Karen Houghton Senior Consultant 804.521.6005 vCard

Karen brings over 30 years of Compliance experience to her role as Senior Consultant at Oyster Consulting.  She began her career in the branch examination department of a regional broker-dealer, and her role grew to include creation and management of multiple departments, including Complaints, Regulatory and Legal inquiries.  She was integral in developing regulatory exam programs, and has managed and coordinated exams conducted by numerous regulatory bodies. Karen has served as Chief Administrative Officer of a wire house firm’s Compliance Department, where she was responsible for all aspects of administration for a department of 300.  Karen has significant supervisory and general compliance experience, and has expertise in efficiency improvement, office administration, business process re-engineering and project management.


  • Engaged as outsourced CCO for a Registered Investment Advisor. Responsible for the implementation, enforcement and maintenance of the firm’s Compliance Program.
  • Assisted brokerage firm in the development and establishment of a complaint tracking and reporting system, in compliance with FINRA Rule 4530.
  • Project manager for the registration of a new broker-dealer with the SEC and FINRA, including the preparation and filing of all required information and documentation.
  • Project manager for the merger integration of two regional firms, responsible for tracking and monitoring all issues, assuring their completion, and assisting in the completion of all required regulatory filings.
  • Project manager for filing Continuing Member Applications, used for increasing business lines or other substantive changes of current broker-dealers, for multiple firms.
  • Conducted review of internal and external emails of associates, and reviewed trading in alternative investments, for a large national firm.
  • Insured that the policies and procedures for a small investment advisory firm were in compliance with current regulations.
  • Conducted a review of processes and procedures for a mid-sized brokerage firm to insure they were in compliance with regulatory requirements.
  • Outsourced reviewer of email and marketing materials for broker-dealers and investment advisors.
  • Reviewed and enhanced the direct business practices of an insurance affiliated broker-dealer.
  • Conducted Compliance training for associates firm-wide, and compiled, edited, and issued the Firm’s Broker Compliance Manual and Branch Manager’s Supervisory Guide
  • Conducted compliance examinations of retail branch offices.

Career Highlights

  • Chief Administrative Officer, Compliance, Wachovia Securities
  • Senior Regulatory Affairs Analyst, Wachovia Securities
  • Manager, Complaint Administration, Legal Inquiries and Regulatory Reporting, Wachovia Securities
  • Department Training Coordinator, Wheat First Securities
  • Branch Examiner, Wheat First Securities

Education, Accolades and Industry Commitments

  • PMI Project Management Professional (PMP) certification
  • Securities and Compliance Professional Series Certification, University of Richmond School of Continuing Studies
  • Executive Development Program, Virginia Commonwealth University Business School
  • FINRA 7 and 24 licenses