Securities lawyer and market regulator Gary Goldsholle has joined law firm Steptoe & Johnson as a partner after nearly four years as deputy director of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Trading and Markets. Goldsholle will work out of Steptoe's Washington office on financial services, public policy, blockchain and cryptocurrency matters. At the SEC, he was involved with nearly all aspects of the securities markets, including broker-dealer registration and sales practices, order routing and execution, and clearance and settlement. He also was a member of the SEC’s fintech working group and participated in the SEC’s orders pertaining to cryptocurrency trading platforms and bitcoin ETFs.
Mario Nava, head of Consob, the Italian market regulatory agency, stepped down in September only a few months after taking office. The resignation came after criticism from the coalition government that came to power in June. Nava, who was a senior official in the European Commission's financial services directorate before joining Consob, has returned to the Commission. He is currently in charge of the investment and company reporting department within DG FISMA.
Eurex promoted Vassilis Vergotis to global head of product design and strategy for the exchange's equity, index and digital asset products. Vergotis has been a senior executive in the exchange's U.S. operations for more than a decade, most recently serving as head of sales in the Americas. He will relocate from Chicago to Frankfurt.
In September Eurex announced that Michael Peters, the exchange's deputy chief executive, will take over responsibility for the exchange's equity and index derivatives business, while Erik Müller, the chief executive of Eurex Clearing, will head fixed income, funding and financing activities. The exchange explained that the new management structure reflects a decision announced in August to combine listed and OTC products along asset class lines. The exchange also announced the resignation of Mehtap Dinc, head of derivatives product development since 2012.
Separately, the exchange announced that Thomas Laux, chief risk officer at Eurex Clearing, has announced plans to leave the firm in 2019. A new CRO has not yet been named.
European Energy Exchange has made several changes to the governance of the exchange and its subsidiary European Commodity Clearing. EEX, which is part of the Deutsche Börse Group, said the reorganization was intended to establish "a more focused approach" in the management of the two lines of business, both of which are growing in size and complexity. Thomas Siegl, previously serving as chief risk officer for both EEX and ECC, will focus on his role at ECC and step down from his position on the management board of EEX. Separately, Iris Weidinger will leave the ECC management board to focus on her work as the chief financial officer of EEX. Steffen Köhler will leave the ECC management board to focus on his duties as chief operating officer of EEX. Götz Dittrich, one of ECC's clearing executives, will take over from Köhler as ECC's chief operating officer, subject to approval by German financial regulator BaFin. Dittrich joined the company in 2013 as the head of clearing strategy and has been in charge of risk operations and physical settlement since 2014. At the same time, the supervisory board extended the mandate of chief executive Peter Reitz by another five years. He will continue to serve as the CEO for both entities.
The Minneapolis Grain Exchange named its 2018-2019 public directors, appointing De’Ana Dow and Michael Dunn to two year terms on its board. Dow is a former senior staffer at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission who now works as partner and general counsel at Capitol Counsel, an advocacy and government relations firm based in Washington, D.C. Dunn is a former CFTC Commissioner who is now a senior policy advisor at the law firm of Steptoe & Johnson. They join previously appointed public directors Steve Fanady and Bradley Griffith, who are each starting the second year of two year terms. The board also elected officers and members of the executive committee, naming Murray Stahl chairperson, Kerry Melius the first vice chairperson, and Martin Farrell the second vice chairperson. Public directors Fanady and Griffith complete the executive committee.
Fidelity Investments named former Goldman Sachs executive Tom Jessop as head of Fidelity Digital Asset Services, a newly created arm that will create custody and trade execution services for digital assets. The new unit, which aims to go live in 2019, initially will provide custody for bitcoin and ethereum, focusing on institutional customers rather than retail. “We started exploring blockchain and digital assets several years ago, and those efforts have been successful in helping us understand and advance our thinking around cryptocurrencies,” Jessop said in a statement announcing the new unit. “The creation of Fidelity Digital Assets is the first step in a long-term vision to create a full-service enterprise-grade platform for digital assets.” Jessop previously was head of corporate business development for Fidelity, and before that served as president of distributed ledger technology firm Chain. Earlier in his career he was a managing director in the principal strategic investments department of Goldman Sachs.
Trading technology veteran Thomas Chippas has joined ErisX, the digital asset arm of Eris Exchange, and will serve as its chief executive officer. ErisX, which was launched in October and is planning to introduce futures on bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, is backed by several trading firms, venture capital investors and cryptocurrency firms including Cboe Global Markets, DRW, NEX Opportunities, TD Ameritrade, Virtu Financial and XR Trading. Chippas has more than 20 years of experience in electronic trading technology and has held senior roles at Citadel, Barclays and Deutsche Bank. Most recently he served as global head of quantitative execution at Citi.
ErisX also announced the hiring of Kelly Brown as its chief commercial officer. Brown joined the venture from CME Group, where he was head of intermediary, bank and membership segments. He previously worked at Bank of America and Cargill Investor Services. ErisX also named futures industry veteran Liz James as head of clearing, with responsibility for the plan to establish a clearinghouse for its futures contracts. James has previously served in senior operational roles at State Street, Barclays, Chase and the Bank of England. Lastly, ErisX hired Michael Piracci as senior counsel. He joined the venture from ScotiaBank, where he was director of compliance. Earlier in his career he worked at Barclays, the National Futures Association and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
Jeanine Hightower-Sellitto has joined digital asset exchange and custodian Gemini Trust as its managing director of operations. Hightower-Sellitto will lead Gemini's client services team that focuses on enhancing the Gemini platform experience for institutional investors. She joined Gemini in 2018 after serving as the chief operating officer at International Securities Exchange, the U.S. equity options exchange acquired by Nasdaq in 2016.
Bruce Tupper, a former executive at Intercontinental Exchange, has launched a new compliance and regulatory technology company for virtual currency called CoinRegTech. Tupper, who joined ICE in 2000 and was part of the team that launched its initial trading system, most recently served as president of ICE's data repository. His co-founders in the new venture are Virginia Persons, a former senior executive at Invesco, and Jason Rosso, a former senior technologist at ICE.
Julie Armstrong left CME Group to join Uptake, a Chicago-based firm that provides artificial intelligence-based analytics to industrial companies, as vice president of strategic market development. Armstrong previously served as CME's global head of market technology services.
Phuong Trinh has joined Jump Trading as its head of APAC legal and compliance. Trinh was previously vice president of APAC legal and policy for FIA.
Diederik Dorst has been named vice chairman of FIA's European Principal Traders Association, a group that represents 28 trading firms in Europe that trade their own capital in futures, options and equities markets worldwide. Dorst currently serves as global head of regulation and market structure at Flow Traders.
Blockchain technology and settlement infrastructure provider SETL appointed Philippe Morel as chief executive officer. He most recently worked at the Boston Consulting Group overseeing private and principal investment for Europe, and has 25 years of experience in financial services across the European markets. Former CEO Peter Randall will become president of SETL and assist with international business, marketing and public relations going forward.
FIA regrets to report that John J. Conheeney, a member of FIA’s Futures Fall of Fame, passed away in early October. Conheeney was a 40-year veteran of the futures industry and was an early and vocal advocate for electronic trading at a time when open outcry was the dominant method of trading. He worked at Merrill Lynch Futures for most of his career and retired as its chief executive in 1994. He served on the board of the Chicago Board of Trade and the New York Mercantile Exchange, and was one of the founding board members of the National Futures Association. He also served as a longtime member of the FIA board of directors and was inducted into the Futures Hall of Fame in 2005.
“Today on behalf of FIA’s Board of Directors, members and staff we celebrate the life of John Conheeney and his many contributions to this industry,” FIA President and CEO Walt Lukken said on Oct. 10. “It is important that we recognize the people who laid the foundations of the modern futures industry.”
FIA also regrets to report that David Strachan, head of execution and clearing for UBS in Asia-Pacific and one of the most active and well-respected leaders in the region's listed derivatives industry, passed away in September. Strachan worked for J.P. Morgan for 20 years, then joined UBS in 2013 and led the bank’s APAC derivatives business from Hong Kong. He also served as the vice chairman of FIA's regional advisory board and as a member of the advisory board's executive committee.