Many organizations are working to understand emerging and financial technologies like cryptocurrencies, blockchain, and decentralized finance (DeFi) in a rapidly changing regulatory and public policy ecosystem while also managing existing legal, regulatory, public policy, and other risks.
Emerging and financial technologies have the potential to transform how we interact with the financial system, improve access to financial services, and lower costs. However, they also raise new issues for startups, established companies, and other organizations on public policy questions like preventing financial crimes (such as money laundering, terrorism financing, and economic sanctions evasion), protecting investors, and maintaining market integrity while addressing threats such as ransomware and other cyber-enabled crimes.
With fifteen years of experience in the public and private sectors, we have a demonstrated record of translating developments in DC and beyond into actionable advice and solutions to solve critical business challenges to help organizations navigate a complex web of regulators, policymakers, and other external stakeholders while also improving internal capabilities and processes.
Due to the current events in Afghanistan, we are also able to advise organizations on economic crisis response.
Alex Zerden is a trusted advisor helping organizations, including early- and growth-stage FinTech, digital asset, blockchain, and emerging technology companies, navigate complex regulatory, legal, public policy, and reputational issues.
As a regulatory lawyer, economic policymaker, and financial diplomat, Alex brings fifteen years of public and private sector experience at the intersection of financial services and law with a focus on financial regulation, anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT), economic sanctions, anti-corruption, financial enforcement and oversight investigations, economic crisis response, and public-private partnerships. During his time in government, Alex co-authored the Obama-Biden Administration's FinTech strategy while at the White House National Economic Council and also designed and launched FinCEN Exchange, the public-private information sharing partnership between financial regulators, law enforcement, and financial institutions.
Alex began his career representing U.S. and international victims of terrorism and human rights abuses to seek justice against terrorist organizations and their financial enablers. Since then, he has worked across the U.S. government to protect the financial system from abuse and promote economic growth, including at the Treasury Department, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), White House National Economic Council, House of Representatives, and Senate. From 2018-2019, Alex deployed to Afghanistan to lead the Treasury Department office at U.S. Embassy Kabul as a financial diplomat.
Alex most recently served in Congress as Legal Counsel to Majority Whip James Clyburn on the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis to ensure that the pandemic economic response is equitable, efficient, and effective. In this role, he investigated waste, fraud, and abuse related to over a trillion dollars in federal relief and conducted oversight of the Federal Reserve, Treasury Department, and financial institutions, including FinTechs. Alex has additional oversight and legislative experience in the U.S. Senate’s premier investigative body, the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI).
Alex has published extensively on issues involving AML/CFT, economic sanctions, anti-corruption, cybersecurity, and FinTech, including with the American Banker, Brookings Institution’s Lawfare Institute, Center for American Progress, New York University School of Law's Center on Law and Security, and other outlets.
Alex frequently lectures at law and graduate schools on financial regulation, countering illicit finance, international law, and global governance, including at American University and the Georgetown University Law Center.
Alex received his B.A., cum laude, from Tufts University, and his J.D., summa cum laude, from the American University Washington College of Law.