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Louis Gracia and Vanessa Horton Named Associate Directors of Investment Adviser/Investment Company Examination Program in Chicago Regional Office



Washington, D.C.–(Newsfile Corp. – April 24, 2020) – The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that Louis Gracia and Vanessa Horton have been named Associate Directors of the Investment Adviser/Investment Company (IA/IC) examination program in the agency’s Chicago Regional Office. Together, Mr. Gracia and Ms. Horton will oversee more than 70 lawyers, accountants, and examiners responsible for inspections of SEC-registered investment advisers and investment companies in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

Mr. Gracia has been a Deputy Associate Regional Director in the Chicago IA/IC examination program since January 2015. He joined the SEC’s Chicago Regional Office in 1994 as an Examiner and later served as an Exam Manager and Assistant Regional Director. Prior to joining the SEC, Mr. Gracia worked as an internal auditor for the University of Illinois. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago and is a certified public accountant in Illinois and a certified fraud examiner.

Ms. Horton has been an Assistant Regional Director in the Chicago IA/IC examination program since December 2015.  She joined the SEC’s Chicago Regional Office in 2004 as an Accountant and was later named an Exam Manager.  Prior to joining the SEC, Ms. Horton worked for more than 10 years in the securities industry, where she most recently held the roles of Executive Vice President and Chief Compliance Officer for a dually-registered broker dealer and investment adviser. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and master’s degree from DePaul University.

“Lou and Vanessa have been pillars of the Chicago IA/IC program during their respective 25 and 15 year careers here and have the experience, leadership and judgment to be outstanding leaders of the Chicago IA/IC program,” said Joel R. Levin, Director of the Chicago Regional Office. “Lou and Vanessa have demonstrated extraordinary leadership on numerous initiatives and programs at both the national and local level and their breadth of experience has prepared them well to serve as leaders of the Chicago IA/IC program.”

“Lou and Vanessa have demonstrated exceptional leadership and vision over the many years I have known them,” said Pete Driscoll, Director of the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE). “They are subject matter experts, thought leaders, and strong mentors to staff and have consistently contributed to the strong performance and reputation of the Chicago IA/IC exam program.”

“I am truly honored to take on this role and looking forward to working with Vanessa to lead the outstanding Chicago Regional Office IA/IC exam team,” said Mr. Gracia. “Although these are challenging times, I see a bright future for the SEC and our exam team.”

“I am blessed, humbled, and honored to be selected as an Associate Regional Director of Chicago’s IA/IC program and share in a leadership role with Lou to lead our phenomenal team,” said Ms. Horton. “Though it will be a new role, it has the same goal, one in which I have found a great privilege throughout the years—to protect investors—and I look forward to continuing our tradition of excellence in Chicago’s examination program.”

Mr. Gracia and Ms. Horton succeed Steven Levine who has taken a new role as Senior Special Counsel in the Chicago IA/IC program advising both the Chicago and National IA/IC examination programs. “I, along with the Chicago Regional Office, am deeply grateful to Steven for tremendous leadership of the Chicago IA/IC program for the past seven years and am excited that OCIE will continue to have the benefit of his wise counsel and thought leadership, particularly on a national level,” said Mr. Driscoll.

OCIE conducts the SEC’s National Examination Program through examinations of SEC-registered investment advisers, investment companies, broker-dealers, self-regulatory organizations, clearing agencies and transfer agents.  It uses a risk-based approach to examinations to fulfill its mission to promote compliance with U.S. securities laws, prevent fraud, monitor risk and inform SEC policy.


Stockify goes fully Digital, offers Mutual Funds and Dematerialization of shares




In a strategic move to expand its offerings and provide a comprehensive suite of financial services, Stockify, a leading platform for Unlisted and pre-IPO shares in India, has announced plans to venture into the Mutual Fund space.

This development comes as part of Stockify’s mission to assist High-Net Individuals (HNIs) and Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) in accessing various investment opportunities in India via the pre-IPO route and maximizing their wealth. The company is also set to facilitate the Dematerialization of Shares. (Conversion of Physical Share to DEMAT account.)

Founded by Piyush Jhunjhunwala (CA, CPA) and Co-Founded by Rahul Khatuwala (CA) both seasoned finance professionals with decades of experience in global conglomerates.

Stockify has already carved a niche for itself in the Indian Financial landscape. The platform primarily focuses on providing access to Blue-Chip Stocks before their listing on the Indian Stock Market (via the Pre IPO Route) enabling early investors to potentially achieve significant returns. While expressing the company’s intent behind expanding its services, Jhunjhunwala said, “Mutual Funds are the backbone of the Indian Equity market, and we believe it is important that NRI and retail investors in India can greatly benefit from our new offering and this will help them in creating long-term wealth.”

The recent announcement of Stockify entering the Mutual Funds market follows the company’s successful acquisition of a Mutual Fund license in the first quarter of 2023. Alongside Mutual Funds, Stockify intends to offer an array of other financial products, like Start-up Funding, fixed investment products like Bonds and Non-Convertible Debentures (NCDs) and Insurance-Linked Investments, in the coming months. Notably, Stockify plans to make all its products and services 100% accessible online, aligning with the Digital India vision of our beloved Prime Minster Mr. Narendra Modi.

Currently, Stockify boasts 70 Unlisted/pre-IPO companies on its platform, with in-depth research conducted on all of them as stated by Jhunjhunwala. It offers a simple online process where transactions can be completed online, and shares get transferred to the clients DEMAT account on the same day.

Stockify’s global presence was recently showcased at the Dubai Fintech Summit (DFS). The two-day event brought together over 5,000 C-suite leaders, 1,000-plus investors, and 150 speakers from around the world. Stockify was selected as one of the proud exhibitors at the summit, solidifying its position as one of the world’s largest providers of pre-IPO and Unlisted Stocks in India.

With its ambitious expansion plans and commitment to innovation, Stockify is set to continue revolutionizing the way investors access and engage with financial opportunities in India and beyond.

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VerifyVASP Wins Hong Kong’s IFTA Fintech and Innovation Awards 2022/23: Regulatory Technology Award




VerifyVASP was awarded the Institute of Financial Technologists of Asia (IFTA) Fintech and Innovation Awards 2022/23 for Regulatory Technology. The awards exhibit the extraordinary achievements made by companies and individuals in the finance and technology industries.

The IFTA Awards, themed “Game Changers: The Rise of Next Gen Fintech”, celebrates ground-breaking ideas and technologies that are shaping the future of finance. The distinguished Guest of Honour presenting the IFTA awards was the Under Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury for Financial Services in the Hong Kong SAR, Mr. Joseph Ho-Lim Chan.

VerifyVASP has established itself as a comprehensive Travel Rule solution provider catering to Virtual Assets Service Providers (VASPs) worldwide. Its commitment to facilitating full compliance with Travel Rule regulations across multiple jurisdictions has earned it this prestigious recognition.

This accolade comes at an opportune time, as VerifyVASP supports the Hong Kong Virtual Asset Trading Platforms (VATPs) in adhering to the regulatory framework set forth by the Hong Kong Securities & Futures Commission, which came into effect on 1 June 2023. VATPs are granted a grace period till 1 January 2024 to ensure compliance with Travel Rule requirements.

The IFTA Fintech and Innovation Award underscores VerifyVASP’s capabilities, including:

  • Facilitation of counterparty due diligence: VerifyVASP assists VASPs in counterparty due diligence before the first transaction, to stringent standards akin to that observed in correspondent banking. This is achieved through VerifyVASP’s own rigorous due diligence process, encompassing over 100 VASPs.
  • Immediate and secure transmission: Leveraging a scalable architecture, VerifyVASP ensures immediate and secure transmission of required information, alongside verification of such information. To date, the platform has processed over 5 million transfers.
  • Adherence to international data protection laws: VerifyVASP complies with international data protection law thanks to its decentralised, end to end encrypted architecture. This dedication to data security and privacy sets it apart in the industry.
  • Asset agnostic: VerifyVASP’s capabilities extend to accommodating any type of virtual asset, having processed over 400 cryptocurrency variants on its platform.
  • Integration of third-party screening solutions: VerifyVASP seamlessly integrates third-party solutions, allowing for efficient screening of originators or beneficiaries before blockchain transactions.


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Nagad’s Digital Bank on cards, Sadaf to lead the side




Nagad, Bangladesh’s leading Mobile Financial Service (MFS) provider, is gearing up to establish the much-anticipated digital bank, as it is going to secure a licence from the Bangladesh Bank within a couple of months.

Sadaf Roksana, a co-founder and executive director of Nagad Ltd., has been entrusted with the responsibility of leading her company’s transformative venture that will bring greater convenience to the lives of millions of Bangladeshis, reducing their reliance on traditional brick-and-mortar banks.

The MFS provider earlier applied to secure a digital bank licence following the central bank’s call for applications through its website. The Bangladesh Bank also formulated necessary guidelines to widen and accelerate financial inclusion, which will also create jobs for young IT workers.

The world’s fastest mobile money carrier is going to venture into the digital banking era at a time when the financial landscape across the globe is fast evolving towards digitalisation, driven by technological advancements and changing consumer preferences.

Taking on the new assignment, Sadaf, a seasoned financial executive with a remarkable track record in the fintech industry, is poised to steer Nagad’s digital bank towards success. Once Nagad gets the digital bank licence, it will provide its consumers with innovative and convenient banking solutions.

“We are very excited that we are going to introduce digital banking services to the people of Bangladesh within a couple of months,” Sadaf said, adding, “This endeavour aligns perfectly with our vision of enhancing financial inclusion and ensuring easy access to all financial services also at affordable prices.”

Nagad is already well-equipped to launch a digital bank. It will start serving customers soon after getting the licence, Sadaf assured.

Under its digital banking platform, Nagad will introduce many new services, such as single-digit and collateral-free loans for small informal businesses and farmers who now are to take loans from moneylenders even at 40% interest rate per day, she pointed out.

“Thus, we will encourage them to come under financial inclusion, thus putting their money into the formal channel,” she expressed her optimism.

To assess one’s creditworthiness, Nagad has created an AI-based credit rating system that will analyse all transactions-related data available on public domains using one’s NID and mobile number, Sadaf Roksana added.

As Nagad goes ahead with its plans, all eyes will be on Sadaf Roksana and her team as they will embark on this exciting journey towards a more digitised and inclusive financial future for the country.

SOURCE Nagad Limited

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