The WFE's Women Leaders 2024 - Eun Ah Choi, SVP, Global Head of Regulatory Operations of Nasdaq

By: The WFE Focus Team Mar 2024

Name: Eun Ah Choi

Organisation: Nasdaq 
Job Title: SVP, Global Head of Regulatory Operations


1. Brief job description 

Eun Ah serves as senior vice president, global head of regulatory operations at Nasdaq. She manages the U.S. and European Listing Qualifications and Trading Surveillance teams, with the goal of facilitating capital formation, maintaining fair and orderly markets and protecting investors. She manages multi-disciplinary teams responsible for assessing the qualification of listed companies and their continued compliance with Nasdaq’s comprehensive listing standards. She also leads Nasdaq’s trading surveillance program over equities and options markets to help ensure fair and equal access to our trading markets and level the playing field for investors, market participants and listed companies.

Eun Ah is often involved in collaboration with U.S. and overseas regulators and exchanges on policy matters and regulatory decisions.

2. Short biography

Eun Ah has over 25 years of experience through her work in private practice and public service, focusing on capital markets, securities regulation, corporate law and market risk monitoring. Prior to joining Nasdaq, she was in-house counsel at Willis Towers Watson and Northrop Grumman, leading complex projects and managing legal matters related to domestic and international M&A, antitrust, venture capital and strategic alliances. She served as a trusted partner and advisor to business leaders and board of directors.

Eun Ah also was a senior executive at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, overseeing a wide range of business operations, IT strategy and regulatory policy initiatives. During her tenure, she managed and significantly expanded a new office mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act that performed examinations, risk monitoring and data analytics related to the asset management industry. Prior to joining the SEC, Eun Ah was a partner at Hogan Lovells, where she represented publicly and privately held companies, boards of directors and investment banks in a broad range of securities law matters, capital raising transactions, M&A, and corporate governance topics. She started her career on Wall Street as an analyst at Goldman Sachs.

Eun Ah received her Bachelor of Science in International Economics and Juris Doctor from Georgetown University, both magna cum laude. She also studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at the University of Oxford.


3. What were your professional highlights and challenges of 2023?

2023 was a dynamic year filled with opportunities amid uncertainties in the market.

Despite challenging market conditions, our Listing Qualifications team was instrumental in supporting Nasdaq’s status as the exchange of choice for listings across the capital markets. The team provided consistent and comprehensive review of companies undertaking their IPO journey, whether for large offerings such as ARM and Instacart or for small cap companies in healthcare, technology and consumer sectors. Our team also reviewed an increasing number of complex compliance concerns and trading patterns stemming from market volatility and general macroeconomic conditions.

Separately, we developed and implemented a surveillance framework for the newly-approved spot-bitcoin ETFs. The introduction of that product was a pivotal milestone in the integration of digital assets into mainstream finance. We are very proud to have been thought leaders in analysing the regulatory framework and creatively supporting issuers and the ecosystem in offering additional choice to access bitcoin in a vehicle that may provide enhanced investor protection.

Throughout 2023, we were laser-focused on using technology to make our regulatory operations more efficient and effective. Nasdaq has been at the forefront of implementing various AI-driven initiatives since early stages, and we continue to expand the use of machine learning to digest and prioritize the review of SEC filings and company press releases. In 2024, we are exploring the use of generative AI, leveraging its capabilities for innovative applications, as well as scrutinizing how bad actors could abuse this technology to create disruption in the markets and engage in fraudulent activities.

4. Tell us about a few of your key achievements?

Since the beginning of my career, I’ve been incredibly fortunate to collaborate with colleagues across disciplines and geographies.

As a corporate partner of a large international law firm, I led cross-border M&A and financing transactions, working closely with subject matter experts and local counsels to bring different perspectives together and comprehensively identify key issues and solutions. Highlights from my in-house experience at Willis Towers Watson include guiding acquisitions across several countries in the Americas, making strategic VC investments in Europe and leading a multidisciplinary team across all major business lines worldwide on a merger review of a proposed $80 billion merger combination.

While at the SEC, I had the opportunity to manage and significantly grow a new program mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act – developing and implementing the program’s overarching vision and adding to the depth and breadth of expertise by successfully attracting new talent with financial, quantitative, and asset management backgrounds. We established a program to perform examinations, risk monitoring and data analytics related to the asset management industry to inform the Commission, the U.S. Congress, FSOC and the public.

Here at Nasdaq, I get to express all of my professional DNA, building on the experiences and knowledge gained while working closely with private and public companies, financial institutions, regulators, capital markets and the broader financial ecosystem in a global setting.


5. Who and what inspires you to achieve your professional success?

When I was in the fifth grade, my family moved from the bustling Gangnam District in Seoul, South Korea, to the small town of Springfield, Missouri. Going from one of the largest cities in the world to the quaint landscape of the Ozarks was a huge transition to say the least. Assimilating into a completely different culture and learning a new language allowed me to look forward to going beyond what I already knew and develop a growth mindset. Along with my Asian background and American experience, I also was introduced to the European worldview while studying at Oxford during college, all of which helped me to develop a global perspective.

Those early experiences have defined how I strive for professional success. I’ve embraced being in the different environments of a law firm practice, government service and global business. They have not only provided a unique set of professional opportunities but have also pushed me to be open-minded about different practices, traditions, customs and institutional values. Along the way, I’ve worked with and learned from a diverse set of colleagues and leaders. Going beyond what I already know and understanding others’ perspectives, backgrounds and priorities have led to successful collaboration with others and resulted in both personal and organizational achievements.

6. How have you overcome setbacks, and what have you learned from adversity?

I navigate challenges and setbacks by focusing on things under my control and steadfastly maintaining a positive mindset. This approach allows me to take practical and controlled steps, empowers me to find solutions and focus on pursuing everyday excellence while keeping in mind the overall goal. It’s natural to be discouraged after a setback, and it’s OK to feel the disappointment. But the most important thing is to push yourself to rebound and continue back on the journey with a sense of purpose and ownership. I’ve found that taking one step forward consistently and continuously helps to get back on track and create a meaningful momentum.

7. What advice do you have for other women who aspire to be in leadership positions? 

My advice is to act like an owner and a leader no matter what your title, seniority or job description. Being good at what you do is just table stakes. Effective leaders communicate with clarity, amplify others’ contributions and build common ground across different constituents. If a person is able to do these things effectively, then leadership positions will naturally follow. With that said, also give yourself plenty of room to practice and grow. It’s perfectly fine to be imperfect. The most important thing is to improve continuously.


The views, thoughts and opinions contained in this Focus article belong solely to the author and do not necessarily reflect the WFE’s policy position on the issue, or the WFE’s views or opinions.