Robert Mass as a former Goldman Sachs Senior Executive, Global Compliance Head of the sales and trading businesses, and International Compliance Head is a world-class expert in governance, supervision and compliance across markets and business types – and particularly in sales and trading, commodities and derivative compliance. He was also instrumental in the creation of Goldman’s ethics program and expert in the development and management of firmwide ethics programs.
Rob has more than 25 years of experience in financial services, all spent at Goldman Sachs, as a Participating Managing Director, and Partner. He started at Goldman in New York in 1992, as the first compliance officer in their J. Aron Commodity and Currency Division, where he devised Goldman’s first compliance program for commodities and currencies. He was named co-head and later sole head of FICC Compliance and later sole head of Securities Division Compliance. He ran Securities Division Compliance for 13 years (from 2004-2017), during which time (in 2010) he was named a Participating Managing Director of the firm.
Throughout those years, he managed a global business, regularly visited the firm’s non-US offices and met with non-US regulators – particularly those in the UK, HK and Japan. In 2013, he moved to London to head Compliance for all of Goldman’s non-US businesses, managing compliance officers in 20 countries in Europe, South America, Asia, Africa and Australia and responsible for the firm’s compliance with regulations and relations with regulators in all countries outside the Americas. Also, while in London, he was named by the UK Financial Conduct Authority as Chair of their Market Practitioners Panel, an industry body that advises the FCA. He retained that position until he relocated back to NY in 2017.
When, in the response to the 2008-2009 financial crisis, Goldman established a Firmwide Business Standards Committee he was the compliance officer asked to work with the Committee to review and develop new standards of conduct relating to client relationships and responsibilities, conflicts of interest and structured products. And shortly before his retirement, he had been working with Compliance IT to develop standards for cryptocurrency compliance and AI compliance.
During his last two years at Goldman, and since his retirement, he has been pursuing a PhD in philosophy (with a focus on ethics) at the New School for Social Research, in New York. His research focus and his dissertation are on business ethics. He currently teaches ethics at Hunter College in New York and regularly lectures on Ethics in Finance at Stanford University’s School of Engineering.
Prior to working at Goldman, he was a prosecutor for Robert Morgenthau in the New York County District Attorney’s office, where he prosecuted street crime, labor racketeering and organized crime, and police corruption. Among his prosecutions were those of Tommy Gambino, the Painters Union and the Carpenter’s Union.
He is the author of one peer-reviewed article on business ethics in finance "A banker’s code of ethics" published in the Oxford Review of Economic Policy. He also regularly teaches in Jewish educational settings – focusing on the Jewish ethical tradition of Mussar.
He lives outside New York City with his wife Dr. Anne of 39 years and has three grown children. In his spare time, he reads fiction and enjoys football and the ballet.
Financial Compliance and Ethics
Sales and trading compliance
Commodities and derivative compliance
Hedge Fund/Private Equity Screening
Equity and Fixed Income underwriting compliance
The New School – New York, NY
PhD. Candidate in Philosophy (area of concentration: ethics)
Harvard Law School - Cambridge, MA
J.D., Cum laude
University of California - Santa Cruz, CA
A.B., in Politics, with Honors
Hunter College, CUNY
Instructor in Ethics
Goldman Sachs Group
Senior Advisor, Compliance Division – New York, NY
Partner, Head of International Compliance - London, UK
Managing Director, Partner, Global Head of Securities Division - New York, NY & London, UK
Vice President, Managing Director, Head,
Fixed Income, Currency and Commodity Compliance
Vice-President, J. Aron Commodity and
Currency Division Compliance
New York County District Attorney
Deputy Chief, Investigation Division
Chief, Labor Racketeering Unit
Assistant District Attorney, Career Criminal Unit
Kramer, Levin, Nessen & Kamin