Legal

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

The Legal Function's mission is to provide high-quality, cost-effective legal services to the New York Fed. The function is headed by the Bank's general counsel and is divided into three divisions, each headed by a deputy general counsel:

  • The Bank Supervision and Markets division provides legal advice in connection with (i) financial institution supervisory and regulatory matters, including legal support for supervision and regulatory reporting and legal analysis of regulatory applications; (ii) the Bank's open market, U.S. Treasury auction, foreign exchange, reference rate and discount window operations; and (iii) the Bank's external and sponsored committees. The division also tracks legislative affairs for the Bank, and the head of the division oversees the Bank Applications Function.
  • The Enforcement, Litigation, Investigations, and Corporate Affairs division handles all litigation for the Bank and pursues regulatory enforcement investigations and actions against financial institutions in the Second Federal Reserve District. In addition, the division conducts investigations of internal Bank matters and advises with respect to the Bank’s corporate affairs, including human resources and employment law matters.
  • The Financial Services, Technology, and Contracts division provides legal support for the areas of the Bank that are responsible for financial services, including the Fedwire® services, international and domestic currency and coin distribution, and account services for the U.S. Treasury, foreign central banks and international organizations, depository institutions, and other customers. The division also advises with respect to contract, procurement, and technology matters for the Bank, including software licenses and cloud computing.

The Compliance Function is an independent advisory and control function within the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The central mission of the Compliance Function is to protect the Bank and its people by fostering an ethical culture and ensuring appropriate risk-based compliance and ethics controls are utilized. The function has two parts:

  • The Compliance Department identifies and assesses risks related to the failure to comply with the Bank's code of conduct, internal policies, and regulations principally associated with anti-money laundering, U.S. economic sanctions compliance, fraud risk, sensitive data management, trading operations, and other restrictions related to employee conduct.
  • 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, or operational controls.

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. For more information about filing bank applications, click here.

The Corporate Secretary's Office promotes strong corporate governance within the Bank, convenes and advises key decision-making bodies, including the Bank’s board of directors and its committees, and keeps the Bank’s corporate records and official seal.

The Federal Reserve Law Enforcement Unit provides protection for Bank personnel, guests, and premises, as well as valuables at the head office and the Bank's East Rutherford Operations Center. This is accomplished through the use of sworn Federal Reserve law enforcement officers, video surveillance, access controls, alarms, and other physical security measures. The Law Enforcement Unit also participates in the screening of personnel for employment and national security clearances 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 resources and strategies in furtherance of group and Bank objectives through three units:

  • Business Operations & Strategy liaises between the Legal Group and key stakeholders in the Bank's support areas to implement decisions made by Legal Group management, helps the group strategically assess its work, and manages the group’s administrative assistants, law library, and professional development programs.
  • Legal Information Management and Automation establishes and promotes information management best practices and carries out tasks in support of the capture, organization, access control, classification, management, and distribution of data and records used by the Legal Group.
  • Risk Management and Contingency Planning is responsible for traditional contingency planning and for strengthening the Legal Group’s risk management processes.

The Records Management Function is responsible for providing Bank staff with the policies, guidance, and tools necessary to manage records and information in an effective, efficient, compliant and legally defensible manner.

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