CHICAGO, - When Nickie Chapman started at Sikich in 2007, there were 250 employees and eight service lines, including a struggling investment bank and a small wealth management unit.
Named Chief Compliance Officer as of February 1, Chapman is now responsible for the regulatory elements of the Investment Bank at a firm that has expanded to employ nearly 600 people with 14 service lines, an investment bank that has worked with the likes of Google and Targus, and a wealth management unit with $600 million of assets under management. In addition, Chapman will take over compliance for the firm's Wealth Management service area upon meeting additional regulatory requirements.
There's no doubt that Sikich is growing, as recently recognized by both Crain's and Inc. 5000, and with that growth comes new opportunities for employees like Chapman to rise in the ranks.
Previously acting as the Vice President of Operations & Compliance and Financial and Operations Principal for Sikich Investment Banking, Chapman originally planned to enforce policies at a much more literal level as a Chicago Police Officer. However, upon starting a family during the police hiring process, she opted for a less dangerous career in the corporate world. After nine years in operationally focused roles at several Chicago-based investment banks, Chapman landed at Sikich as the Vice President of Operations for the then-troubled investment banking group.
In 2008, when Partner-in-Charge Chris Geier took charge of the investment bank, he reorganized the unit and launched a registered broker-dealer, Sikich Corporate Finance LLC. Chapman and an Analyst became his first employees, with Chapman serving as Geier's right hand.
The newly formed broker-dealer created a vacuum that needed to be immediately filled: compliance. With Geier in the role of Chief Compliance Officer, he still needed to not only secure and run deals, but also manage the investment bank. Geier had Chapman sit for the requisite exams to take responsibility for the financial books and records and assist him with compliance. At that point, Chapman's position became VP of Operations & Compliance and Financial and Operations Principal, allowing her to assume responsibility for the broker-dealer's financials.
"Nickie was more talented than the role she had been hired for," said Geier, "so we kept challenging her, and she kept succeeding. We're looking forward to seeing her continue that pattern in her new role."
Over the course of her career at Sikich, Chapman has risen to a number of challenges. She not only received a Financial and Operations Principal registration, but went on to become an Investment Banking Representative, a General Securities Principal and an Operations Professional. As the investment bank grew from the original three members to today's headcount of 14, she managed regulatory compliance with securities regulators, and continued to oversee the unit's administrative operations and marketing initiatives. In her ever-expanding role, Chapman also collaborated with the firm's growing wealth management unit for special projects throughout the years-all between her now-teenaged son's baseball games and guitar-playing daughter's rock shows.
"When I think of all that has happened since I joined Sikich, it seems like it can't have been less than seven years," Chapman said, "but when a firm is growing as quickly as Sikich is, your career can grow just as fast."
In her new role as Chief Compliance Officer, Chapman will also continue to oversee the investment bank's operations and financial books and records.
"In keeping with the Sikich 'one firm' approach to managing our coordinated, comprehensive solutions, it only made sense for us to centralize this key responsibility," said Diana Jordan, Partner-in-Charge of Sikich Financial. "With her strong analytical ability, attention to detail and knowledge of the regulatory environment, Nickie is well-equipped to build and maintain the integrity of our compliance program."
Chapman holds a bachelor's degree in organizational development from DePaul University in Chicago.