Charles Managing Director, Regional Regulatory Affairs Global Compliance division, London

Compliance is here to advise the firm, to have opinions and make decisions. We “go live” every day: There is no practice run. Every decision we make we have to stand by. While that can appear to be intimidating, it is also very empowering.

My Work

I am Head of Compliance for Goldman Sachs International and oversee the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) region. We have a team of over 100 people in the region, which covers many countries and over 40 regulators. Our primary function is to ensure that the firm complies with the rules and regulations of our industry. Most important, we help ensure that the firm’s reputation is protected, and we are a trusted adviser to the business.

The variety of activities we cover is very broad; every day provides new challenges and interests. I have grown accustomed to the unpredictability of financial markets but sometimes dealing with regions newer to us comes with new practicalities to get accustomed to as well – for example, when flying from Dubai to Moscow last February, I found there was a 48 degree Celsius temperature change to deal with!

We have constant dialogue with the business side of the firm. We also interact with many other parts of the firm including Legal, Financial Controllers, Operations and Human Capital Management, as well as external financial regulators, exchanges and law firms.

My Day

I am currently undertaking due diligence work on a Middle Eastern company in which the firm is considering making a strategic investment. That involves working with a large team of people from all parts of the firm across several countries. Language, culture and time zones make the work both interesting and challenging. I certainly did not expect to learn about diverse Middle Eastern legal structures when I started my twentieth year at Goldman Sachs.

Compliance is here to advise the firm, to have opinions and make decisions. We “go live” every day: There is no practice run. Every decision we make we have to stand by. While that can appear to be intimidating, it is also very empowering.

I feel rewarded by getting the job done and feeling it is well done. The firm demands high standards under often challenging timelines. I feel fortunate to have a great network of experts and experience to draw upon. While you may not always have an immediate answer, there is a wise and diverse group of people to reach out to for assistance.

My Path

I spent the majority of my career on the trading floor, trading convertible bonds. I also spent five years in our Tokyo office, which was a fantastic experience for me and my family. I have been impressed in my travels how the Goldman Sachs brand and values transcend cultures and countries.

As a young graduate, I wondered, “Am I smart enough to work with these people?” Twenty years later, I am still undecided – I just wonder whether I’m smart enough to work with the new graduates!

Myself

For anyone considering a career in compliance, I would offer the following advice: Compliance in recent years has become a key function for the investment banking industry. It demands high standards and a high level of accountability. We look for decisive people with intellectual curiosity, the ability to interpret information quickly, attention for detail and good communication skills.
 

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