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Our Team

Dennis Kelleher
President and Chief Executive Officer

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Dennis M. Kelleher is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Better Markets, Inc., a Washington, D.C. based independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that promotes the public interest in the US and global financial markets.

He joined Better Markets after three decades of experience in the public, private, political, charitable and non-profit sectors. He has been profiled in the New York Times (“Facing Down the Bankers”) and on PBS (“Braking the Banks”), among other places. He was also featured in Frontline’s award-winning inside story of the global financial crisis (“Money, Power and Wall Street”), as well as in the German and French public television documentaries on the global collapse.

He has held several senior staff positions in the United States Senate, most recently as the Chief Counsel and Senior Leadership Advisor to the Chairman of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee. Previously, he was a Deputy Staff Director and General Counsel to a Senate Committee as well as a Legislative Director for a senior member of the Senate. Mr. Kelleher was also a litigation partner with the international law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, where he had a U.S. and European practice specializing in the securities and financial markets as well as corporate conduct/misconduct.

Michael W. Masters
Founder & Chairman of the Board

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Mr. Masters’ growing concern for the far-reaching harmful effects of unregulated derivatives markets inspired him to establish Better Markets in 2010 to promote transparency, accountability and oversight in the domestic and global capital and commodity markets.  With deep expertise in U.S. policymaking, legislative processes, economic research and analysis and financial management, Better Markets board members and staff consult and advise regulators in the U.S., the U.K. and Asia on financial reform issues.

Stephen W. Hall
Legal Director and Securities Specialist

Mr. Hall has extensive experience in securities and commodities regulation acquired through positions in the Federal government, private practice, and the nonprofit sector.

In 2010, he served as Senior Counsel to the Committee on Financial Services of the U.S. House of Representatives.  During the Conference leading to passage of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, Mr. Hall worked on the titles dealing with securities and derivatives.  He also handled other legislative initiatives relating to securities, including corporate governance, limited offering exemptions, the Freedom of Information Act, and the Securities Investor Protection Act.   

From 2001 through 2009, Mr. Hall served as Counsel to the North American Securities Administrators Association, Inc., the association of state securities regulators.  He supported all aspects of NASAA’s mission, including regulatory analysis, appellate advocacy, and enforcement.  His written work included over 15 amicus briefs addressing a wide range of investor protection issues arising under State and Federal securities law, including four briefs filed in the U.S. Supreme Court.  Steve also advised NASAA on corporate governance and transactional matters.

During the 1990s, Mr. Hall worked in private practice, handling civil litigation in the areas of real estate, banking, and insurance.  He also represented local banks in documenting and closing commercial real estate loans.   

Mr. Hall began his legal career at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, where he became Senior Trial Attorney and Associate Director of Enforcement.  At the CFTC, he specialized in bringing injunctive actions in federal court against fraudulent commodity sales operations.

Mr. Hall is a graduate of the University of Michigan, and he received his law degree from Georgetown University.

Kimberly Thomas
Director of Administration and Human Resources

Ms. Thomas has over 15 years of experience in the executive level administrative field.

Before coming to the organization, Ms. Thomas worked at the National Quality Forum, where she served at the Executive Assistant to the Vice President of Performance Measures. While there, Ms. Thomas collaborated in writing an article for a peer review publication and performed literature reviews of clinical and social research publications.

Ms. Thomas served as the office manager of a consulting firm in Greenbelt, MD. In this role, Ms. Thomas oversaw daily operations of the office, supervised staff and trained office personnel.

Ms. Thomas is a graduate of University of Maryland University College, where she earned her degree in Communications with a minor in Business Management.

Frank Medina
Senior Counsel & Director of Research

Before joining Better Markets, Mr. Medina was the Deputy Chief Counsel for the House Financial Services Committee, where he drafted legislation and amendments and wrote reports on major financial regulatory issues considered by the Committee, including financial stability, systemic risk, and financial crises. Before that, he was a Senior Attorney at the Securities and Exchange Commission, an Associate General Counsel at Citigroup, Inc., and an associate at the law firms of Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering and Cravath, Swaine & Moore.

Mr. Medina holds an AB from Brown University and a JD with honors from the University of Chicago Law School.

Nick Jacobs
Communications Director

Nick Jacobs is the Communications Director of Better Markets. As the Communications Director, he manages daily media and outreach activities, identifying visibility opportunities and advancing the Better Markets mission and message. 

Mr. Jacobs has worked on a broad range of issues in the financial areas, having most recently served as Communications Director for the FACT Coalition. While there, he generated media coverage of corporate tax avoidance issues, corporate inversions, and the use of tax havens. Prior to that he worked primarily on consumer finance issues, running a financial education program at the American Bankruptcy Institute, and working on behalf of community-based credit and mortgage counselors at the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. Mr. Jacobs also spent a decade working in national politics, working at different times for media and general political consulting firms, and as a spokesperson for one of the national political parties. 

Mr. Jacobs received a B.A. in Government and Legal Studies from Bowdoin College and a Master’s in Producing for Film and Video from American University.

Benoit Lallemand
Senior Advisor for European Affairs

Mr. Lallemand identifies existing or emerging issues and matters within Europe that overlap with or relate to U.S. regulatory matters. Mr. Lallemand is an expert in market infrastructure, asset servicing and data reporting. He has ten years' experience in the clearing and settlement industry, most recently as senior internal consultant at Euroclear. He has also roots in the NGO world as a founding-member of ATTAC-Bruxelles.

Robert W. Jenkins, FSIP
Senior Fellow

He is a former banker, fund manager and regulator.  He is currently a teacher, board director and public policy advocate. Mr. Jenkins was a senior executive at CitiGroup where he ran the bank’s trading and sales activities in Dubai, Bahrain, Switzerland and Japan.  He followed these 16 years on the “sell side” with a further 18 years on the “buy side.”  He headed the asset management activities of Credit Suisse in Japan and served as CEO and then Chair of F&C Asset Management.  Prior to his appointment at the Bank of England, he was CEO and Partner of Combinatorics Capital, a NY-based hedge fund.

Mr. Jenkins Chaired the Investment Management Association of the UK, the trade body for the investment industry. He co-Chaired the Chancellor’s task force on the “Future of the UK investment Industry” and served on the UK’s Takeover Panel. From 2011to 2013, he served as a founding member of the Bank of England’s Financial Policy Committee. He is currently Adjunct Professor of Finance at London Business School, Senior Advisor to CVC Capital Partners, a Governor of the CFA Institute, and a non-executive Director of the Aberdeen All Asia Investment Trust. He attended university in the US, France and Italy.

Caitlin Kline
Derivatives Specialist

Ms. Kline has been an experienced derivatives trader and analyst throughout the years spanning the global financial crisis.  She has also leveraged her financial expertise in movement to strengthen financial regulation and oversight.

Prior to joining Better Markets, Ms. Kline dedicated her time to financial regulatory reform, providing advisory services and expert guidance to Congressional Committees on issues of derivatives regulation and market practice.  She also drafted numerous comment letters in response to proposed rulemakings by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), and banking regulators.

Notably, Ms. Kline acted as a leading voice in advocacy for a strong Volcker Rule and her work was featured in Frontline’s award-winning documentary on the global financial crisis (“Money, Power and Wall Street”), among other places.

From 2005 to 2011, Ms. Kline worked for Credit Suisse where she spent 5 years as a flow and structured credit derivatives trader in the Emerging Markets Group.  

In 2004 and 2005, prior to her work on the trading desk, Ms. Kline was an analyst with Credit Suisse's Fixed Income Index and Analytics group.

Ms. Kline graduated from New York University.

Austin King
Attorney

Mr. King works on securities, banking, and financial reform matters, including preparing amicus briefs in litigation and comment letters on proposed administrative rules.                                                         

Before joining Better Markets, Mr. King served as a law clerk to Chief Judge Robert A. Katzmann of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and to Judge Jed S. Rakoff of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. Mr. King previously served as President of the City of Madison, WI Common Council, the national director of the Financial Justice Center of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, an organizer with the Service Employees International Union, and a summer associate with Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton.

Mr. King is a summa cum laude graduate of the N.Y.U. School of Law.  While attending N.Y.U., he served as an editor of the Law Review and received the Benjamin F. Butler Memorial Award for Overall Achievement, Order of the Coif, and the Root-Tilden-Kern scholarship. Mr. King also holds a B.S. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and M.P.A. from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Victoria Daka
Attorney and Derivatives Policy Analyst

Ms. Daka joins Better Markets as an Attorney and Derivatives Policy Analyst. 

Prior to joining Better Markets, Ms. Daka was the Regulatory Compliance Counsel, where she advised credit unions on a variety of regulatory compliance issues. Particularly, she identified and analyzed federal legislative and regulatory changes that impacted credit unions, and guided credit unions on implementing new regulatory requirements. She also developed and provided training to compliance teams on regulatory developments, and the design and implementation of appropriate policies and procedures. 

Ms. Daka has also held positions as legal intern/summer associate at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, T. Rowe Price Associates, and U.S. Department of the Treasury. In these roles, Ms. Daka assisted on matters relating to the implementation of the Volcker Rule and derivatives regulation, systemic risk, structured finance, investment management, and corporate governance. 

Ms. Daka graduated with her J.D. Cum Laude from University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. While in law school, she served as team captain of the Saul Lefkowitz Moot Court Team and received the Honorable Murphy Family Scholarship for exceptional academic achievement and a display of activism that promotes change. Ms. Daka holds a B.S. in Psychology with a concentration in Business and minor in the Legal Environment of Business from The Pennsylvania State University.

Lev Bagramian
Senior Securities Policy Advisor

Mr. Bagramian is a Senior Securities Policy Advisor at Better Markets. He brings a comprehensive understanding of legislative processes and Congressional oversight of financial industry and regulatory agencies, and a nuanced understanding of the most effective methods of providing actionable insight. 

Between 2009 and 2013, Mr. Bagramian assisted two Senate Banking Committee Chairmen, Senators Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Tim Johnson (D-SD), on securities and other policy matters. Notably, Mr. Bagramian assisted in the drafting and passage of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act’s securities and investor protection sections, and later the oversight of the implementation of dozens of new rules mandated by the Act. 

Prior to joining Better Markets, Mr. Bagramian was the Manager of Legislative Affairs at the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board, solely responsible for developing and executing its Congressional and Administration policy and strategic goals while advising MSRB’s Board of Directors and Senior Leadership in fulfilling MSRB’s Congressional mandate of investor and issuer protection. 

Mr. Bagramian is a graduate of Columbia University with a dual-major in Economics and Political Science.

Allen Dreschel
Attorney

Allen Dreschel is an Attorney at Better Markets, Inc.

Mr. Dreschel works on a variety of securities, banking, and financial stability-related matters, including preparing amicus briefs in litigation and comment letters on pending rulemakings before the financial regulators. 

Prior to joining Better Markets, Mr. Dreschel served as a law clerk for the Federal Trade Commission, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the Consumer Protection Branch of the U.S. Department of Justice.  In previous positions, he worked as a policy analyst at the Brookings Institution, as an aide in the state legislature, and as a business analyst at a management consulting firm.

Mr. Dreschel is a graduate of Georgia Tech, where he was the Reginald S. Fleet President’s Scholar, and the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.

Riker Vermilye
Congressional Relations Manager

Mr. Vermilye is the Congressional Relations Manager at Better Markets. He brings with him a unique experience conveying complex viewpoints on a variety of issues to different stakeholders, including the Congressional and Executive Branches, , advocacy and policy groups, and industry representatives.

In 2009, Mr. Vermilye interned for Oxfam in Hong Kong, China, where he served under the Policy, Campaigns, and Communications Unit and the International Programme Unit. During his internship, he created resource kits on fair trade products, production, and labeling which in turn helped potential fair trade producers within Oxfam Hong Kong’s reach.

From fall 2010 through spring 2011, Mr. Vermilye interned for two U.S. Senate committees. The first was the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, where he supported preparations for the Senate floor debate of the New START Treaty. He also worked for the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. Among his duties, Mr. Vermilye helped identify and determine potential conflicts of jurisdiction for the committee, followed legislation, and tracked changes throughout the amendment process.

Prior to joining Better Markets, Mr. Vermilye was the legislative assistant for the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, & Urban Affairs. While there, he provided research, analysis and support to senior staff in various areas including securities & market structure issues and rules; FSOC asset manager designations and capital formation issues; sanctions, terror financing and remittance issues; and coin and currency issues. 

Mr. Vermilye attended Ohio Wesleyan University as an international business major, and graduated from Southern Methodist University, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in economics with a focus on international development and a minor in history.

Demetrius Perkins
Executive Assistant to the President and CEO

Demetrius Perkins is the Executive Assistant to the President and CEO of Better Markets.  

Ms. Perkins comes to the organization from Jack and Jill of America, Inc., where she served as the organizations National Membership Coordinator. While there, Ms. Perkins provided strategies to increase membership engagement, retention, and developed procedures for membership processing.

Ms. Perkins also served as the Project Administrator for a consulting firm in Rosslyn, VA. Ms. Perkins provided administrative support to the CTO and Program Managers for the HUD and DCHA contracts. 

Ms. Perkins has over 10 years of experience as a support specialist assisting industry-leading organizations’ achieve success in the Customer Support, and Non-Profit Industries.

Shanessa Bryant
Communications Associate

Ms. Bryant joins Better Markets as the Communications Associate. 

Prior to joining Better Markets, Ms. Bryant was the Marketing Communications Specialist, AmeriCorps Vista at Points of Light developing communication materials and coordinating outreach campaigns. At Points of Light Ms. Bryant created the departments’ first bi-weekly newsletter and twitter account. 

Prior to that she worked as Marketing and Event Coordinator at Goels Plaza where she developed a strategic marketing plan, assisted in the creation of a new company website and coordinated facility events. Ms. Bryant also worked as the Marketing Assistant for University Relations at UNC Greensboro, where she assisted in the implementation of the award winning DSBA campaign, and Marketing Intern for Carolina Cheetahs Semi-Pro Basketball Team. 

Ms. Bryant is a graduate of UNC Greensboro with a major in Business and concentration in Marketing. 

Daniel Wynn
Researcher

Prior to joining Better Markets, Mr. Wynn worked at Angerholzer Broz Consulting, LLC as a finance intern.  While at Angerholzer Broz Consulting, he assisted in providing political consulting and fundraising services to Democratic incumbents and candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives. Among his duties, he planned and implemented fundraising events, prepared briefing memoranda, and organized donor networks using specialized databases.

Prior to working at Angerholzer Broz Consulting, Mr. Wynn interned in Congressman Paul Tonko's Washington, DC office and worked on the Cory Booker for U.S. Senate campaign as a part of the field staff.

Mr. Wynn graduated from the University of Delaware in 2013, where he was a Dean’s list student and member of the Pi Sigma Alpha Honor Society.  He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science with a minor in History.

Alumni
Past Employees of Better Markets

Todd Phillips

Todd Phillips was the Attorney at Better Markets. Currently he is Counsel and Policy Advisor to Representative Elijah Cummings (D-MD) and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Prior to joining Better Markets, Mr. Phillips worked at the Office of Financial Research within the Department of Treasury, where he served as the Program Assistant. During his time there, Mr. Phillips provided legal research for the Chief of Counsel on issues regarding the implementation of the Global Legal Entity Identifier system as well as other legal research. In the past two years, Mr. Philips also served as a law clerk at the Office of the General Counsel within the Antitrust Division at Department of Justice in addition to the Office of Senator Carl Levin and the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. His tasks ranged from conducting research and writing memos on certain issues to assisting in witness interviews and expert briefings. Mr. Phillips is a graduate of Arizona State University, Barrett Honors College. He received his law degree from University of Michigan Law School.

Jesse Medalia Strauss

Mr. Strauss was the Digital Communications Associate at Better Markets. Currently he is a freelance video producer/editor in Washington, DC. Mr. Strauss grew up in New York City where he developed a passion for filmmaking, digital media, storytelling, and advocacy. Among other things, during his undergraduate years, he directed and edited a feature length documentary on income inequality called ‘Our Shining City. Mr. Strauss is a graduate of American University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in Film and Media Arts and his master’s degree in Political Communication.

Jessica Ault

Jessica Ault was the Researcher of Better Markets, Inc.  She is currently a graduate student at the University of Maryland at College Park where she studies Library Science. Ms. Ault previously served in Senator Byron Dorgan’s office as a legislative correspondent covering banking and budget issues, among other areas. Prior to working in Senator Dorgan’s office, Ms. Ault attended the University of Jamestown in North Dakota, where she graduated with honors and majored in English, History-Political Science and Communications.

Katelynn Bradley

Katelynn Bradley was the Attorney at Better Markets, Inc. She currently works as Senior Counsel for the House Committee on Financial Services for Ranking Member Maxine Waters. Before joining Better Markets, Ms. Bradley worked for a Washington, D.C. law firm where she supported a securities litigation practice.  During law school, she completed a full-year externship at the Division of Trading and Markets of the SEC, assisting with the rulemaking process under Titles VII and VIII of the Dodd-Frank Act. She also served as an extern to the Office of the Attorney General for the State of North Carolina, representing state agencies such as the Commissioner of Banks. Ms. Bradley graduated from the University of North Carolina and received her law degree from the University of North Carolina School of Law.

Marc Jarsulic

Marc Jarsulic was the Chief Economist at Better Markets, Inc. He is currently the Vice President for Economic Policy at Center for American Progress. He has extensive experience in economic policy research and market regulation. From 2009 to 2011, Dr. Jarsulic was Chief Economist for the Democratic staff of the Senate Committee on Banking Housing and Urban Affairs. During that time, he played a key role in drafting the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. He also served as Deputy Staff Director and Chief Economist for the Democratic staff of the congressional Joint Economic Committee during 2007-2009, where he led a team that undertook one of the first studies of the subprime mortgage crisis prior to the 2008 financial crisis. Between 1998 and 2007, Dr. Jarsulic practiced law, serving as senior risk advisor in the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of Risk Assessment and practiced antitrust law at the Federal Trade Commission. Until 1998, he was Professor of Economics at the University of Notre Dame.  He has a Ph.D. in Economics (Pennsylvania) and a J.D. (Michigan).  Dr. Jarsulic’s publications include Anatomy of a Financial Crisis: A Real Estate Bubble, Runaway Credit Markets, and Regulatory Failure (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010).

David Frenk

David Frenk was the Research Director at Better Markets, Inc.  He now works as a Consultant. Mr. Frenk has significant experience in financial markets, and has had extensive training in statistical analysis and other formal mathematical techniques. Since 2009, Mr. Frenk has coordinated research into the study of how the commodity markets and capital markets function. He has met with representatives of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), and U.K. Financial Services Authority (FSA), as well as members of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives to discuss these topics. He has lectured in the United States and his native United Kingdom on market structure and function and on regulatory frameworks. Mr. Frenk has co-authored, with Michael W. Masters, two papers,Anthropic Finance: How Markets Function,and Balanced Markets: The Social Role of Markets. He wrote The Price of Speculation, an article that was featured in the June 2010 issue of Oil & Energy Magazine, and was the lead author of the widely cited Review of Irwin and Sanders OECD Reports 2010. Prior to joining Better Markets, Mr. Frenk worked in both the private and public sectors on a range of business and policy issues. He was a consultant to the Rwandan government on economic strategy and policy. He also worked at OECD’s Center for Education Research and Innovation as a consultant on education policy across Europe.  In addition, Mr. Frenk was a full-time researcher at Masters Capital Research, coordinating theoretical and empirical analyses of markets and trading strategies. Mr. Frenk studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) at Oxford University before completing his graduate studies in Philosophy at New York University.  At both institutions, he was the recipient of numerous academic awards and scholarships.

Wallace C. Turbeville

Wallace C. Turbeville was the Derivatives Specialist at Better Markets, Inc., specializing in derivatives and market structures.  He is now a Senior Fellow at Demos, a national non-partisan think tank. He is a graduate of Vanderbilt University (B.A., 1974) and Vanderbilt Law School (J.D., 1977). Upon receiving his law degree, he practiced law in the finance field for seven years at Mudge, Rose, Guthrie, Alexander & Ferdon, Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo and LeBoeuf, Lamb, Leiby & MacRae. Mr. Turbeville joined Goldman, Sachs & Co. in 1985 as a Vice President in the Public Finance Department.  In 1990, he became Co-Head of the European Structured Finance Group in London, focusing primarily on energy and transportation. He returned to New York in 1995 as a senior member of the Infrastructure Group, a joint venture between the Investment Banking and Fixed Income Divisions.

In 1997, Mr. Turbeville founded the Kensington Group as its Managing Partner. The firm focused on financial advisory services and private equity investment in domestic and international energy, environmental and telecommunications sectors. Mr. Turbeville became Chief Executive Officer of VMAC LLC in late 2002. He led the development of an innovative business model for the post-trade management of credit exposures in over-the-counter derivatives transactions, adapting many of the characteristics of traditional clearing for initial application in the OTC energy markets. Mr. Turbeville left VMAC in late 2009 to devote his efforts to financial reform, energy and environmental policy issues. Prior to joining Better Markets in October 2010, he published nearly 30 articles concerning financial reform, energy, the environment and political opinion.

Richard Maurano

Richard Maurano was the External Affairs Specialist at Better Markets, Inc. He is now retired. Mr. Maurano has 30 years of executive leadership experience as a senior level staff member for the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Financial Services with an instrumental role in the development of housing and financial policy throughout this period. From 2008 to 2010, he worked for the U.S. House of Representatives as the Director of Legislative Affairs, Committee on Financial Services. During this time, Congress enacted the Dodd-Frank Act. From 1999 through 2007, Mr. Maurano worked for the Fannie Mae Corporation as a Director in the Government and Industry Relations department, where he was able to develop and nurture professional relationships with members of Congress and staff of relevant legislative committees. From 1975 through 1989, Mr. Maurano served in various positions within the U.S. House of Representatives.  In 1989, he became the Deputy Democratic Staff Director for the Committee on Banking and Financial Services for the U.S. House of Representatives. Mr. Maurano is a graduate of Providence College and earned his Master’s degree from Rhode Island College.

Vanessa Vaquerano

Vanessa Vaquerano was the Staff Assistant at Better Markets, Inc. She currently works at a law firm as a Legal Administrative Assistant. Before coming to Better Markets, Inc., Ms. Vaquerano was the Temporary Editor Assistant at the Pan American Health Organization.  While there, her main tasks included the editing and formatting of documents for web publication and official use during meetings. Ms. Vaquerano is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University.  Ms. Vaquerano received her degree in Political Science, with a concentration in Public Policy and Administration.