Chief Operating Officer
Chief Compliance Officer
If I told you my career in compliance began as a tile salesman while dabbling in indie rock, would you believe me?
My grandfather Lenny was a tile patriarch, having taught the trade to my father, uncles and seemingly half of Long Island. Following suit, my father emerged as another tile legend, known as much for filling a 60,000 square foot order as he was for grouting a neighbor’s backsplash. Naturally, my older brother and I were destined to keep the family tradition alive. While friends surfed the South Shore, we spent summers commuting 40 miles to the warehouse my father managed, putting in 60-hour work weeks. Sleeves rolled, here is where my brother and I bonded over music, relationships and, most importantly, where I fully discovered the infectious power of hard work.
Through four years of college, I kept full-time jobs in the business. When my father decided to start his own tile sales and consulting firm, I became his right-hand man. I managed to keep up with my course work as well, graduating with a 4.0 from C.W. Post Long Island University.
Shortly after college I married my high school sweetheart, parted ways with the family business and started a job at a tile studio in the Flatiron section of New York City – continuing in the industry I thought I’d never leave. I was managing my brother’s lo-fi indie band Beat Radio at the time, a pursuit that surprisingly sharpened my organizational skills, when the stage was set for my first compliance job. After a late gig at the Lower East Side’s Mercury Lounge, the guitarist’s friend, a compliance VP at Citigroup Asset Management, observed: “You are very detailed, you’d be great at compliance.” I quipped back: “You think so? Okay … what’s compliance?” A crash course ensued, an interview was nailed and a career was born.
As a Compliance Associate at Citi, I learned the ropes quickly, graduating to a managerial role in nine months. After a merger in December 2005, I left Citi as an Assistant Vice President and landed as a Compliance Officer at Western Asset Management. Here I was integral in the migration of Citi’s business onto Western’s platform, while drastically improving monitoring capabilities. Still, I strived to expand my experience and learn the alternative space. I joined Och-Ziff in 2007 and over the next seven years, I worked on just about every aspect of the firm’s compliance program. After building the global regulatory reporting function, I was promoted to co-manager of the U.S. compliance program. Leadership and creative thinking were two skills that I yearned to hone, and this shift in responsibility allowed me to achieve that goal. By chance, I learned about the opportunity at Daruma. I recall telling my wife that the job description was “written for me” and I would “get that job.” After the refreshingly honest interview process, my excitement intensified.
When I joined Daruma in April 2015, it was obvious that compliance permeated the tone from the top. Culturally and philosophically, Daruma is a compliance officer’s oasis – an environment rich with prudence, where I’m empowered to do what is right with no operational barricades. Our vigorous approach to compliance and penchant for transparency resonates with our clients. My mission is not only to monitor risk and steward a world-class compliance program, but also to equip my colleagues with the knowledge required to meet our fiduciary duty to clients. The opportunity to add value and be valued, protect the firm and put our clients’ needs first … that is truly a mosaic of personal and professional fulfillment.