Legal

Michael Held (bio)
Executive Vice President
and General Counsel
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The Legal Group comprises of seven separate and distinct Functions: Bank Applications, Compliance, Corporate Secretary’s Office (CSO), Federal Reserve Law Enforcement Unit (FRLEU), Group Operations and Strategy (GOAS), Legal, and Records Management.

The Bank Applications Function coordinates, analyzes, evaluates, and recommends Federal Reserve action on a variety of proposals by domestic and foreign banking organizations. The function assists in proposing amendments to applicable laws and regulations and contributes to the formulation of Federal Reserve policy on application matters. In addition, it educates local and foreign banking communities about U.S. laws and regulations relating to mergers, acquisitions and expansionary activities.

The Compliance Function promotes sound programs and policies designed to mitigate legal risks and protect the Bank's reputation. It comprises three business areas: the Compliance Department, the Assurance and Advisory Services Unit and the Ethics Office. In addition, the head of Compliance oversees the Bank’s Record’s Management Function.

  • The Compliance Department identifies compliance risk as well as develops and enhances risk mitigation policies and procedures. In addition, the team contributes to risk assessment initiatives; offers compliance training and education; monitors the effectiveness of control procedures; investigates compliance issues and breaches; and reports results to senior Bank management.
  • The Assurance and Advisory Services Unit independently evaluates the compliance programs of the Bank's business functions, including activities outsourced to independent service providers. It also provides advisory services to senior Bank management and Bank business functions.
  • The Ethics Office provides guidance to employees on conflicts of interest and other Code of Conduct–related issues. It considers waiver requests and serves as a central resource for resolving allegations of violations of policies; laws or regulations; and breaches of accounting; auditing and operational controls.

The CSO coordinates meetings of the Bank’s Board of Directors and Management Committee (MC) and provides staff assistance to the Directors, the President, the First Vice President, the MC and the MC Coordination Group. The CSO also maintains custody of the Bank’s seal and assists in the administration of the Bank’s Freedom of Information Policy. The CSO is responsible for the corporate secretarial functions and curatorial functions of the Bank.

The curating staff oversees the Bank’s extensive photographic collection, historical artifacts, and memorabilia. It has also developed, and is responsible for, the Bank’s Oral History Program. In addition, the curating staff creates exhibits for both in-house viewing and for the public in partnership with external institutions.

The Federal Reserve Law Enforcement Unit provides physical security for Bank employees, visitors, premises, valuables, and information; controls and monitors access to Bank premises; provides Executive Protection for Bank officials; participates in the screening of personnel for employment; and coordinates with attorneys and investigators to resolve issues involving misconduct within the Bank.

The Group Operations and Strategy Function provides the Legal Group with appropriate resources and strategies in furtherance of Group and Bank objectives through the four units below:

  • Business Operations & Strategy (BOS): Serves as the primary liaison between the Legal Group and key stakeholders in the Bank's support areas and is responsible for implementation of personnel and facilities decisions made by Legal Group management (e.g., on-boarding, off-boarding, compensation, promotions, office moves and space utilization). BOS also manages the Group's administrative assistants and the Law Library, which includes providing research and reference services in a range of areas, the coordination of online-based and electronic resource training, and the organization and dissemination of Legal Group information sources.
  • Finance: Facilitates the Legal Group budget and resource management process by engaging with Legal Group business lines to align the Group's resource planning and execution with its strategic objectives. Finance also produces financial reports, research, associated analysis and presentations to enhance performance management, drive process improvement and optimize efficiency.
  • Legal Information Management and Automation (LIMA): Establish and promote Information Management best practices and carry out tasks in support of the capture, organization, access control, classification, management and distribution of the data and records used by the Legal Group.
  • Risk Management and Contingency Planning (RMCP): Responsible for strengthening risk management processes by overseeing the risk assessment process, risk event management and related reporting, articulating risk tolerance for the Group, integrating risk considerations into the Group's strategic efforts and educating staff on elements of risk management, in addition to traditional Contingency Planning.

The Legal Function is organized into three divisions that correspond roughly to the organizational structure of the Bank. The Function handles the Bank's legal work, including managing the Bank’s involvement in litigation, conducting transactions and formulating general policy, participating in negotiations, as well as drafting and reviewing documents, contracts and correspondence. It consists of the following divisions:

  • Bank Supervision and Markets Division (BSM): Provides legal support with respect to the supervision and regulation of a broad range of financial institutions that are located in the Second Federal Reserve District, including state member banks, bank holding companies, financial market utilities and foreign banking organizations. In addition, it reviews and analyzes applications by such financial institutions under authority delegated by the Board of Governors, advises on capital markets operations (including domestic and foreign open market operations and operations conducted as fiscal agent of the U.S. Treasury), routine and emergency Discount Window liquidity operations and domestic and international payments and settlement systems policy and oversight. The Division also handles legislative affairs and analysis for the Bank and provides legal support for the Bank’s external advisory and sponsored committees.
  • Enforcement, Litigation, Police, Investigations and Corporate Affairs Division (ELPICA): Investigates possible violations of law and unsafe and unsound banking practices by financial institutions within the Second Federal Reserve District and their institution-affiliated parties and, in coordination with the Board of Governors, recommends and drafts enforcement actions. In addition, it handles all litigation in which the Bank has an interest, conducts internal investigations, and responds to all legal process and requests the Bank receives. The Division also oversees the Federal Reserve Law Enforcement Officers, who are responsible for protecting and safeguarding the premises, property, and personnel of the Bank. Finally, the Division advises Bank management and human resources professionals on all employment law matters, including with respect to immigration, benefits and compensation, taxation and financial conflicts of interest.
  • Financial Services, Technology, and Contracts Division (FSTC): Provides legal support for the area of the Bank that oversees the Fedwire® Funds Service, the Fedwire Securities Service and the National Settlement Service, and provides advice in connection with the distribution of U.S. currency and coin both domestically and internationally. The Division also provides legal advice on matters involving the Bank's account relationships with depository institutions, the U.S. Treasury, foreign central banks, and international organizations, including with respect to the payment systems used by, and the financial services provided to, the Bank's account-holders. Finally, the Division handles all contracting, procurement, technology, intellectual property, and data privacy matters for the Bank.

The Records Management Function establishes guidelines and procedures for the management and retention of all Bank records and information. In addition, it supports the efforts of Bank business areas with the management of their records in an orderly, efficient and accountable manner.

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