FinTech Forum: The Convergence of Finance, Technology, and the Law


The Center for Law, Economics and Finance hosted its first FinTech Forum: The Convergence of Finance, Technology, and the LawCo-sponsored by White & Case, KPMG, the Electronic Transactions Association, and the American Banker, the conference featured industry leaders, academic experts, government regulators, and legal scholars to discuss the future of new disruptive financial technologies and what it means for the law.


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Keynote Speaker

Suresh Ramamurthi, Chairman & CTO, CBW Bank
American Banker's Innovator of the Year for 2015

Suresh Ramamurthi is chairman and CTO of CBW Bank. He leads CBW Bank’s initiatives to support and foster innovation, including working with financial services start-ups that serve the unbanked and underbanked. He is also the founder and CEO of Yantra Financial Technologies, a fintech company that developed the ONE Card payment tool.

A veteran technology entrepreneur, Ramamurthi has founded and exited two start-ups, and has previously worked at Google Inc. His first start-up, PowerFax, developed wireless technology that became the basis for the ubiquitous “guide button” on television remote controls.

He has a bachelor’s degree in electronics and communication engineering, a master’s degree in computer science, and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Chicago.

Agenda & Videos

9:15 – 9:20 am: Welcome Remarks

Neil Ruiz, Executive Director, GW Center for Law, Economics, & Finance

9:20 – 9:25 am: Dean’s Welcome | Video

Blake D. Morant, Dean and Robert Kramer Research Professor of Law, GW Law

9:25 – 9:45 am: Introductory Dialogue | Video

  • Kevin Petrasic, Partner, White & Case LLP
  • Philippe Gelis, CEO, Kantox

9:45 – 11 am: Panel 1 - Banks as Incubators of Innovation | Video
Over the past year, banks have made significant investments in FinTech by creating technology incubators and by acquiring FinTech companies. The products and services developed through these investments cover a wide range of markets and sometimes do not even have a clear connection to banking. How do banks analyze the value of and potential legal issues arising from these investments? Do banks see FinTech as complementary to existing services or are they looking to replace existing products and systems? What unexpected benefits and innovations have already been realized?  


David Wessel, Senior Fellow and Director of The Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy, The Brookings Institution


  • Garry Reeder, Director, BlackRock
  • Adam ShapiroManaging Director, Promontory
  • Benjamin Saul, Partner, White & Case LLP
  • Seth Wheeler, Managing Director, Strategy, JPMorgan Chase

11:15 am – 12:30 pm: Panel 2 - Blockchain Banking and Digital Finance | Video
Blockchain transactions promise settlements that are instantaneous, cryptographically secure, and publicly verified—all without the need for a trusted financial institution intermediary. FinTech innovations such as virtual banking, cloud funding, and digital payments are also starting to fill some roles traditionally played by banks. This panel will explore the potential of these technologies to meet the needs of regulators (algorithmic regulation and enhanced cybersecurity); banks (reduced cost and greater efficiency); and consumers (convenience and privacy). How do blockchain and other innovations differ from existing technologies? Will FinTech improve data privacy and security or introduce new risks to the system? Do blockchain and public ledgers replace the elements of trust and accountability in the banking relationship? Will banks integrate these new technologies into existing systems or create radically restructured systems?


Sigrid Inken Seibold, Partner, KPMG


  • Michael Abramowicz, Professor of Law, GW Law
  • Jerry Brito, Executive Director, Coin Center
  • Patrick Murck, Fellow, Berkman Center at Harvard University
  • Helen Wong, Attorney, Federal Trade Commission

1:15 – 2 pm: Keynote Address | Video

Suresh Ramamurthi, Chairman and CTO, CBW Bank
American Banker’s Innovator of the Year for 2015

2 – 3:15 pm: Panel 3 - Will “FinTech Banks” Rule the World? | Video
FinTech companies are developing products that accelerate financial services innovation. These products both depend on and compete with services provided by banks. As these two different groups converge, will we see an emerging model of cooperative or disruptive competition? Are the service providers becoming banks, and the banks becoming service providers? How can these two groups of divergent stakeholders—the regulated versus the previously unregulated—effectively work together? Will FinTech products be subject to the same regulation as bank services? Since they are not restricted by borders, are FinTech products subject to potentially conflicting regulations in all states and across international jurisdictions?


Jason Oxman, CEO, Electronic Transactions Association


  • Cherian Abraham, Senior Business Consultant, Experian
  • Philippe Gelis, CEO, Kantox
  • Mamta Rodrigues, Senior Vice President, Synchrony Financial
  • Jeanine Wright, General Counsel, ZestFinance

3:30 – 4:45 pm: Panel 4 - The Role of Regulation: Benefit vs. Burden | Video
Contrary to expectations, the New York BitLicense experience shows that innovators sometimes seek out regulation. Through an informal debate, the panelists will explore the benefits and burdens of regulation in the FinTech space. Questions to be considered include: Does regulation lend legitimacy to new technologies? What are the lessons learned by regulators on the FinTech forefront? Should regulators have a role in developing standards and increasing interoperability? Would proactive regulators engaged in industrial policy expedite or hinder innovation? Is coordination among domestic and international regulators necessary to address cross-border issues?


Marc Hochstein, Editor in Chief, American Banker


  • Lawrence Baxter, William B. McGuire Professor of the Practice of Law, Duke School of Law
  • Jacob Farber, General Counsel, R3CEV
  • Amy S. Friend, Chief Counsel, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
  • Kevin Petrasic, Partner, White & Case LLP

4:45 – 5 pm: Closing Remarks | Video

Neil Ruiz, Executive Director, GW Center for Law, Economics, & Finance



This event is co-sponsored by White & Case LLP, KPMG, the Electronic Transactions Association, and the American Banker.