A move to Manchester United or Real Madrid may not be on the cards for Gloria Lugo, but when her daughter’s soccer team was short of a coach, she was ready to step up to the touchline. Despite being new to the sport, she had spent enough time watching her son play baseball to recognise that what the children needed was not the best coach in the world, but someone who was willing to learn the rules and put the hours in during training sessions.
As an experienced head of compliance, who has worked at a number of foreign banks in New York, her role at Temple Grange Partners is to support clients by providing advisory, assurance testing and strategic project management, helping them implement risk-based compliance programmes.
She believes that one Temple Grange Partners’ advantages is that it has a highly experienced and well-connected team who have been hands-on practitioners, used to dealing with regulators and fighting their corner within their own financial institutions.
One of the issues that some foreign banks must get used to is that regulation in the US is not necessarily as prescriptive as in other countries where it can read like a manual. Instead, it relies on working with the intent and spirit of the law, which leaves room for interpretation.
Regulators have always been tough, but one of the changes since the financial crisis has been that they have gone out into the industry to recruit experienced personnel from within the banks.
Gloria warns banks never to cut corners and says if they do it will always come back to haunt them.
One of the lessons she has learned is that the answer to any problem is always out there, which is where the ability to draw on her own experience and tap that of her colleagues at TGP comes in so useful.
“I’ve always had an instinct to look for ways of solving problems and find a better way of doing things. I think that’s why my move into compliance felt so natural, I was inclined towards policies and procedures and fixing things. There is a constant battle to stay up to date with regulatory expectation, and we can help foreign banks negotiate their way through this environment enabling them to stay ahead or quickly pivot as needed.”
As a steely negotiator, she has also learned that no matter how difficult and challenging things can get, it pays “to be nice to everyone”.
“I have always believed it is better to find a slow way of getting to a ‘yes’ rather than allowing a quick ‘no’ to get in the way.”
Gloria Lugo, Partner
Head of Compliance at Arab Banking Corporation, New York
Compliance Officer at Bank of Ireland, New York
Head of AML Advisory at Commerzbank, New York
Deputy Director of Client Onboarding at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, New York