The New York state Senate unanimously confirmed Benjamin M. Lawsky as the superintendent of the state’s new banking and insurance regulator, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said Tuesday.
Cuomo proposed creating the Department of Financial Services (DFS), a merger of the New York State Banking Department and the New York State Department of Insurance, as part of his 2011-12 budget proposal.
The DFS is designed to better regulate modern financial services organizations. By combining the Banking and Insurance Departments into a unified financial regulator, the new Department of Financial Services will be a more efficient, modern, and comprehensive regulator of the financial sector, according to Cuomo.
Lawsky previously served as the deputy counselor and Special Assistant throughout the administration when Cuomo was attorney general in New York. Previously, Lawsky spent more than five years as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York, where he prosecuted securities fraud, organized crime, and terrorism cases, and as chief counsel to Sen. Charles Schumer on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee.
“There is no one better suited to take on the task of leading this new department than Ben Lawsky,” Cuomo said in a statement. “Ben’s deep understanding of complex markets, evolving financial products, and consumer protection uniquely enables him to safeguard investors while maintaining a vibrant marketplace in New York. Ben has been devoted to public service for his entire career and I am glad that he will continue to serve New Yorkers in this capacity.”
Lawsky called his selection “an honor.”
“New York’s businesses and consumers deserve the leanest, most efficient, and most effective financial services regulator in the nation,” Lawsky said in a statement. “The new DFS will promote healthy and vibrant banking and insurance industries while also protecting consumers and our markets.”
Thomas E. Workman, president and CEO of the Life Insurance Council of New York, Inc. said Lawsky is a great selection to lead the new office.
“I believe Governor Cuomo could not have made a better choice to lead this new consolidated department,” Workman said in a statement. “Ben has the ability to understand quickly and thoroughly the complexities of the New York insurance laws and regulations, and their real world effect on both consumers and industry. In addition, he brings an evenhandedness with respect to enforcing the laws that is well suited for this important position.”