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Exploding National Demand in Compliance Field Finds Prime Candidates among UAlbany Students Studying Financial Market Regulation

Recent UAlbany FMR alums, from left: Julia Baris (Ernst and Young), Maxwell Amoako (Goldman Sachs, formerly of FINRA), Jesse Johnson (formerly at FINRA and now at Northwestern Mutual), Ronald Benson (FINRA), Kathryn Pendergast (FINRA), and Basil Swaby, Jr. (FINRA), have all gone on to successful careers. (Photo by Mark Schmidt)

ALBANY, N.Y. (September 15, 2014) – Students and alumni of the Interdisciplinary Studies concentration in Financial Market Regulation (FMR) at the University at Albany are well poised to reap the benefits from the growing, intense competition for qualified compliance officers. The nature of UAlbany’s unique interdisciplinary program educates and trains students, while the program’s connections with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and other organizations establish the path for a successful compliance career. According to The Wall Street Journal, “compliance officer” is one of the hottest jobs in America because of new risk and compliance rules enacted after the 2008 financial crisis. UAlbany helps fill this pipeline through its School of Business-administered studies in financial market regulation. Students can earn a B.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in FMR, or a separate minor in FMR. Many students have combined the program with their degrees in accounting, finance, computer science, and other fields. Rita Biswas of the School of Business and David McCaffrey of Rockefeller College are the FMR faculty advisers.

UAlbany FMR students Anthony Bisram and Sarah Davies

Nagendra "Anthony" Bisram and Sarah Davies are currently studying FMR at UAlbany (Photo by Mark Schmidt). 

Irwin Nack ’85, is the Chief Compliance Officer and General Manager in the Compliance Division for the Americas at The Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd. According to Nack, who studied history and criminal justice at UAlbany, there “is an incredible demand for experienced staff in legal and compliance activities in banking. That demand is expected to grow and not dissipate anytime soon. Given the shortage of experienced personnel, we on the hiring side have to think creatively. It is an important advantage to have a pool of college graduates to draw on for some of these roles: graduates who have actually studied in the field and thus demonstrated their interest in compliance.”

New York City resident Nicole Sheena, FMR ’11, who now works for Goldman, Sachs & Co., said, “While other areas are contracting, compliance is growing.” Sheena believes UAlbany prepared her to be self-motivated and resourceful, while impressing upon her the importance of networking.

Current FMR students learn about business operations and the new regulatory controls applying to them. “The tasks of finding and perfecting long-lasting solutions will be placed on my generation, therefore giving me an opportunity to take part in securing our financial system,” said UAlbany junior Sarah Davies of Exeter, N.H. Davies studies financial market regulation and accounting, and was able to attend a presentation by FINRA, where Davies and other students networked with UAlbany alumni who currently work or previously worked there.

“Going into UAlbany as a freshman with a business concentration, and not knowing much else, the FMR focus has allowed me to find a niche that I otherwise would not have found,” said Davies.

Nagendra “Anthony” Bisram of the Bronx, a senior who studied both FMR and Information Science, found his path as well.

“I found great faculty at UAlbany who are highly passionate in their subject area and who provide mentorship to FMR students. Studying FMR provides a broad background that allows me to tailor my skills to different positions,” said Bisram.

Basil Swaby, Jr. ’12, of New York City, who graduated with a B.A. in economics and a B.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies with the concentration in financial market regulation and works for FINRA in broker-dealer regulation, firmly agrees.

“If it wasn’t for my FMR studies I can’t imagine where else I would have been exposed to this area and these issues in such detail. Coupled with great teachers and a great alumni network, I can’t imagine any other school that could offer this type of education,” he said.

Maxwell A. Amoako ’11, who worked at FINRA and is now at Goldman, Sachs & Co., said, “Looking back, it (studying FMR at UAlbany) is easily one of my single best decisions thus far.”

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A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.