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Betterment Adds Bank of America Lawyer as New Compliance Chief

June 1, 2021, 9:45 AM

Betterment LLC, a robo adviser that expanded during the coronavirus pandemic, has hired Brian Woldow from Bank of America Corp. as its new chief compliance officer.

Woldow, a former lawyer with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and associate at O’Melveny & Myers, has spent nearly the past 16 years in-house at Bank of America, where he was most recently a Jersey City, N.J.-based managing director and a compliance and operational risk executive.

He’ll work with an executive team that includes Seth Rosenbloom, a longtime in-house lawyer at Betterment who took over as the company’s general counsel last year following the departure of former legal chief Benjamin Alden.

Betterment, co-founded more than a decade ago by former Proskauer Rose associate Eli Broverman and fintech entrepreneur Jonathan Stein, has joined other upstart financial services companies that have grown in popularity with users stuck at home as a result of coronavirus lockdown orders.

Stein stepped down in December as its CEO, replaced by former Viacom Inc. executive Sarah Levy. Stein remains chairman of the board for the privately held cash management services provider. Broverman left Betterment in 2017.

Alden, the company’s former legal chief, is now a principal and chief risk officer for financial advisory services at investment management giant the Vanguard Group Inc.

Danielle Shechtman, a spokeswoman for Betterment, confirmed to Bloomberg Law that Woldow has joined the New York-based robo adviser as compliance chief for its holding company and broker-dealer.

Woldow takes over a position previously held by Khaley Sestak, an in-house lawyer at Betterment who stepped into the role on an interim basis last year following the departure of former compliance chief Kimberly Chehardy.

Chehardy left Betterment in early 2020 to join RealCadre LLC, a New York-based real estate and financial technology company that does business as Cadre. A former associate at Allen & Overy and Davis Polk & Wardwell, Chehardy left Cadre this year to become an examiner for FINRA, the broker-dealer industry’s self-regulatory body.

Sestak, who was Chehardy’s temporary successor as Betterment’s compliance chief, will continue to serve as its top compliance executive for its registered investment adviser, Shechtman said. Sestak now reports to Woldow.

Within the past year, Betterment has also brought on former Davis Polk associate Anwesha Banerjee and former Cravath, Swaine & Moore associate Megan Fitzgerald for in-house legal roles in New York.

Betterment is “investing in and further expanding its compliance department,” Shechtman said. Assets under management—now at roughly $30 billion, per Bloomberg News reporting—continue to grow, she said.

The company’s new CEO, Levy, spoke with Bloomberg TV during the Bloomberg Wealth Summit in May about the company’s growth and focus on sustainability. She also addressed the company’s policy on cryptocurrencies.

Betterment, under Levy’s leadership, is reportedly moving the company toward an eventual initial public offering.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Baxter in New York at bbaxter@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com;
John Hughes in Washington at jhughes@bloombergindustry.com