Daniel S. Alter is a pioneer in the legal FinTech sector, having come to the field as an accomplished financial regulator, complex civil litigator (with a specialty in appellate litigation), and a director of a business/trading group at a global investment bank.
Before serving as general counsel and chief compliance officer for the first New York State-chartered trust company providing blockchain systems for post-trade settlement and custody services, as well as a virtual currency exchange to its clients, Mr. Alter was the first general counsel for the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS). He was the agency’s chief legal officer, responsible for department-wide oversight of regulatory and licensing matters, criminal and civil enforcement operations, proposed legislation, and internal administrative functions. In that role, Mr. Alter was the principal legal counsel and a strategic advisor to the New York State Superintendent of Financial Services regarding state, national, and international banking, insurance, capital markets, real estate finance, and consumer protection issues. Among other duties, he directed or co-directed ground-breaking DFS initiatives in virtual currency regulation, anti-money laundering and international sanctions enforcement, global investigations into FX rate manipulation, and industry-wide reform for independent consulting firm practices. In connection with DFS regulatory enforcement actions, Mr. Alter assisted in the appointment and supervision of numerous independent monitors and consultants retained by financial institutions to remedy corporate misconduct and failed compliance systems.
After leaving DFS, Mr. Alter has served as an adjunct professor and senior fellow at New York University Law School, teaching corporate compliance and enforcement. He is a widely published author and speaker in matters of Fintech Regulation and financial services compliance, and is an Advisor to the American Law Institute’s Principles of the Law, Compliance, Enforcement, and Risk Management for Corporations, Nonprofits, and Other Organizations.
Mr. Alter’s government service extends far beyond DFS. He was Senior Advisor and Special Counsel to the New York State Attorney General, where he helped formulate policy and litigation strategy for major law enforcement initiatives across all divisions of the office. He also co-directed the Attorney General’s investigation and enforcement program regarding systemic fraud in the Residential Mortgage Backed Securities market and nationwide mortgage foreclosure abuses.
For almost eight years, Mr. Alter was also an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, culminating as deputy and acting chief of the Civil Division. He has extensive experience in all levels of federal and state litigation involving constitutional, regulatory, administrative, and anti-terrorism law, having argued extensively before both trial and appellate courts. During his tenure as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, Mr. Alter directed the federal government’s participation in civil litigation arising from the September 11th terrorist attacks, and, as lead attorney, won a $4.3 billion judgment for the United States Government in connection with regulatory and bankruptcy challenges to the Federal Communication Commission’s auction program for radio spectrum.
On the private-sector side, Mr. Alter was previously a litigation partner at a major international law firm, where he focused on complex commercial and appellate litigation. Outside the practice of law, he was the chief risk analyst and trader for a specialized investment group at a global investment bank. There, he was responsible for deploying a $100 million capital allocation and managed a $500 million book of business.
In addition, Mr. Alter spent several years of his career in the nonprofit sector as the national director for civil rights for one of the leading, historic human relations organizations in the United States.
Early in his career, Mr. Alter clerked for United States Circuit Judges John M. Walker, Jr. and Guido Calabresi, both of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.