Meet the Team: Christy Moccia, Chief Compliance Officer
July 25, 2019
Senior Marketing Associate
Christy joined Clear Street in April 2019 to lead Compliance. Prior to Clear Street, she was Chief Compliance Officer (CCO) at Virtu, a global market maker and financial services company.
What got you into compliance?
It’s an interesting story. I was returning to the workforce after staying home with my kids for a couple of years. I happened to make a connection with somebody who worked for a broker-dealer and investment advisor. He said, “If you ever want to get back into the workforce, just let me know.”
When I reached out to him, he happened to have a job in compliance. Well, I had no compliance experience at all, particularly at a broker-dealer or investment advisor, but I was interested in the job. I interviewed and I got the job.
I worked hard, moved up, and moved on to other opportunities. Now, here we are 15 years later, and I am building the Compliance team at Clear Street.
What brought you to Clear Street?
I worked with Chris (the Co-Founder and CEO of Clear Street) at Knight Capital Group. At that time Knight was the biggest market maker in U.S. equities, trading over 15% of the NYSE and NASDAQ.
The firm decided to build its own self-clearing capabilities. It was a massive project and Chris was in charge of it. I advised the project from a regulatory compliance perspective.
The experience gave me a lot of confidence that Clear Street would have an experienced and well-managed team.
As I learned more about the bigger picture — the vision for Clear Street — I became really excited about the technology and strategic direction.
What was your proudest achievement or moment in your career?
I came into compliance with no experience, relatively late in my career, after I took five years off to raise my kids.
I’m proud of the fact that I could come back to work, get started in compliance, and work my way up to being the CCO of one of the largest market-making firms in the world.
Financial services is a male-dominated industry and the market-making space in particular is very male-heavy. It’s been a great experience getting the opportunity to have a voice in these organizations and bringing a different way of thinking through problems.
I think that’s been my biggest achievement — establishing a new career, surviving multiple acquisitions, keeping my role, and elevating my role within the organization over time.
What did you learn from that achievement?
There is a way to make a career, no matter your background.
I don’t have a law degree, I didn’t come from a law firm, and I didn’t start my career at the “right” company. Still, I found a path to a career that I love.
I try to remind the individuals that I mentor, and my own kids for that matter, that you’re never silo-ed into one career path. You always have an opportunity to pivot, make a shift, find something that you’re interested in, and develop a passion. It’s never too late never to find where you really want to go from a career perspective.
Did that achievement shape your leadership style?
I think two things shape my leadership style in particular:
One is the path that I’ve taken. It makes me more open to people from non-traditional areas and non-traditional backgrounds. I think there’s a lot of value that folks can add to the conversation when they don’t have the same experience and background as others.
The other thing that shapes my leadership style, in this industry in particular, is the fact that I am a woman. I think women and men think about things differently, problem-solve differently, and have different risk appetites.
I believe that having multiple approaches to problem-solving and working together is a much more powerful way of creating a well-balanced leadership team.
What’s your top goal for the company?
My biggest goal is to really embed compliance in our culture. I think that if you’re a compliance officer who’s very pragmatic and willing to work with your business, you can form a stronger culture of compliance and reduce your regulatory risk. It will allow the business to focus on things that are important to growing the business, because they’re not distracted with regulatory issues.
My goal is to just be an accessible constant presence in the office so that folks feel comfortable and know that they can come to compliance with questions and get guidance. It’s not something that they need to figure out on their own.
If you had a magic wand and could fix anything as it relates to compliance, what would it be?
One of the biggest challenges that folks in the compliance function face is really just the changing regulatory expectations. Our regulators are constantly changing their perspective about the way they do things, how much importance they place on various parts of the rules. If I could change one thing it would be a more open dialogue between regulators and the industry so that the model of self-regulation could function more efficiently and properly. We should all work together for the same goal — having fair, transparent markets that function properly.
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