Thought leader Chris Brummer was named the 2022 Jones Day Professor in Commercial Law at Singapore Management University’s Yong Pung How School of Law. A prestigious honor, the professorship was established in 2012 and made possible by a $500,000 grant from the Jones Day Foundation, funded by the eponymous global law firm. It aims to streamline efforts to aid in the development of commercial law in the fast-growing market of Singapore.
According to the university, “The donation exemplifies Jones Day’s commitment to Singapore and the Asia Pacific region, which are an integral part of Jones Day’s Asian presence. The appointment follows the establishment of the Jones Day Chair Professorship for Globalization and Rule of Law at Peking University, China, in May 2012.”
Additionally, “The donation is the largest gift received by SMU from a law firm and will facilitate increased focus on the development of commercial law in Singapore, a market which is in continuous development and increasingly plays a global role as a hub for legal services to both regional and international clients in Asia.”
Brummer currently serves as the Agnes Williams Sesquicentennial Professor of Financial Technology at Georgetown University Law Center and faculty director at the Institute for International Economic Law. He’s sought after as an adviser for policymakers, founders, startups, and nonprofits on the unique challenges erupting in the world of finance, regulation, and inclusion.
The Georgetown professor has dedicated several years to public service and volunteer work across various government organizations. In 2016, he was nominated by President Barack Obama to serve as a commissioner on the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the U.S. regulator of derivatives. More recently, he served as a member of the Biden-Harris transition team, assisting in matters relating to financial technology, racial equity, and systemic risk.
Brummer also delivered the annual lecture at Singapore Management University on Dec. 1, 2022. The talk is titled “Regulation by Enforcement” and was based on a co-authored project with professors from Vanderbilt Law School and The Wharton School.
“[Brummer] will offer preliminary observations concerning its legality under U.S. law and provide an overview of the opportunities, trade-offs, and risks. He will then end by cataloging some best practices for global regulators, regardless of their jurisdiction,” explains SMU’s website.
Chris Brummer’s speech highlighted recent trends in the world of regulation. The arrival of disruptive technologies such as cryptocurrency and the challenges they present for regulators have given rise to a reactionary system of regulation termed regulation by enforcement. Regulation by enforcement is an approach that relies heavily on enforcement actions, such as fines and penalties, to ensure compliance with regulations. This reactive approach, although legal, can create a perception that regulators are overly punitive and can lead to an adversarial relationship between regulators and the community at large.
Recent cases like that of Coinbase, in which the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission asserted that at least nine out of 25 cryptocurrencies involved in an insider trading scheme were securities, have left the industry reeling. Instead of providing enough clarity on the issue, industry experts believe that the SEC is using enforcement actions to interpret broadly worded statutes.
In his lecture, Brummer analyzed the incentives facing agencies when choosing to regulate by enforcement while outlining the risks that arise with this style of creating rules. To aid in future endeavors, he also presented a framework of best practices that outline when agencies should regulate by rule and when they should regulate by enforcement.
Brummer is an established player at the forefront of discussions surrounding developments in finance, innovation, regulation, and inclusion. He hosts CQ Roll Call’s “Fintech Beat” weekly podcast and is the founder and host of D.C. Fintech Week, a yearly conference at which the best and brightest gather for discussions spanning the fintech ecosystem.