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A nationally recognized thought leader in the securities industry, Christopher Gerold counsels national broker-dealers, investment advisers, coin-based exchanges, and emerging fintech companies on compliance with state and federal securities laws and self-regulatory organization rules. He both conducts internal investigations and defends corporate clients in enforcement actions by state securities regulators, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Chris became an authority on securities regulation and crypto-related enforcement matters in his role as Chief of the New Jersey Bureau of Securities (BOS) from 2017 to 2021. Under his leadership, the BOS filed some of the earliest crypto-enforcement actions, including the March 2018 action against the Steven Seagal promoted initial coin offering (ICO) of Bitcoiin. During Chris’ tenure as Chief, the BOS filed 23 crypto- and DeFi-related enforcement actions, including cases against BlockFi, Inc. and its affiliates for selling $15 billion of unregistered securities in the form of interest-bearing crypto- accounts; and against Celsius Network LLC in 2021 for selling $14 billion of unregistered securities in the form of interest-bearing crypto-accounts.
Chris was also an active leader for many years in the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA). In 2018, as Chair of its enforcement section, he led “Operation Cryptosweep,” where securities regulators from more than 40 jurisdictions throughout North America participated in more than 330 inquiries and investigations and at least 85 enforcement actions related to ICOs or cryptocurrency investment products. From 2019 to 2020, he served as NASAA’s president, engaging with SEC Commissioners and FINRA leadership on various rulemaking and policies, including the SEC’s Regulation Best Interest. Chris also led the organization’s COVID-19 Enforcement Task Force, consisting of more than 44 state and provincial securities regulators, which initiated more than 250 investigations and enforcement actions against fraudulent investment offerings seeking to profit from the pandemic.
Chris’ prior experience in private practice includes serving as counsel in the Financial Services Regulatory and Litigation Group of a leading New Jersey law firm. He began his legal career as a Deputy Attorney General in New Jersey’s Office of the Attorney General in the Securities Fraud Prosecution Section, where he was a lead trial attorney in securities fraud enforcement actions in state and administrative courts. While in that role, he prosecuted such claims as penny stock manipulation, the improper sale of unregistered securities, and other frauds.