Head of Legal and Compliance
Somesha Ferdinand is a trusted adviser to financial services and banking firms, with both buy-side and sell-side experience in US, UK and EU markets. After commencing her career in Washington D.C., Ms. Ferdinand progressed her career leading legal and compliance teams for global financial services firms in London and Paris.
Ms.Ferdinand commenced her career as a Judicial Law Clerk in Washington, DC where the most politically sensitive cases are litigated. She honed her skills as a Trial Attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice representing the United States in contentious matters of public law. She then transitioned to corporate practice handling high-value litigation for financial services clients, including matters creating new law related to the fiduciary duties of corporate board and deal protection devices.
An invitation to be a guest Lecturer in Law at the Comparative Law Institute in Paris propelled her across the pond. She served as General Counsel and Head of Compliance for AXA group subsidiaries dedicated to corporate and institutional clients. She was the first Chief Compliance Officer for Wells Fargo’s post-Brexit entity leading the licensing and regulatory relationships with the French prudential and market regulators. As external counsel, Ms. Ferdinand advised European subsidiaries of BNY Mellon and Goldman Sachs Int’l, on key market initiatives (Dodd-Frank, EMIR and MiFID II), for cross-border implementation aligned to their strategic priorities.
Ms. Ferdinand was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. Her Francophile nature was anchored in her grandparents’ stories of being rapped on the knuckles at school for speaking in French. In Louisiana, French language and culture ‘down in the bayou’ from bygone days. To speak French and thrive in France feels like recovering a part of the heritage denied to her grandparents and many coastal communities in southeast Louisiana. Today, witnessing climate volatility threaten life in coastal communities, Ms.Ferdinand is personally very passionate about the intersection of public and private finance to promote sustainability efforts.
Ms. Ferdinand works actively to promote the professional advancement of women in the financial services industry by organising networking and education events as a Steering Committee Member for 100 Women in Finance Paris and as the Founder and Co-Chair of the Paris arm of WILEF (Women in Law Empowerment Forum).
Ms. Ferdinand is a Member of the New York Bar and qualified as a foreign attorney for the Paris Bar. She holds a Juris Doctor degree from Columbia University School of Law and graduated from Dartmouth College, with honors.
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