Regulated institutional crypto custody platform Anchorage Digital is drawing some attention when it becomes the first federally chartered digital asset bank in 2021.
Entering uncharted territory comes with many risks. This is Rachel Anderika’s role as Chief Risk Officer at Anchorage Digital Bank.
“My role is to ensure that from a corporate perspective, we have appropriate controls and risk management across the banking entity,” Anderika said.
But while her role may involve focusing on the future, Andrea has a special place in her heart for the past, including diving into history books and piloting her 100-year-old ship.
Here is a day in her life:
I would love to be one of those people who starts the day with meditation, but this is not my morning.
I’m a mom of a three year old who is potty trained, so my day doesn’t usually start off in the most glamorous way. Usually, this tends to involve my toddler coming in and I pray he doesn’t pee on himself – or on me – and he’s either smiling, laughing, or crying, depending on how he’s feeling at the time.
I find that when you are the parent of a small child, you are improvising your morning. So even though I set my alarm for 5AM and thought I was going to have a round on my Peloton, I never did.
I was always woken up by my toddler and I spent the next hour negotiating with him, whether it was putting him in shorts or eating a bagel.
In short, my mornings are not just about getting my son out to school, but happy out the door of the school.
After that, I usually have a little time for coffee, reading emails, and focusing on getting through the day.
But, you know, it’s always kind of a flowing feast.
Way of working
The most important thing I do every morning is check my calendar and ask myself, do I need to be in all of these meetings, or is there someone on my team who can be a valid proxy for me? Can I delegate effectively?
This is an important thing, and I have to make sure I’m on the leading edge: When a team member speaks for me in a meeting, I have to make sure that person feels empowered and able to do so. Because it allows me to multiply myself. It allows me to manage my time efficiently.
Rachel Anderika, Chief Risk Officer, Anchorage Digital Bank
I think there’s an important balance between empowerment and empowerment. The way I try to think about the people on the team is that they have a level of expertise that I don’t have. For example, one person on my team is in charge of model risk management, and since I’m not an expert in this, I make sure that every decision is matched to the right level of expertise as closely as possible.
That’s how I feel about my character.
And the rest of my time was figuring out what I needed to make a quick decision and what needed more attention and thought.
One of the things I have to do as a CRO is to call out certain risk decisions. So if we do a risk assessment, I might need to really think about the controls that we have, I might really need to think about how Anchorage Digital Bank relates to the market as a whole, and what those activities mean to us specifically participating in that activity. So anything related to risk assessments, policy decisions, risk decisions – if I was looking at some reports from another area that might inform other things I’m doing, I’d spend more time At it, especially if it’s about facts and figures that I really need to dig into and not at face value.
If I could, I would put more focused tasks into the end of the day, when I had more time before daycare was over and my nanny left.
I like to prepare my day and sort accordingly.
I usually have a lot of meetings in the morning and afternoon. But I always take a little lunch break — even 10 or 15 minutes — to take some time off the computer, eat the right food, and drink some water.
I’m lucky enough to be able to work remotely, so I like to walk around the block if I can – just walk away a bit and don’t look at the screen for a while. I think that’s really important.
Usually flexible when interrupts occur. When you work from home, you improvise throughout the day and get what you need when you can.
Every night I try to buy a little time to read something non-work related. There’s always a lot going on in the crypto industry – it’s a 24/7 space and there’s always a new article or a new policy discussion to watch out for, so when you’re in the industry, a lot of reading happens, generally speaking . So much to know – it’s always been there.
So I like to spend some time reading about non-encryption related stuff. I haven’t read any novels since college. I would say, my favorite genre is history. I like history books. So I would always read something about presidential history or the Civil War.
I’m currently reading a book on Civil War financing – about how Lincoln’s Treasury Secretary funded the Civil War.
So I always try to read something that will free me from my day job. But even so, I find that there is always something relevant to the crypto industry.
Some of the problems in cryptocurrencies are very similar to what the early founders of the banking system had to deal with. We’ve been talking about this.
There have been concerns about inflationary pressures since the beginning of U.S. history. So that’s the question we’re still thinking about in crypto today: like, how do you regulate money? Or how do you feel about creating a regulatory regime for new things? All of these have similarities in history. This is the most fascinating thing about cryptocurrency: it is an extension of many different ideas.
So some of the things we deal with today around regulatory uncertainty stem from the civil war, and these are extensions of the same issues.
Another thing I like to do is sailing. My husband and I are both really big sailors – especially my husband. We have a rowing boat that will turn 100 next year – we love taking it out on weekends.
We will never be able to pull together to row in the water in the summer. We’re just not that organized. But that’s okay, because fall sailing is one of the best times of the year in Connecticut. The trees turned yellow and orange, very pretty.
So when my son was a little baby, I used to put him in the front bag and we went together. Our sail got shorter as he got older because he was clearer, but he still liked it. This is his fourth season.