Home Page

Watch Chris Speak About Challenges For The Global Financial System

The staggering growth of the Chinese currency over the past ten years has raised hopes of a stronger and more balanced global economy. At the same time there is deep concern, especially from the United States, of a more powerful China that can exert far greater economic, regulatory and foreign policy influence. Dr. Chris Brummer, Atlantic Council, Georgetown University, speaks to David Craig, president of Thomson Reuters Financial and Risk business, about the opportunities and challenges ahead for a global financial system racing to respond to the rising Renminbi.

Georgetown Law Professor

Chris Brummer is Williams Research Professor and Faculty Director of Georgetown’s Institute of International Economic Law. Prior to joining Georgetown’s faculty with tenure in 2009, Brummer was an assistant professor of law at Vanderbilt Law School. He has also taught at several leading universities as a visiting professor including the universities of Basel, Heidelberg, and the London School of Economics.



Dr. Chris Brummer during Mercatus discussion


Minilateralism: How Trade Alliances, Soft Law and Financial Engineering are Redefining Economic Statecraft

Public Service

Professor Brummer recently concluded a three year term as a member of the National Adjudicatory Council of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), an organization empowered by Congress to regulate the securities industry, where his work has been praised as making a significant contribution to advancing investor protection.

Work History, Accomplishments and Future Research Pursuits

Chris Brummer is Agnes N. Williams Research Professor of Lawand Faculty Director of Georgetown’s Institute of International Economic Law. Founded by the late John Jackson, the IIEL is one of the world’s leading centers for the study of international law and the global economy, and operates as a hub of professional, regulatory and scholarly activity at the Georgetown University Law Center. It also offers executive education programming for attorneys the world over.

Professor Chris Brummer’s work at IIEL is the culmination of over a decade of work as a lawyer and thought-leader on issues of international financial regulation, trade and monetary affairs.

Prior to joining Georgetown’s faculty with tenure in 2009, Brummer was an attorney with Cravath Swaine & Moore, LLP, which he joined shortly after graduating from Columbia Law School with honors.  There he worked in the firm’s London and New York offices on a range of securities and banking transactions that spanned telecommunications, publishing and aerospace sectors.

In 2006, Professor Brummer joined the faculty of Vanderbilt Law School teaching securities regulation and international business transactions.  There he wrote articles later published in the University of Chicago Law Review and theCalifornia Law Review, Berkeley’s flagship legal publication.

A turning point in his career came in 2008, where Professor Brummer worked on loan as an Academic Fellow for the Securities and Exchange Commission in their office of International Affairs.  As the financial crisis took hold, Brummer participated firsthand in agency efforts to better coordinate cross border responses to the financial crisis.  He also worked on issues relating to international standard-setting including IOSCO’s Code of Conduct for Credit Rating Agencies.

After returning to the academy from the SEC, Professor Brummer set upon the work of providing an overview for attorneys and academics interested in the changes to global governance in the wake of the crisis.  In what was one of the first overviews of global standard setting, his book Soft Law and the Global Financial Systemdescribed how new organizations and institutions arose to set rules for cross border finance.  Brummer also showed how these rules, though not possessing any formal features of public international law, nonetheless could still be coercive, and incentivize compliance by market participants and regulators.

Professor Brummer also began working with a number of think tanks on issues of international governance, entrepreneurial activity and financial stability.  At the Washington, DC offices of the Milken Institute, he expanded his portfolio of interests to include efforts to engage in capital formation for start-ups.  A significant amount of his time was spent thinking through the JOBS Act, a piece of legislation signed by President Obama in 2012, and the law’s rules for crowdfunding.

Shortly thereafter, Professor Brummer was awarded the C Boyden Gray Fellowship at the Atlantic Council, where he delved into the work of improving transatlantic economic affairs and financial stability.  There he spearheaded two major research initiatives:  The Danger of Divergence:  Transatlantic Financial Reform and the G20 Agenda and Renminbi Ascending:  How China’s Currency Impacts Global Markets, Foreign Policy and Transatlantic Financial Regulation.

In the Danger of Divergence, Professor Brummer charts differences in financial regulatory approaches in the European Union and the United States andexamines the sources, risks and cost that such divergence poses.  The report, which was chaired by US Senator Chris Murphy and Sharon Bowles, MEP,calls on the United States and European Union to reenergize efforts to coordinate implementation of the G20 regulatory agenda announced by world leaders in the wake of the 2008 crisis. It also suggests productive ways with which to promote transatlantic standards in a world where EU-US cooperation will be more important than ever in exporting shared regulatory preferences to the rest of the world.

In Renminbi Ascending, Professor Brummer continued the Danger of Divergence series of publications by evaluating the impact RMB internationalization will have on the global financial system and explains how different parts of the evolving Chinese financial infrastructure interact in a changing geostrategic context.  In the report, which was Chaired by Ambassador Jon Huntsman, Brummer offered five principles for an effective internationalization process of the RMB, including the necessity thatprudential concerns, and nondiscrimination principles should trump politics.

Insights from both reports were included in his second book, Minilateralism: How Trade Alliances, Soft Law and Financial Engineering are Redefining Economic Statecraft.In the book, Professor Brummer explains how the traditional “multilateral” structure of relations is being superseded by “minilateral” tools that include strategic trade alliances, informal agreements, and financial engineering are powering today’s economic statecraft.  In the book, which covers the regulation of coins in medieval Europe to global financial regulation and the rise of the renminbi, Brummer offers a framework, and logic, for understand deep changes in global economic governance.

In 2013, Professor Brummer was asked to serve on the National Adjudicatory Council of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and there was praised as making a significant contribution to advancing investor protection.As a not-for-profit organization empowered by Congress to regulate broker-dealers and exchanges, FINRA brings disciplinary actions against those believed to have violated key rules, like committing fraud or market abuse. The NAC is FINRA’s appellate body for reviewing any disciplinary decisions members would like to contest. Comprised of representatives with backgrounds in industry, the academe and law, the NAC is charged with hearing the appeals of disciplined FINRA members, and making a determination as to whether initial decisions should be upheld or overturned. As such, the NAC is the final decision of FINRA.

Notably, Professor Brummer and his colleagues became targets of extensive defamatory online attacks by formerly indicted Wall Street financier Benjamin Wey in retaliation for Professor Brummer’s role in barring his business associates for fraudulently marketing securities of Deer Consumer Products Inc. The FINRA decision was upheld in its entirety by the Securities and Exchange Commission and Wey’s associates were later arrested and found guilty of similar federal securities law violations in Cleveland, Ohio.

After serving as a member of FINRA’s National Adjudicatory Council, Professor Brummer was nominated twice by President Obama in 2016 and 2017 to serve as a Commissioner on the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. He received unanimous, bipartisan approval in the vote by the Senate Agriculture Committee, though no floor vote was immediately scheduled after the election. The nomination was subsequently withdrawn by President Trump.

Today, Professor Brummer continues to teach international financial regulation atGeorgetown, and regularly advises regulators, firms, and NGOs on financial regulatory policy.   He has also taught at several leading universities as a visiting professor including the universities of Basel, Heidelberg, and the London School of Economics. For more, see Professor Brummer’s academic blog, Scholarly Pursuits.  Professor Brummer’s SSRN page is here.