Hilary J. Allen

Nationally recognized expert on finance and law professor at American University

• Author of 'Driverless Finance: Fintech’s Impact on Financial Stability'

Hilary J. Allen

Hilary J. Allen is a Professor of Law at the American University Washington College of Law. She teaches courses in Banking Law, Securities Regulation, Financial Regulation, and Business Associations.

Professor Allen is a nationally recognized expert on financial stability regulation, having authored more than 15 law review articles on the subject (recent articles have appeared in the Boston College Law Review, the George Washington Law Review, and the Harvard Business Law Review). In her work, Professor Allen stresses the importance of financial stability by underlining the human consequences of financial crises, and considers a variety of existing and evolving threats to financial stability. Her recent work has focused on threats arising from climate change and the increasing prevalence of fintech, as well as adapting the structure and scientific/technological capacity of financial regulatory agencies. She has testified before the House Financial Services Committee and the Senate Banking Committee, and is the author of the book Driverless Finance: Fintech’s Impact on Financial Stability (2022, Oxford University Press). Professor Allen is also actively involved in presenting scholarly publications at roundtables and conferences, and regularly contributes blog posts and podcasts on the subject of financial regulation.

Professor Allen received her Bachelor of Laws from the University of Sydney, Australia, and her Master of Laws in Securities and Financial Regulation Law from Georgetown University Law Center (for which she received the Thomas Bradbury Chetwood, S.J. Plaque for graduating first in her class). Prior to entering the academy, Professor Allen spent seven years working in the financial services groups of prominent law firms in London, Sydney and New York (most recently at Shearman & Sterling LLP in New York). In 2010, she worked with the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, which was appointed by Congress to study the causes of the financial crisis of 2007-2008.

Speech topics

Crypto and Financial Crises

Professor Allen will discuss the crypto ecosystem (with a particular emphasis on DeFi), and explain how its fragilities mirror the fragilities of financial innovations developed in the run up to the global financial crisis of 2008. She cautions that crypto innovation will not democratize finance, make finance more efficient, or promote financial inclusion, and argues that – given crypto’s risks – it is therefore bad public policy to support this kind of innovation. In particular, she will emphasize that the integration of crypto into our traditional financial system is likely to make our system highly fragile, and so she argues for a firewall between crypto and traditional finance.

Climate Change and Banking Regulation

Professor Allen will discuss the role that banking regulation can play in protecting the stability of our financial system from the physical and transition risks associated with climate change. She will explain how capital regulation and stress testing can best be adapted, and will also discuss how climate change fits into the broader debate about how to regulate the operational risks faced by banks.

Artificial Intelligence and Financial Risk Management

Professor Allen will explain how financial risk management could be transformed by the application of machine learning technology, and highlight the limitations of that technology (including programming errors, data limitations, automation biases). She will also explore how using machine learning algorithms to automate risk management is likely to increase herd behavior in the financial markets.

Technological Innovation by Government Agencies

Professor Allen will explore the necessity for financial regulatory agencies to develop their own internal scientific and technological expertise, and discuss ways to foster technological innovation by these agencies. She will explain that this is a necessity, not only to make the agencies more efficient, but also to prevent them from being left behind by the industry they regulate.

Books

Driverless Finance: Fintech’s Impact on Financial Stability

Everyone is talking about fintech, and they're usually saying good things. Driverless Finance provides a balance to that conversation, exploring the threats that different fintech innovations pose for our financial system.

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