What is the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYSDFS)?
The New York State Department of Financial Services is the governmental body responsible for regulating all financial services and products in the state of New York.
As a state-level regulatory office, the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYSDFS) has a stated mission to “reform the regulation of financial services in New York” in order to keep up with the rapidly evolving landscape of the industry and protect both its customers and markets from fraud.
A relatively new governmental department, the NYSDFS was created in 2011 by the Financial Services Law, which mandated a merger between the New York State Insurance Department and the New York State Banking Department – both of which date back to the 19th century.
Today, the NYSDFS is the primary regulator for a diverse range of financial institutions. Its supervision takes in around 4,400 separate entities including banks and trusts, insurance companies, lenders, mortgage brokers, charities, virtual currency businesses, and more. The NYSDFS has offices across the state but is headquartered in New York City. The NYSDFS is led by its Superintendent – currently Maria T. Vullo.
The NYSDFS seeks to provide both regulation and leadership to the institutions it supervises. Working with other law enforcement agencies and regulators, this role translates to investigating and prosecuting instances of financial crime – including fraud and money laundering, and other violations of the New York Codes, Rules and Regulations (NYCRR). In this capacity, the NYSDFS has a mandate to:
- Promote the growth of New York’s financial industry through “judicious and vigilant supervision”.
- Ensure the continued safety of financial products and services for consumers – and the safe conduct of their providers.
- Ensure the providers of financial products and services fulfill their financial obligations.
- Encourage providers to meet high standards of public responsibility, business practice, conduct, and ethics.
- Combat financial crime by enforcing anti-money laundering, counter financing of terrorism, and fraud legislation.
- Equip the consumers and users of financial products and services with the information and knowledge necessary to make responsible decisions.
In its supervisory role, the NYSDFS has the authority to introduce regulations which reflect emerging trends in financial crime. With this in mind, the NYSDFS recently introduced its Cybersecurity Regulation (23 NYCRR 500), along with the BitLicense, which is required in the state of New York for the conduct of cryptocurrency related activities. Similarly, the 2017 regulation, Part 504, fortifies AML measures by introducing sanctions screening and transaction monitoring requirements for all New York financial institutions.