Paul Atkins is chief executive of Patomak Global Partners, LLC, a financial services consultancy in Washington and New York that provides industry and regulatory expertise, delivers value in an efficient manner, and provides a competitive edge to companies navigating the global marketplace. He founded the company in 2009.
At Patomak, Mr. Atkins leads client work for financial services firms regarding an array of issues, including regulatory requirements, investigating and improving the effectiveness of compliance systems, and designing and implementing compliance policies and procedures. His work spans Dodd-Frank compliance, domestic regulatory advocacy, European regulatory advice, and corporate governance issues. Mr. Atkins regularly serves as an independent compliance consultant and a court-appointed monitor in settlements involving the Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. His expert witness engagements include federal, state, and foreign litigation, as well as SEC matters.
Since 2017, Mr. Atkins has led industry efforts to develop best practices for digital asset issuances and trading platforms as co-chair of the Token Alliance, an initiative of the Chamber of Digital Commerce. In 2017, Mr. Atkins also served on the President’s Strategic and Policy Forum, advising on financial markets regulation and economic policy. In the lead-up to the 2016 election and 2017 inauguration, Mr. Atkins led the President-elect’s transition team for independent financial regulatory agencies. During the transition, Mr. Atkins served on the “landing teams” of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.
Prior to founding Patomak, from July 2002 to August 2008, Mr. Atkins served as a commissioner of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. During his two terms, he advocated better transparency and consistency in the SEC’s decision-making and enforcement activities and smarter regulation that considers costs and benefits. He represented the SEC at various meetings of the US–EU Transatlantic Economic Council, the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets, the World Economic Forum, and the Transatlantic Business Dialogue.
From 2009 to 2010, he was appointed by Congress to serve as a member of the Congressional Oversight Panel for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). He started his public service work in 1990, serving on the staffs of SEC chairmen Richard C. Breeden and Arthur Levitt as chief of staff and counsellor, respectively, until 1994.
In private practice, Mr. Atkins was a partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers and predecessor firm Coopers & Lybrand, where he advised financial services firms on regulatory compliance, internal controls, and risk management issues. Mr. Atkins began his career as a lawyer with Davis Polk & Wardwell in New York, representing U.S. and foreign clients on a wide range of corporate finance, banking, and business combination transactions. He was resident for 2½ years in his firm’s Paris office and was admitted as conseil juridique in France in 1988. Besides English, he speaks German and French.
Mr. Atkins currently is trustee of the Cliffwater Corporate Lending Fund, a closed-end interval fund focused on middle-market direct lending. He is Vice Chairman of the American Council on Germany, and from 2013-2017 was a member of the Committee for Economic Development of the Conference Board. From 2012 to 2015, Mr. Atkins served as an independent director and non-executive chairman of the board of BATS Global Markets, Inc. (now part of CBOE), a leading operator of electronic U.S. and European securities markets trading listed cash equity securities and equity options.
Mr. Atkins received his A.B., summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, from Wofford College and his J.D. from Vanderbilt University School of Law, where he was Senior Student Writing Editor of the Vanderbilt Law Review. A frequent speaker and television commentator on regulatory and capital markets issues, he was from 2009-2015 a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research in Washington. His writings have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Forbes, USA Today, and Politico, as well as scholarly journals such as the Harvard Business Law Review and the Fordham Journal of Corporate & Financial Law.