Mona Sutphen Profile

  • Mona Sutphen served as Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy to President Obama.

  • Senior Advisor, The Vistria Group.

  • Sutphen has spent over 20 years working with Fortune 500 multinationals, institutional investors and philanthropy on the intersection of politics, policy and markets.
  • Mona Sutphen has over 20 years’ experience advising multinational corporate, philanthropic, and institutional investors on the intersection of geopolitics, policy, and markets. She is a senior advisor at The Vistria Group, a Chicago-based private equity firm.

    Previously, she was a Partner at Macro Advisory Partners (MAP), where she led the firm’s US practice advising clients on emerging risks and opportunities across a range of sectors including energy/environment, technology, trade, sanctions, national security and fiscal policy matters, and related regulation.

    Prior to joining MAP, Ms. Sutphen was managing director at UBS AG, where she developed new tools for political risk evaluation impacting capital markets. From 2009–2011, she served as White House deputy chief of staff for policy for President Obama, where she advanced the policy and regulatory agenda on a range of issues, including technology, telecom, trade, small business, and housing/GSE reform.

    Previously, Ms. Sutphen was managing director at Stonebridge International, and earlier led regulatory strategy for Currenex, the first Internet-based institutional foreign exchange trading platform. From 1991–2000 Ms. Sutphen was a career diplomat, serving on the staff of the National Security Council during the Clinton administration and the U.S. Mission to the UN, among other posts. She also served on the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

    Ms. Sutphen is an Independent Director for Pioneer Natural Resources (NYSE: PXD) and Pattern Energy (NASDAQ: PEGI) and serves on the Boards of the International Rescue Committee and Human Rights First, as well as on the advisory board of the Center for Global Energy Policy at Columbia University. Ms. Sutphen is a Trustee of Mount Holyoke College, and co-author of The Next American Century. She holds BA from Mount Holyoke College and an MSc from the London School of Economics.

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    Mona Sutphen's Speech Descriptions

    The Global Battle for "Digital Property"

    Drawing on her experience advising leading Silicon Valley players and start-up tech firms, Mona Sutphen understands that the competition for cutting-edge technology and intellectual property has extended from market players – and now too in the political and regulatory arena. She paints a vivid picture of the impact from the global clash over the future of the digital commons and associated economic power, which will impact all aspects of the global economy.

    An Outlook on Crypto & Digital Assets (Bitcoin, Dogecoin and others)

    As a co-founder of a blockchain trading protocol called Hashflow, Mona Sutphen provides her unique vantage point on the crypto landscape & the trendlines to include the following:

    The maturation of the crypto industry and its path toward institutionalization. All of the developments – increasing M&A, rally in crypto assets, Coinbase IPO, focus on DeFi and NFTs are all signs that crypto and blockchain applications are going mainstream. The mass adoption of these technologies has major implications for traditional financial services players – especially banks and custodians – but major opportunities as well.

    Digitization of financial markets. We’re in the first stages of the shift to digital currencies with China’s launch of the digital Yuan, alongside the maturation of crypto trading, smart contracts, and blockchain infrastructure. As these technologies improve and scale, they will enable seamless and efficient delivery of peer-to-peer financial services globally, facilitating the ‘democratization of finance’.

    Winners and Losers in the path toward digital finance. We are headed toward a world in which financial assets are no longer centralized and access to financial services is fast, efficient and available globally at the micro-level. This poses huge risks and opportunities for traditional financial industry players and government stakeholders – with an exciting yet bumpy and uncertain path.

    Weaponization of Financial Markets

    Drawing on her experience managing global capital market risks, Mona Sutphen discusses how financial sanctions and investment restrictions have emerged as the ‘go to’ US policy tool and will remain a feature of the policy landscape. She explains how the combination of a tighter regulatory regime and demands for greater transparency will make compliance increasingly difficult and costly for global financial institutions, including in the private equity world.

    Supply Chain Dislocation and Changing Incentives on Trade

    The world is seeing a retreat of the ‘rules-based’ trading order as the move to the digital economy gains momentum and major powers seek greater national control of supply chains. Mona Sutphen sees this trend as already having major consequences for US companies that rely on export markets and complex global supply chains and draws on her experience in geopolitics and the financial markets to explain why this is likely to be a source of tension for the foreseeable future.

    ESG & Energy Markets

    The climate crisis has turned the geopolitics of energy on their head, changing how the industry, consumers, regulators and capital markets approach the central role of energy in the global economy. Drawing on her experience in geopolitics, Board service for a US energy producer and knowledge of regulatory and capital market trends, Mona examines why the US ability to innovate and rapidly adopt new technologies in fossil fuels and renewables will continue to create a world of energy ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’; and further predicts the massive, cascading consequences for markets and geopolitics.

    The US-China Struggle to Win the Future

    Drawing on her experience advising leading Silicon Valley players and start-up tech firms, Mona Sutphen understands that the competition for cutting edge technology and intellectual property has extended from market players – and now too in the political and regulatory arena. She paints a vivid picture of the impact of the clash over the direction of emerging technologies and the digital commons, which will impact all aspects of the global economy.

    Future of Capitalism

    Both expected and unintentional spill-over effects from the focus on profits above all have brought us to a critical moment in the US economy. Technology changes, pension shortfalls and demographic shifts will only amplify the pressures that have been building, and while it is clear a new social compact is required, the path to get there is uncertain. Building on her experience leading an initiative among leading private equity investors, capital allocators and academics on the future of capitalism, Mona Sutphen explains the necessity of action and the role private companies can play in facilitating change.

    The World After COVID

    This is the first moment since WWII that the entire world is experiencing the same crisis – and it has and will leave an indelible mark on our politics, the global economy and our way of life. Mona Sutphen leverages her past experience working on prior pandemics (H1/N1 and Ebola) to comment on how the COVID-19 pandemic will amplify the global mega trends that were already shaping the globe, and implications for global corporations and investors.

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