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The big-bank compliance chief

Julie Richard, BA 96
July 4, 2022
By Charlie Fidelman

You could say that financial services lawyer Julie Richard holds the keys to one of the world’s largest banks. Richard is the Global Head of Wealth Management Compliance for the Bank of New York Mellon, with $45.5 trillion in assets under custody.

Richard lends her expertise to overseeing compliance within the organization and ensuring the bank’s compliance with laws, regulatory requirements, policies and procedures. The compliance role in a major bank is like being a legal counsel providing a deeper understanding of the operations on the regulatory side, Richard says, "but I don’t think even my mom knows what I do."

Keys to success

"Being at the right place at the right time, hard work, focus and dedication."

Hurdle turned into stepping-stone

"Corporate reorganization at Brown Brothers Harriman, my previous job, was challenging. It involved merging multiple organizations and I became chief compliance officer of private banking. The new role was terrifying but it got me to where I am today."

Career satisfaction

"I’m not just behind the scenes; I speak to clients at conferences about regulatory matters. My first job is being a mom, and my day starts by getting my six- and nine-year-old off to school."

Influential professor

“A course with the then chair of the Department of Political Science, Maria Peloso, on women and the law, was my first step towards law school. A few professors wrote me 21 reference letters, hand-signed and mailed directly to the law schools I applied to.

Best career advice

“Go for it! When I was considering applying for my role at BNY Mellon, I had all but one box checked. When I hesitated, my husband noted that a man wouldn’t think twice about leaning in and applying. He said, ‘They’ll never find a unicorn — you should do it.’”

Paying it forward

“I feel it’s my obligation to give back. I’m involved in many women leadership initiatives, creating opportunities for junior women to develop the hard skills necessary for promotion. We’re invested in each others’ success, and in being role models for the next generation."

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