2012 SFAB Candidate Profiles – North Region
Managing Director, Legal & Compliance
Leerink Swann LLC
Mr. Fitzgerald is a Managing Director—Legal and Compliance at Leerink Swann LLC, an investment banking firm that offers healthcare equity research, corporate finance, capital markets sales and trading for institutional clients, where he provides legal and regulatory guidance. He has previously held legal and compliance management positions at American General Funds Distributors, CypressTree Investments, Fechtor Detwiler, Boston Stock Exchange and Fidelity Investments. Mr. Fitzgerald is currently serving a three-year term on the District 11 Committee and has previously served on the Small Firm Advisory Board. As part of the Member Relations Group, he recently met with the FINRA Board to discuss the impact of regulation on small firms. He served as a panelist for the 2009 SEC-FINRA CCOutreach BD National Seminar and the FINRA Annual Conference in 2010. Mr. Fitzgerald has served as an arbitrator for NASD and New York Stock Exchange and is eligible to serve on FINRA's Disciplinary Hearing Panels. Mr. Fitzgerald has also served on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Independent Broker-Dealers. He received his B.A. from the University of Massachusetts (Amherst) and a J.D. from Suffolk University Law School.
Over the past thirty years I have gained broad experience across many sectors of the financial services industry—institutional and retail sales, investment banking, equity trading, research, corporate finance, marketing, investment company and investment adviser activities, mutual fund distribution, and regulatory—with both small and large firms (including start-up broker-dealers going through the membership approval process) and at a regional stock exchange (Boston) where I was responsible for governmental relations, regulatory affairs and trading services. As an attorney, I have also represented RRs and member firms in administrative and disciplinary proceedings.
This is a critical time in the life of the small firm. The Madoff and Stanford scandals and the passage of Dood-Frank have resulted in small firms facing a rush of regulatory initiatives. In my service on the Small Firm Advisory Board and District Committee I sought to raise the voice of the small firm member and also reached out to many of you for guidance and assistance. I believe that I have established a solid relationship with FINRA staff to continue to present a reasoned position on behalf of the small firms in the North Region. Your support would be appreciated.
Sussman Financial Services, LLC
I have been in the industry for over 26 years starting as a financial advisor. I have held the positions of CEO, CCO AND COO for two small firm Broker Dealers. I currently serve as a District Committee Member for District 11. I have consulted with small firms on building a compliance program and establishing a compliance culture to assist with scaling the compliance department within the firm to adapt to the firm's growth strategy. I actively participate when possible as a panelist for enforcement hearings and am interested in continuing my involvement with FINRA.
Today small firms are overwhelmed with the regulations they are required to adhere to. Their WSP is not easily understood by the persons required to understand it and the compliance department is under staffed. I want to work with FINRA and small firms on developing a Compliance Program and Culture that can be broken down to address the firm's risks and exposure and design tactical programs to assist the CCO with compliance. FINRA member firms today are not all full service as they were in the past. FINRA members are small private placement, M&A and third party marketers. Many of these firms were not required to be registered in the past and struggle today with compliance. I believe my knowledge will assist all with understanding and adopting FINRA's rules to create a proactive compliance program.
Chief Compliance Officer
Sage Rutty & Co., Inc
I am the Chief Compliance Officer and Registered Options Principal of Sage Rutty & Co., Inc. a dually registered broker dealer that has been a mainstay of the Rochester New York financial community for the last 97 years. Since my original registration with FINRA in 1995, I have served in various roles in operations, licensing, AML, and Training.
Since joining Sage Rutty & Co., Inc. in 2007, I have been charged with the design, implementation and execution of all policies, processes and systems required to meet the firm's regulatory obligations. In addition, I am responsible for all interactions with regulators and responsible for coordination on all legal issues. Outside of my Legal and Compliance duties, I assist with marketing to develop strategies for introducing the firm to both clients and advisors, and participate with our management team to secure Sage Rutty's place as a respected firm in our community as we enter our next 100 years.
I currently hold Series 4, 7, 24, 63, life, accident and health licenses. I am a member of the National Society of Compliance Professionals and participate in various programs offered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).
Over the last twenty seven years in the financial services industry, I have gained the knowledge and tools needed to be able to grasp the unique environment small firms operate in and how best to tailor processes to allow them to comply in an ever changing regulatory environment. As someone with knowledge in all aspects of broker dealer operations, I can assess the impact of regulations and offer suggestions on how to mitigate unintended consequences while maintaining the spirit of any proposed change.
I realize that I have achieved success with the assistance of many along my road, and I continuously look for opportunities to help others in our industry wherever I can. By participating as a District Committee member, I want to use my past experiences to help all firms navigate regulations effectively to be better able to serve the needs of their clients in the future.