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The ex-Morgan Stanley London trader who was Binance's biggest fan

When the SEC released its gigantic and disparaging report yesterday accusing Binance of breaking its securities rules, two key individuals kept cropping up: the former CEOs of BAM Trading Services. Neither were implicated in the alleged malfeasance (both tried and failed to prevent it), neither were named, and both are reportedly helping the SEC with its investigations. 

It's not clear who the two ex-BAM Trading CEOs mentioned in the SEC report are. However, one former CEO of BAM Trading Services, whose gender and tenure both seem to match those of 'CEO A' in the SEC's exposition, had a longish pre-Binance period as an FX trader working for Morgan Stanley, latterly in London.

Catherine Coley worked for Morgan Stanley between 2011 and 2016. She was an FX trader at the bank, first in Hong Kong and then in London, where she spent two years before leaving for......SVB đź’€. Coley was there for a year before seeing the crypto light and moving to first Ripple and then to Binance in 2019, where she became US CEO and CEO of BAM Trading Services. Thus began a campaign of bigging-up both crypto and her new employer, before she left again in 2021.

Coley's dedication to all things crypto-Binance is detailed on her Twitter account, which describes how she literally wore the Binance colors of black and yellow every day as an expression of her enthusiasm.  As an Asian studies graduate, Coley wasn't deep in the technology behind crypto, but she was deep in crypto itself. Her 4,500 tweets are a paean to crypto evangelism and a rallying cry to the "crypto curious."

Coley hasn't, however, tweeted at all since April 2021. She left Binance that month, and earlier this year she reportedly engaged a lawyer to advise her on a previous lawsuit brought by the Commodities Futures Trading Commission’s lawsuit against Binance. Neither Coley nor the lawyer she was said to have engaged responded to a request to comment on whether Coley is CEO A in yesterday's SEC filing.

To reiterate, it's not clear that Coley is CEO A and CEO A isn't accused of malfeasance. Instead, the SEC filing states among other things that the female CEO concerned was aghast to discover her lack of autonomy from the broader Binance organisation, the opacity of trading data, and the fact that there were substantial internal transfers she had no knowledge about. That CEO raised these issues internally, and was eventually replaced by CEO B, who noticed something similar and then resigned.

At the very least, it's a warning that big job titles are not always what they seem.

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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