, while at Fannie Mae, he received another USD 1.5 million.
Upon his exit, Brooks liquidated USD 4.6 million in Coinbase stock options, writes Bloomberg.
Former CLO decided to leave that position for one in the US government, specifically one of the interim head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) – an independent bureau within the United States Department of the Treasury, established in 1863 to regulate national banks, thrift institutions, and federally licensed branches of foreign banks.
Utilizing the experience gained at Coinbase and other tech firms, Brooks says he wants to push a financial technology agenda at the agency, which includes opening up banking charters for tech firms. “I think we can charter a number of institutions, some of whom are current applicants that have their roots in technology,” Brooks is quoted as saying.
He also stated that fintech firms that want to do business across the country find it difficult to answer to 50 state-based regulators, and that, therefore, a national financial system is needed. He believes OCC is the platform for accomplishing just that.
Brooks earns USD 300,000 a year now, and he has between USD 1 million and USD 2.2 million in stocks and bonds.
Being an acting controller, not yet nominated by the President to seek Senate confirmation, his ability to work in lobbying after he leaves the job is not limited, but he submitted a letter naming the companies and tech firms he would not get involved with due to potential conflicts of interest, including Coinbase, Amazon, Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch division, and others.