Get to know Suzy Auletta, SVP, CCO RJFS, and Head of Private Client Group Compliance
Learn about Suzy’s journey from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange to Raymond James Compliance, and her appreciation for stretch projects.
Suzy rappelling in Mismaloya, Mexico
Suzy grew up on Long Island. After graduating from the State University of New York (SUNY) Albany with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and sociology, she worked on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) floor while attending Brooklyn Law School in the evenings to earn her Juris Doctor. Curious about the stock market and intrigued by the hustle and bustle of the NYSE floor, she launched what would become a successful legal and compliance career in the securities industry. Suzy lives in Florida and is an avid boater.
Tell us about your career path.
After passing the New York Bar Exam, I worked as an enforcement attorney at the American Stock Exchange (AMEX). The AMEX Enforcement Department later became part of National Association of Securities Dealers Enforcement, and then the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). I worked at the AMEX for twelve years, ultimately becoming chief enforcement counsel. I then joined a small boutique law firm adjacent to the NYSE, where I represented firms and traders in regulatory enforcement matters.
Landing my dream job
A few years later, I received an offer to be the CCO and chief regulatory attorney for one of the largest trading firms on the NYSE. It was my dream job for sure. I will never forget when the general counsel called me and offered me the job. I must have thanked him 10 times. I was thrilled to be heading back to my favorite place in the world, the NYSE trading floor, doing what I loved most – legal and compliance!
Broker/dealer surveillance and compliance
By 2006, the securities industry was changing rapidly. Trading had become more automated and trading firms on the NYSE floor had consolidated. I figured it was a good time to learn compliance from the retail/private client side of the business. It was then that I joined Merrill Lynch as head of global private client surveillance. My years of being on different sides of the same business benefited me greatly in this role. Securities industry compliance work is multifaceted with an endless array of evolving products, regulations, and controls. I have always loved investigations and surveillance – figuring out how and why things happen.
Transforming the Surveillance department opened more doors for me at Merrill and, subsequently, at Bank of America. I accepted every project, opportunity, and initiative offered to me, and ended up managing nearly every core compliance function. By the time I left the firm, I had become a managing director in global wealth and investment management compliance.
Suzy is no stranger to new adventures
In 2014, I joined the compliance team at LPL Financial and moved to Charlotte, NC. A year and half later, I was promoted to CCO and oversaw anti-money laundering transaction monitoring, investigations, and fraud risk. At the time, I lived on Lake Wylie, about 20 minutes from my office. In my free time, I did yoga and went boating on the lake with my friends.
About four years later, I heard about an opportunity at Raymond James. I learned about the culture of the firm and met Emma Bredin, CCO of Raymond James at the time. The rest, as they say, is history! I sold my pontoon boat and was Florida bound in 2018.
Tell us about your current role.
I truly love my role leading Private Client Group (PCG) Compliance. It has given me the chance to work with extraordinary people and combine two separate compliance teams (RJA and RJFS) into one strong, cohesive PCG Compliance team. We are constantly strengthening our controls and working closely with supervision and divisional management. Every day, I’m thankful for the talent, expertise, dedication, trust, and collaboration of all the team members. We are all pulling in the same direction to strengthen the foundation and effectiveness of the team.
What is the best advice you’ve ever had?
When additional responsibilities or challenging assignments become available at work, step up and volunteer – regardless of how busy you are. Offer to help colleagues with different initiatives, even if you have more than enough of your own work to do. You will find a way to get it all done. These experiences will increase your knowledge, expertise, and circle of colleagues. The positive impact on you and your career could be quite significant. For instance, I was asked to build a vendor compliance function at Merrill Lynch (in addition to my regular compliance responsibilities). At the time, I had more than enough work to do, and really did not know where to start, but I said yes anyway. The experience was extremely challenging and rewarding, and it helped me get promoted to managing director.
Suzy boating at the Jersey Shore
What does “bringing your full self to work” mean to you?
It means being authentic and true to yourself. Over the past 30+ years in the securities industry, I never quite fit into the mold of a traditional “Wall Street lawyer” or CCO. Years ago, it was harder to bring your whole self to work, but I tried to bring as much of myself as possible every day. Hard work, dedication, and passion for what you do should be more important than other things people may judge you on. Persistence is the key; have your own style and speak up about your own ideas, strategies, and opinions.
Suzy’s cavapoo, enjoying boating life.
What are you passionate about and why?
Connecting with people and working together toward a common goal. I try to bring passion and perseverance to everything I do. I get a tremendous amount of satisfaction from helping others. I also love helping people grow and develop in their careers – I mentor a number of people and I am active in the Women’s Inclusion Network (WIN). It is important to help grow and develop talent for the future.
Can you tell us about a woman who inspires you?
I would have to say Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She made history in so many ways and did so with extreme grace and intelligence.