Jennifer Schulp joins Cato as the CMFA's director of financial regulation studies, where she will work alongside Diego Zuluaga, our associate director of financial regulation studies, in researching ways that the U.S. can lower regulatory barriers to capital formation and otherwise improve the regulation of securities markets.
Jennifer spent the last eight years on the regulatory side of these issues while serving at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). Before that, she worked in general litigation at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, where her expertise in securities claims gave her insight into the world of both self-regulating and regulatory organizations. It also allowed her to cross paths with Cato by collaborating with the Institute on several cases. Jennifer's later work in FINRA's enforcement division gave her the opportunity to hone her litigation skills further, although she tells us that after a while, "it was becoming obvious that I didn't want a role in enforcement."
On the regulatory side, "you're focused on enforcing the laws as they are," Jennifer explains—not on coming up with arrangements that better suit the needs of a dynamic economy. Rather than maintaining the status quo, she was interested in promoting regulatory changes that would improve entrepreneurial freedom.
For example, the regulatory status of many burgeoning cryptocurrencies' initial coin offerings (ICOs) remains unclear. If regulators' goal is "to encourage entrepreneurship and investment," Jennifer says, we need to "come up with a concrete framework [for ICOs] so that innovators… can have the certainty they need to proceed."
Now that she's here at Cato, Jennifer says that she's "really excited to be in a position of being able to contribute to these conversations. That's not something you can do in most positions."
In the near- to medium-term, Jennifer intends to concentrate on the financial toll of the coronavirus outbreak and the regulatory response to it. "Given what's going to be an obvious economic challenge coming our way," she says, "I'm very interested in making sure that capital markets and [entrepreneurs]" have access to the capital they need. "I want to see an environment where that can happen with ease."