Alicia Crighton is the global co-head of futures and head of the OTC and prime clearing businesses at Goldman Sachs. She also sits on a range of decision-making bodies and committees and last year was appointed FIA’s first-ever female chair of its board of directors.
At Goldman Sachs, Crighton previously spent five years in Hong Kong overseeing the build-out of the firm’s Asia clearing business. She joined the bank as an analyst in global control in 1998 and was named managing director in 2013. Last year, she was selected to become a partner at the bank.
Crighton was appointed as FIA’s chair of its board of directors last year, after joining the board in 2018 and becoming its vice chair in 2020. She also serves as chair of the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Market Risk Advisory Committee, which advises the CFTC on matters relating to evolving market structure. In addition, Crighton serves on the Options Clearing Corporation’s board of directors and its audit committee. In 2021, she received the Women in Derivatives Trail Blazer Award.
Crighton is a strong advocate for diversity-related issues and was instrumental in launching FIA’s board-level diversity initiative four years ago. FIA’s Diversity Committee aims to encourage and support diversity in the futures industry and ensure that the topic of DEI stays on the agenda across FIA events and board discussions.
“I continue to be encouraged by the level of sponsorship and support from the leadership team at FIA to make diversity a priority and to put FIA's resources into this,” Crighton says.
“FIA doesn’t control resourcing for the membership community but can act through things like mentorship programs that it has in place in partnership with the Greenwood Project, or signing the Black Talent Charter, or identifying and placing diverse speakers on panels that offer a different lens and a different perspective. All these initiatives are important because they keep diversity at top of mind for the industry as well.”
Speaking about the state of diversity in the futures industry, Crighton is encouraged by recent leadership changes at clearing firms and at the main US regulator overseeing the industry.
“A year ago, four women were confirmed as new CFTC Commissioners, which is incredibly exciting. And there is greater diversity when you look at the leadership across the bank FCM community,” she says. “FIA has benefitted from the transitions that firms are making and as leadership changes and succession plans come into play. Previously I was one of two women on the FIA board; now I am one of many and we have other minority groups represented as well.”
For women who are looking to advance their careers to senior levels in the industry, Crighton has the following advice: “There is no substitute for hard work and staying focused on learning, growing, and finding ways to innovate around this business. Establishing or being an active part of peer networks is also important. There are a lot of different avenues that are available for women now.”