Christopher Laursen’s expertise encompasses financial institutions, complex products, trading, markets, risk management, and financial regulation & compliance. With over 25 years of experience, he has provided consulting and advisory services to both public and private clients. He has served as an expert witness in numerous disputes.
Mr. Laursen's previous engagements have dealt with financial instruments including mortgage and asset-backed securities, derivatives, structured notes, stocks, bonds, bank and broker dealer loans, mutual funds, bank deposit accounts, insurance, pension funds, private equity, and hedge funds. He has provided advice and opined on market and product-specific features and risks, accounting and valuation, damages, conflicts of interest, regulatory compliance, and industry standard and practice.
Mr. Laursen previously served as the Federal Reserve Board’s (FRB) Manager of Risk Policy and Guidance, where he developed and interpreted regulations and guidance issued to financial institutions and examiners. He also worked closely with other financial supervisors to craft and implement U.S. interagency regulations and policies as well as international standards.
Mr. Laursen also formerly led the FRB’s trading and capital markets risk area, advising the Board of Governors on issues related to activities undertaken by national and multi-national financial institutions. He worked closely with international financial regulators, including as a member of the Basel Committee's Trading Book Group.
Prior to his FRB tenure, Mr. Laursen served as financial company examiner for both the Federal Reserve System and the US Treasury. In this capacity he gained over a decade of on-the-ground experience evaluating activities including proprietary and customer trading, credit underwriting, and new product origination. In addition to the evaluation of direct financial risks, he also specialized in international banking operations, anti-money laundering, and fiduciary activities. His senior supervisory roles included Lead Capital Markets Examiner over Bank of America Corporation.
Starting in 2007, Mr. Laursen was heavily involved in the FRB’s response to the financial crisis, reporting directly to Chairman Bernanke and other FRB Governors and Reserve Bank Presidents on various risk, valuation, and regulatory issues. He also led reviews of problem institutions and assisted in the development of special FRB actions to reduce market turmoil and economic damage.
In 2009, Mr. Laursen authored new FRB guidance, requiring enhancements to financial company stress testing, value-at-risk (VaR) modeling, regulatory capital processes, and position valuation. Upon request in 2010, he assisted the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission during its investigation of the financial crisis.
In mid-2007 during a special onsite review, assessed the daily liquidity and solvency position of Countrywide Financial Company. This included determining the values of numerous Countrywide portfolio MBS and mortgage securities whose wholesale market funding sources had dried up. Advised and reported findings to Federal Reserve Governors, Federal Reserve Discount Window Officers, and Federal Reserve Presidents, Yellen and Lacker.
During Fall 2007, worked with a top U.S. financial institution to implement appropriate valuations, risk modeling processes, and regulatory capital charges for a significant book of Super-Senior CDO positions held in the institution’s trading book. Reported directly to Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke on the earnings and regulatory capital impact of the agreed upon approach.
Analyzed the appropriateness of the design and pricing of a specialized municipal finance structure that included related bond remarketing, credit enhancement, and an interest rate swap. Assessed the foreseeability of economic issues that negatively impacted the structure. Provided deposition, submitted report, and testified in Federal Court.
In the context of a dispute regarding the fiduciary duties of a financial institution with respect to ERISA clients, assessed the institution’s investment recommendation process and controls. This included an assessment of the institution’s information walls and related processes, designed to prevent trading on material non-public information and inappropriate conflicts of interest. Report submitted and deposition provided. Judge granted motion for summary judgment for case portion, agreeing with report and deposition submitted.
Evaluated the market and credit risk of various structured notes in the context of the 2007-2009 financial market turmoil. Determined if there was an appropriate and reasonable basis to recommend products to clients. Reported on the foreseeability and impact of the financial crisis on the performance of the debt instruments.
Evaluated the risk management and valuation processes applied by a top-10 U.S. insurance conglomerate to it various asset portfolios. This included an assessment of structured finance holdings (various ABS and MBS) as well as financial derivatives including interest rate swaps and credit default swaps. The assignment involved an assessment of the appropriateness of valuations and impairments assigned to various securities and derivatives during the financial crisis period. Prepared a report and presentation to the State Insurance Commissioner of Connecticut.
As part of a confidential consulting matter, evaluated risk and risk management issues with respect to major international hedge fund
Testifying expert for defendants’ counsel, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP and Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP, in connection with securities impairment determinations made by Thornburg Mortgage, Inc. executives in the company’s 2007 10-K financial report. United States District Court for the District of New Mexico, Case No. 1:12-cv-00257-JB-LFG.
Testifying expert for defendants’ counsel, Vinson and Elkins, in connection with a municipal bond issuance and associated interest rate swap, remarketing agreement, bond insurance, and surety bond. United States District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana Case No. 2:08-cv-03949-KDE-SS.
Testifying expert for claimant’s counsel, Dentons UKMEA LLP, in connection with alleged damages resulting from a regulator’s failure to supervise a bank in accordance with required standards. Arbitration Proceedings Brought Under the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Rules and the Agreement on Promotion, Protection, and the Guarantee of Investments Among Member States of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference.
Testifying expert for respondent’s counsel, Rogers & Hardin LLP and Ciklin Lubitz Martens & O’Connell, in disputes involving employee conversions of defined benefit plans to defined contribution plans along with risks, disclosures, and potential financial outcomes. Various FINRA Dispute Resolution Arbitrations.
Testifying expert for respondent’s counsel, Bingham McCutchen LLP, in connection with investments in various auction-rate securities. FINRA Dispute Resolution Arbitration No. 11-02075.
Testifying expert for respondent’s counsel, Bressler, Amery & Ross PC, Keesal, Young & Logan, and Ciklin Lubitz Martens & O’Connell, in disputes involving various Lehman Brothers structured note investments and related product, issuer, and market risks, market events, and product disclosures. Various FINRA Dispute Resolution Arbitrations.
Testifying expert for respondent’s counsel, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison LLP, in connection with a fiduciary client’s investment in structured investment vehicle (SIV) debt, and related bank information barriers, material non-public information rules, and potential conflicts of interest. District Court of Southern District of New York. Civil Action No. 09-00686.
BSA and AML Enforcement Trends and D&O Liability
April 4, 2014
Published in the D&O Diary
The Proposed Volcker Rule Analysis and Panel Discussion
February 14, 2012
Presented at the PRMIA Meeting, New York, NY
Banking Entity Trading Under the Volcker Rule
Published on Advisor Perspectives
Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, MBA
University of Miami, Bachelor of Business Administration