The financial technology industry has experienced rapid growth in recent years, presenting businesses, venture capitalists and other investors in this sector with a host of opportunities and challenges. Cleary Gottlieb has been at the forefront of these developments, and our FinTech practice has guided clients through the complex transactional, regulatory and governance issues associated with innovation in financial services.

Our Leading Work 

Cleary’s leadership in this area is most recently reflected by our helping itBit Trust Company become the first U.S.-chartered and regulated virtual currency exchange in 2015. itBit, a commercial Bitcoin exchange, received its trust company charter from the New York State Department of Financial Services in May 2015 after nearly a year of working closely with our team. We guided our client on the many complex and novel regulatory issues involved, including the application of anti-money laundering, capital requirements, consumer protection and cybersecurity standards in the context of virtual currency exchange activity. 

Our work for itBit follows other notable matters in this burgeoning sector, including representing NYSE Euronext in numerous mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures, capital markets offerings, financings and antitrust matters; a consortium of major financial institutions in launching FXall, the first electronic platform for institutional trading of spot & forward currency; Reuters in establishing FX MarketPlace, a joint venture with the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the first electronic trading platform with fully-integrated foreign currency clearing; and BrokerTec in several M&A transactions. 

Our Capabilities 

Whether it’s venture capitalists and established players or industry startups, Cleary’s diverse range of capabilities ensures efficiency and synergy among all relevant constituencies. Our experience includes:

  • Advising on the corporate structure and regulatory issues that face financial and technology companies, including the myriad regulatory issues that particularly face companies engaged in financial transactions. These issues may involve specific state and federal regulations governing banking and trust operations and relationships, anti-money laundering and foreign asset controls, holding companies, trading and market regulation, taxation, and consumer protections;
  • Advising on intellectual property issues that are uniquely implicated in financial technology transactions and companies;
  • Advising on all phases of the investment life cycle, from pre-IPO financings to virtually any type of venture capital, IPO, M&A or dual-track exit strategies;
  • Resolving the most difficult exit-related structuring issues;
  • Navigating complex regulatory regimes during various rounds of financing; and
  • Negotiating all critical provisions related to financing documentation, including those related to governance, registration rights and other areas and ensuring that no provision attracts unnecessary regulatory scrutiny.

Our Team 

Our FinTech practice consists of Cleary partners with a wealth of transactional and regulatory experience from both private practice and government service, with team members previously serving as the FDIC’s general counsel, the SEC’s general counsel and two former directors of the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance. They repeatedly have been recognized for their work by The American Lawyer, Chambers (Global and USA editions), IFLR, The Legal 500 U.S., Turnarounds & Workouts and other publications.

Cleary’s culture of collegiality and collaboration allows us to focus on achieving the best results for clients by tapping into the knowledge of all of our lawyers. As a result, we also provide integrated advice beyond financing, including issues related to corporate governance, economic sanctions and foreign investments, intellectual property, M&A, regulatory/banking, securities and commodities, tax, venture capital and other areas. Our lawyers’ deep industry knowledge, from financial institutions to the spectrum of technology sectors, provides added value to every engagement in this space.



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