M. Jacko
Managing Partner and CEO

Michelle L. Jacko, Esq.

Managing Partner and CEO

Michelle L. Jacko, Esq. is the Managing Partner and CEO of Jacko Law Group, PC (“JLG”), which offers securities, corporate, real estate, and employment law counsel to broker-dealers, investment advisers, investment companies, hedge/private funds and financial industry professionals. In addition, Ms. Jacko is the Founder and CEO of Core Compliance & Legal Services, Inc., a compliance consultation firm.

Ms. Jacko specializes in investment adviser, broker-dealer, investment company and private fund regulatory compliance matters, internal control development, regulatory examinations, transition services, and operational risk management. Her consultation practice is focused on the areas of regulatory exams and formal inquiries, investment and merger and acquisition transactions, exit and succession planning, annual reviews, policies and procedures development, testing of compliance programs (including evaluation of internal controls and supervision), mock exams, senior client issues, cybersecurity, Regulation S-P, and much more.

Over the years and through a transformative market, Ms. Jacko has also developed service solutions throughout her practice, focusing on regulatory, compliance, commercial and corporate strategic solutions for the financial industry. Her practice focuses on formations and registration of broker-dealers, investment advisers and funds and platforms associated with each of these business models.  She focuses on transition and succession planning for companies, spearheading Jacko Law Group’s mergers and acquisitions practice area. She aligns her legal team to directly apply experienced legal acumen and business-savvy foresight to assist clients navigate and traverse the breakaway, formation, and growth plan for their corporation’s continued achievement, expansion, and upward trajectory.

Throughout this process, Ms. Jacko uses her 27 years of regulatory compliance experience to provide risk mitigation strategies to businesses.  She provides her clients with risk assessments, annual reviews and gap analysis, and serves as lead attorney for SEC and FINRA enforcement matters, regulatory formal inquiries, and regulatory examinations.  She has developed a practice that successfully helps our clients to be prepared for examinations through meticulous preparations, including mock interviews, compliance program document reviews, and counsel to members of senior management and interfacing with regulators throughout the process.   She frequently provides counsel on Chief Compliance Officer liability issues, assists advisors with regulatory reporting of disciplinary events and customer complaints, provides counsel on various representative onboarding and exit considerations and drafts complex agreements and client disclosure documents.

Utilizing an unparalleled service with a visionary strategy, Ms. Jacko’s counsel contributes to client success. She fosters trust amongst her team and has forged a path for JLG’s growing and multifaceted merger and acquisition practice, general corporate counsel services and regulatory compliance practice areas.

As a frequent presenter at national financial industry conferences, Ms. Jacko delivers insightful and thought-provoking workshops regarding industry hot topics and rising compliance issues. She is a frequent contributor to various industry journals and publications, including Barron’s Advisor, Charles Schwab, Investment Adviser Association’s IAA Today, National Society of Compliance Professionals’ CurrentsLawyer Monthly MagazineThomson Reuters, and more.  She also is a featured author in Modern Compliance, Vol. 1 and 2.

Ms. Jacko served as the former Vice-Chair of Education of the Corporations Committee for the State Bar of California Business Law Section and is a two-time Board member alumn of the National Society of Compliance Professionals. She is the Co-Founder and a member of the Southern California Compliance Group and also is a FINRA Arbitrator. Ms. Jacko is a member of Vistage International and actively participates in her community.

JLG and Ms. Jacko are proud to be members of the National Women Business Owners (NABWO) Corporation.

Throughout her career, Ms. Jacko has established herself as an influential leader, both locally and industry-wide. She has received numerous accolades and recognitions for her contributions, impact, and thought leadership. Since 2019, she has been selected as a finalist for San Diego Business Journal’s (SDBJ) CEO of the Year Award (2019-2022). She has also been selected for inclusion for the SDBJ’s 2022 Women of Influence 50 over 50, 2021 -2022 Women of Influence in Law SDBJ’s 2018-2022 Business Woman of the Year, 2020-2022 San Diego 500 Influential Business Leaders Award, 2020-2022 SD500, and prestigious 2020 Most Admired CEO Awards. Alongside the many awards from the SDBJ, Ms. Jacko  also was selected as a finalist for San Diego Magazine’s 2020–2021 Influential Women: Woman of the Year Award and was honored as a finalist for the 2019 NAWBO Bravo Awards - San Diego. International magazine CEO Today also selected Ms. Jacko as one of the 2019 and 2020 Business Women of the Year Awards. She also received Acquisition International magazine's Global Excellence Awards: Most Influential Woman in Securities Law 2019–2020 - San Diego, and locally was selected by San Diego Metro as one of the 12 Women of Influence in San Diego, CA.

Before starting both companies, Ms. Jacko previously served as Of Counsel at Shustak & Partners, PC. Prior to that, she was Vice President of Compliance and Branch Manager of the Home Office Supervision team at LPL Financial Services, Corporation (Linsco/Private Ledger). She also served as Legal Counsel of Investments and Chief Compliance Officer at First American Trust, FSB and held the position of Compliance Manager at Nicholas-Applegate Capital Management. In addition, Ms. Jacko was with PIM Financial Services, Inc., and Speiser, Krause, Madole & Mendelsohn, Jackson.

Ms. Jacko received her J.D. from St. Mary’s University School of Law and B.A., International Relations, from the University of San Diego. She is admitted to the State Bar of California and United States District Court, Southern District of California. Michelle holds NSCP’s Certified Securities Compliance Professional (CSCP) designation and is a member of the National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL).

In addition to her many accomplishments, Ms. Jacko is also dedicated to giving back to her community and charitable organizations. Throughout the years she has dedicated her time and efforts to numerous organizations, including the Autism Tree Project, Wounded Warriors Project, the ASCPA, the San Diego Food Bank, School of the Madeleine and more. She also supports whenever she can the military community.  It is her dedication to her team, her practice and her community that has laid the foundation for JLG’s impact and continued growth and success.

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Mergers & AcquisttionsPrivate Equity & Private Fund ServicesSEC/State: Regulatory Compliance Services
Common Themes We’re Seeing in 2021 SEC Examinations
Blog Investment Adviser Regulatory Counsel (SEC & State) Regulatory Examinations & Enforcement Counsel
February 18, 2022

From first-hand experience, we’ve learned the primary area of focus for U.S. Securities and Exchange (“SEC”) examiners this year is protecting the retail investor, with an emphasis on those saving for retirement, aging clients, and cybersecurity.

When its annual list of priorities was released last March, the SEC’s Division of Examinations (EXAMS) said its staff would pay particular attention in 2021 exams to the appropriateness of recommendations and advice provided to four specific categories of retail investors – seniors, teachers, military personnel, and individuals saving for retirement.

As a case in point, I had a recent sweep exam where the EXAMS wasn’t interested only in traditional retirement accounts, but Thrift Savings Plans (TSPs), which are provided to government employees and military members. The SEC wants to understand how they’re being marketed, sold, and evaluated during a rollover process to investment advisory firms. 

To help your firm prioritize and develop regulatory processes, here are key topics our team has been seeing during routine exams, sweep exams, and formal regulatory investigations.

Retirement Accounts

EXAMS is keenly interested in how firms communicate with clients about retirement, as well as how they evaluate what’s in each client’s best interest and whether all options are made available. It’s not only important to comply, but also critical to clearly document practices, as deficiencies often arise when advisers fail to document their actions.

Common questions include whether training has been provided to financial advisers for servicing retirement accounts and what written disclosures and related information is provided to clients about available retirement options. EXAMS also has shown an interest in how advisers and clients communicated with each other within a COVID environment.

Aging Clients

As more people are living longer, examiners want to learn how advisers are managing the associated responsibilities of serving aging clients. This includes diminished capacity (e.g., from the onset of dementia), and potential scenarios involving and protections for dealing with financial exploitation. To help protect vulnerable investors, examiners review a firm’s ability to identify financial exploitation as well as its supervisory internal controls.

Since a large part of an adviser’s assets under management business deals with the seniors (generally defined as someone 55 years of age or older), the SEC wants to see if registrants are focused on their duties of loyalty and duties of care. To satisfy this in part, EXAMS is looking at how policies and procedures are designed for such specifics as steps taken with client accounts upon death, handling client requests for changing beneficiaries, powers of attorney, trustees, and documenting the frequency of communication you’re having with aging clients. 


Protecting clients against cybersecurity threats has become increasingly important and complex. In response, examiners increasingly ask advisers if they have established robust policies and procedures to respond to cyberattacks and protect their investors’ personally identifiable information. This has proven to be an area of weakness for some firms that have not demonstrated they have proper safeguarding protections in place and fall short in training employees on cybersecurity awareness.

EXAMS is looking at whether advisers have conducted periodic risk assessments to identify cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities and related business consequences, and if so, what actions were taken to address these areas. Compliance should be prepared to identify what steps were taken to address remote working safeguards, how this was evaluated and documented. In addition, the SEC staff is examining whether firms have conducted adequate vendor due diligence on cyber controls and what resulted as a consequence of vendor responses.

Other Areas of Interest

While not an exhaustive list, here are a few other areas your firm should expect examiners to review.

    • The growing popularity of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) investing remains a focal point for the SEC. How a firm markets ESG and discloses its ESG investments is a primary examination area, as is the robustness of policies and procedures governing ESG. If your marketing disclosures are weak and/or the registrant’s controls and compliance programs are inadequate to maintain, monitor, and update clients’ ESG-related investing guidelines, mandates, and restrictions, there’s a high likelihood a deficiency letter could come your way.
    • Examiners are keenly interested in how advisers are calculating their advisory fees, particularly whether they are disclosing revenue share and solicitor arrangements. Wrap fee accounts also have come under greater scrutiny. 
  • An SEC exam in 2021 can also be expected to cover business continuity plans, standards of conduct, best execution, supervision of remote employees, and policies and procedures in general.

Would your firm be confident to address all these areas of SEC interest when examiners arrive? Don’t wait for that to happen. By then, it will be too late. JLG conducts mock SEC exams to help registrants identify higher-risk areas. Act now to protect your firm and your clients. Contact us today at (619) 298-2880 or visit our website at www.jackolg.com

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