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
Five Investor Protections to Remember When Finalizing FINRA Pre-dispute Arbitration Agreements
Blog FINRA Broker-Dealer Regulatory Counsel
May 18, 2021

Investment advisers should promptly review language used in mandated pre-dispute arbitration agreements in response to Regulatory Notice 21-16 recently issued by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). The Notice serves as a cautionary yellow light for firms that may be inclined to limit investor protections by improperly including adviser-friendly terms that ignore specific FINRA disclosure requirements.

Among the most common mistakes advisers make when drafting pre-dispute arbitration agreements is to include language that infringes on customer rights to pursue any legal action against the firm, including client rights to file for class action protection. Regulatory Notice 21-16 increases the likelihood that FINRA examiners will review arbitration agreement language used by member firms in the months to come.

Points to Ponder

Disclosure requirements for arbitration clauses fall under FINRA Rule 2628, which generally prohibits provisions that contradict other FINRA rules.

With that in mind, FINRA member firms should refer to the following five-point checklist to avoid potential headaches.

  • Don’t try to gain the equivalent of a home-field advantage. FINRA Rule 12213 provides that the Arbitration Director will determine the location for any hearing. Preference is usually given a location nearest the customer. Last summer, a federal judge ruled a FINRA arbitration proceeding could be held over Zoom despite the fact the customer wanted an in-person hearing. Recent progress made against the coronavirus, however, makes Zoom use a moot point.
  • Don’t set a self-imposed time limit for customer claims. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requires broker-dealers to retain records of all sales and purchases of securities for at least six years. Consistent with SEC regulations, FINRA Rule 12206 states that “no claim shall be eligible for submission to arbitration under the Code where six years have elapsed from the occurrence of the event giving rise to the claim,” adding that “this rule does not extend applicable statutes of limitations.” Using language to set a statute of limitations of less than six years with the idea that a compressed timetable will help your firm will be red-flagged by FINRA.
  • Don’t include any provision that limits class-action claims. We’ve all seen the television commercials where law firms cast wide nets with 800-numbers in an attempt to enlist claimants for class-action suits. Lawyers use this tactic because individuals have the right to pursue class-action remedies in court. While FINRA Rule 12204 prohibits class-action claims in arbitration, FINRA Rule 2268 states, in part, that no person “shall seek to enforce any pre-dispute arbitration agreement against any person who has initiated in court a putative class action.”
  • Don’t use language that prevents or limits awards by the arbitrator. Don’t succumb to the temptation to include language that keeps customers from filing a claim or add provisions that limit your firm’s liability for consequential or punitive damages. FINRA Rule 2268 prohibits the use of such firm-friendly provisions in pre-dispute arbitration agreements.
  • Be careful when using indemnification or hold harmless provisions. Some of your firm’s customer agreements could contain indemnification or hold harmless provisions, such as those that require that the customer indemnify and hold harmless your firm from all claims and losses arising out of the original agreement. But indemnification and hold harmless provisions do not comply with FINRA Rule 2268 if they limit the customer from bringing a claim or receiving an award from a firm or associated person that the customer would otherwise be entitled to receive. These type of provisions should be carefully reviewed by counsel.


The Main Takeaway

Regulatory Notice 21-16 urges FINRA member firms to conduct timely reviews of their policies to ensure all language in pre-dispute arbitration agreements complies with the aforementioned rules. Otherwise, your firm could be subject to FINRA disciplinary action  as part of the regulatory body’s ongoing efforts to protect investors.

Jacko Law Group’s team has extensive experience and can help address any potential shortcomings your firm may have in meeting FINRA regulations. To schedule a consultation, call us at (619) 298-2880 or visit us online at www.jackolg.com.

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