Giovanni Corrado, deputy chief compliance officer at BBVA Global Wealth Advisors, was named Rising Star in Compliance at the 2024 Excellence in Compliance Awards. He spoke with Compliance Week about his personal goal to change the narrative around compliance and his interests at the intersection of regulation and technology.

Q. Becoming a deputy CCO at 26 years old is an impressive feat, especially at a large financial institution. Did you expect to be able to rise the ranks so quickly? What has been key to your ability to do so?

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Giovanni Corrado

A. I’m just incredibly humbled that the institution places its trust in our compliance team to navigate the intricacies of SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) regulation.

To be honest, my approach has always been more aligned with a passion for the subject matter over the hypotheticals of rising through the ranks. There are so many things out of your control when it comes to titles and positions. All I could control was my level of knowledge, dedication, and passion for the present and future of investment adviser and regulatory technology compliance. That’s what excited me the most, and that’s what I plan to continue putting my energy toward.

Q. You previously served as a CCO at Republic Capital (2022-24) before joining BBVA Global Wealth Advisors. What did you learn from that experience that you brought with you to BBVA?

A. My experience at Republic Capital was incredibly formative. They gave me the opportunity to build a registered investment adviser SEC compliance program from the ground up. I was given a lot of support and freedom to create a culture of compliance across the organization that prepared me for this new challenge at BBVA Global Wealth Advisors. I’ve found this experience rewarding from the start because the firm truly empowers compliance and risk professionals.

Q. Your nomination said you “hope to play a role in breaking the ‘stigma’ around compliance, too often labeled as ‘boring’ to this day.” How have you set out doing that?

A. That’s a big-picture goal of mine. In my opinion, it’s time we get rid of false narratives about the nature of our profession.

Compliance is extremely dynamic, ever-changing, and intellectually stimulating. In my opinion, we may be losing out on incredible young talent because of the lack of awareness of this. Young professionals who want to pursue their dreams and aspirations—they won’t think of doing so within our industry unless we rebrand it. I want to be part of that change.

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Q. When do you feel that clicked for you?

A. It was super early. I was in college; I took a class with an adjunct professor who was previously a CCO within the financial industry. The class was about regulation and financial markets. He spoke about it with such passion that he was part of the rebranding (for me). The way he talked about it—he didn’t make it dry and spoke about why it could be so stimulating, with many moving pieces and a lot of evolution. That resonated with me immediately.

Q. In what areas of compliance do you aspire to continue to grow over the course of your career?

A. I’m a young professional; my opportunities to continue learning and growing are potentially endless. That really excites me.

While I took somewhat of an uncommon decision by dedicating most of my academic and professional life to SEC compliance, I really strive to deepen that expertise in evolving areas of the industry that we’re seeing every day now: regulatory technology, regulation, AI, off-channel communications, Custody Rule. These are some examples of where I currently plan to continue developing my expertise in.

Q. Do you have an end goal in mind beyond becoming a CCO?

A. Right now, my only priority is becoming the best compliance leader I can be.

In my opinion, if you prioritize knowledge, education, and hands-on experience, the rest comes as things arise. At least that’s how it has been for me.

Beyond that, I’d love to become more knowledgeable about the intersection of regulation and technology. That’s where my sweet spot really is; regtech is a passion of mine and an industry that excites me and is experiencing outstanding growth and innovation. Not many people know about it, just geeks like me, but the advent of AI could revolutionize how compliance departments manage potential risk of technology. It also opens a door for firms to leverage machine learning and replace manual workflows, but we must keep in mind this technology is in nascent stages and has yet to prove itself proper for highly regulated industries.

Although I only have one priority right now, developing my expertise in this intersection is going to be a long-term priority.