A Conversation with SIFMA’s Hammerman and Ahmed

Recently, we sat down with SIFMA’s outgoing and incoming general counsels, Ira Hammerman and Saima Ahmed, to reflect on retirement and what’s ahead for SIFMA and the SIFMA C&L Society.

Ira, you’ve overseen SIFMA’s legal and compliance related advocacy for nearly 20 years and you’ve been part of the C&L Society even longer than that. What memories will you take with you?

Ira HammermanI have a love and passion for the financial services industry. It’s who I am. It’s reflected in my upbringing. It has only been further solidified during my time at SIFMA, where I’ve seen how many wonderful organizations and people serve clients day in and day out whether it be helping institutions tap the capital markets or advising parents saving for their child’s education and planning for their own retirement. It’s a privilege to represent this industry, its people and, by extension, its clients. 

I have a long list of memories that I think back on fondly but what ties them together is the people. Whether the person on the other end of the table, email or phone was a regulator, journalist, consumer group, or member, I’ve genuinely enjoyed the opportunity to interact with them. I’ve been part of the C&L Society in some way, shape or form since I was 26 years old and I’ve seen the professionalism of the industry multiply over that time. Partnering with ten presidents since 2004, helping the Society achieve its goals and objectives over the last several years has been one of the more enjoyable and fun parts of my job. The relationships and the friendships I have developed over these many, many years is something I will treasure. 

I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Saima since she came on board as SIFMA’s new General Counsel. We’ve been busy meeting with members – including the C&L Society and the SIFMA Board – to ensure a smooth transition. She’s hit the ground running and I am delighted she has joined the organization. 

Saima, you bring a wealth of prior experience to this role – including time at the DOJ, SEC and NYSE. What are you most excited about?

I am so very thrilled to have joined SIFMA as the new General Counsel. It is a privilege to be able to play such a key role in leading legal and compliance advocacy on behalf of the industry. I have been a financial services regulator in a number of different capacities – at the SEC, DOJ and the NYSE – and I am looking forward to drawing on those different regulatory perspectives in my new role.  

We have a lot to focus on given the current regulatory landscape, and I am excited about jumping into the various issues with the terrific OGC team at SIFMA. But I am equally excited about the relationships – about getting to closely work with the C&L Society and our member firms on important legal and compliance advocacy. 

I have now been on the job for a little over a month and am so touched by the warm welcome and outpouring of support from the SIFMA Board, member firms and the C&L Society, and, of course, from my SIFMA colleagues. During my first few weeks, it was wonderful to meet the C&L Society’s leadership at their offsite Executive Committee meeting in New York, as well as Board members at the SIFMA Annual Meeting and Board Meeting in New York. I look forward to meeting others at the C&L Forum in St. Petersburg, FL on December 7, where I will join Jennifer Stout, President of the Florida Securities Dealers Association and the CEO of Bates Group, for a fireside chat. And, of course, I can’t wait for the C&L Annual Seminar in San Diego this March – it’s just around the corner! I hope you will join me there. 

With gratitude to you both, we look fondly upon what’s behind us and excitedly to what’s ahead! 

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