Matt Storer, CIPP/US, might have a new job as vice president of Wells Fargo’s Privacy and Information Security Leader, but he’s hardly a privacy greenhorn.
In fact, he’s a 20-year veteran of the financial services industry whose focus slowly transitioned from compliance work to privacy during the latter half of his career. In that time, he’s gained a wealth of experience.
“In my prior organizations, my journey included leadership of many ground-floor efforts including the development of opt-out processes, adoption of the [Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act] model form, creation of programs for information security, identity-theft prevention, SOX IT, vendor management and privacy compliance,” he said. “It’s been a privilege to grow with the privacy profession as it has matured over the years.”
He found himself making the transition to Wells Fargo from compliance manager and privacy officer at CarePayment in August 2016. The move was spurred by the overarching nature of the financial services industry, which, he said, is mired in mergers and acquisitions. “While this has given me tremendous experience, it has also inspired me to seek stability with a great company that has a strong commitment to the West Coast, which is my home, specifically Portland,” he said. “Wells Fargo has been a pillar in my community for as long as I can remember and has been known to treat its employees as valued team members and like family.”
His new responsibilities with the Wells Fargo team are myriad. At the end of the day, while “the privacy and security of consumer information is a top priority,” his job specifically centers on compliance and risk consultancy for “a set of consumer lending-related businesses," he said. Additionally, he wears the hat of a typical CPO: ensuring the business is well-managed and up to snuff with compliance measures, reviewing existing processes and systems, and functioning as a subject-matter expert.
Being a part of the IAPP has helped him keep his privacy knowledge up to snuff in an industry where things are always changing, Storer said. His new company helps with his continued education, too. “I’ve been very impressed by Wells Fargo’s internal legislative monitoring and vetting process, which is more thorough than my own efforts and keeps me very engaged on emerging issues."
While educating himself is an easy task, sometimes passing that information on to others well is a challenge.
“Privacy touches virtually everything, which is what I find to be the most fascinating about the profession,” Storer said. However, “people who are less familiar with the topic often view privacy as just opting-out, mailing privacy notices or information security, and fail to see the entire landscape and deep complexity.”
That’s a miscalculation; it’s imperative for companies to take good privacy-management measures and implement privacy by design, he added. Besides the obvious pitfalls they help companies avoid, these practices reap other benefits.
“Recognizing privacy requirements like data collection, permissibility and disclosure at the beginning of an initiative enhances speed to market and sound execution,” he said.
Challenges of the profession aside, Storer loves what he does at the company he does it at. “I really feel that I’ve met my calling with privacy and compliance work,” he said. “This field affords me a good quality of life and my work efforts are good for consumers and make my company and the industry stronger.”
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