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
How Chief Compliance Officers Can Achieve Empowerment and Authority at Investment Advisory Firms
Blog Regulatory Compliance
December 17, 2020

If you ask the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) which two things Chief Compliance Officers (CCOs) could benefit from most in the coming year, you might be surprised that time and money aren’t at the top of the list.

The SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) has kept a watchful eye on compliance programs during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and found that what helped firms the most during this time was to have a strong culture of compliance supported by senior management and a CCO with empowerment and authority to oversee and administer the compliance program.

Click here to read a November 19, 2020, speech by OCIE Director Peter Driscoll on The Role of the CCO – Empowered, Senior and With Authority.

A Fine Line

CCOs are responsible for helping an organization to develop and implement a compliance program that detects, prevents and corrects any potential or actual violations of securities laws. In doing so, the CCO  must constantly balance and reconcile the needs of the business with his/her duty to oversee the compliance program and ensure the firm is in compliance with industry rules and regulations. Far too often, compliance officers are viewed as “the internal police” of an organization whose sole job seems to be finding a way to frustrate department heads by saying, “we can’t do that.” The culture of compliance at your firm has room for improvement when view the CCO as a “cop on the beat” rather than as an integral strategic partner for the business.

Let’s consider a real-life example that perhaps occurred in your firm during the pandemic. Because of COVID, your sales and marketing outreach pivoted, and the team wants to post a lot on social media, deciding that Twitter is the medium they want to use. It is the responsibility of compliance to meet with the marketing staff and learn precisely how the Twitter account will be used for messaging in order to draft disclosures and perform risk mitigation steps. Such steps may Include archiving all messages, reviewing materials prior to posting, formulating oral disclosures for the posts (as needed) and maintenance of performance backup documentation.

Often the implementation of new internal controls causes frustration. The marketing team may  counter that Twitter has a limit of 280 characters and thus, disclosures cannot be added (not to mention, it will take away from the intended messaging). However, dependent upon content, failure to add that disclosure could be in violation of the anti-fraud provisions of the Advisers Act.

It’s All About Relationship Building

Instead of letting compliance being perceived as the bad guy in the Twitter example, a strong CCO should seize the opportunity. Using the above scenario, the CCO could be a “true partner” of the business by suggesting a means for disclosure that could achieve both marketing’s and compliance’s objective, such as using an audio disclosure that is accessible by a link. This solution allows the firm to comply with the law and achieve the business’ objective. In return, providing practical solutions builds trust and confidence from others, which enhances the CCO’s empowerment and authority.

In many ways a CCO is really about being the conscience of the organization. In order to get that seat at the table, your team and managers in other departments have to respect you. That comes with time. And you’re going to spend a lot of time on relationship building to earn that respect.

Important Steps CCOs Can Take Today

For those who are new to the role of CCO at an investment advisory firm, meet with senior management and ask them about the biggest compliance challenges they face. Then address them.  Ask senior managers to let you help them address their concerns, so they’re no longer frustrated. This effort shows true engagement and outreach to the business which will not go unnoticed.

When senior management sees you can provide solutions, you will get that seat at the table. This is turn bolsters the CCO’s empowerment and authority within the organization.

Reciprocate by letting senior management know their importance to the organization’s compliance culture.  Ask heads of senior management to make opening remarks at your next compliance department meeting. When information comes directly from the CEO or key members or senior management, people take notice and listen.

Creating a Culture of Awareness

The people who are the most successful in the CCO role are analytical, inquisitive, and understand the business and the regulations that govern it. A best practice for CCOs is taking the time to train employees and associated persons every opportunity they can.  This will help others to understand what is expected of them and how to escalate concerns to Compliance.

How successful a CCO is largely depends on the internal relationships built within his or her firm. In order to get that empowerment, authority, and that seat at the table, one must build a relationship with every department.

In pre-COVID days, a simple “walk around” the office would be effective.  Today, it is a lot more challenging to communicate. Strive to over-communicate by inviting video teleconferences with senior managers.  Make yourself available to colleagues, and truly be a partner with the business. If you can do that, you’ll get that seat at the table, and they’ll be coming to you for guidance on compliance….and that’s the name of the game.

Putting it All Together 

The experts at Jacko Law Group, PC have the knowledge and experience to help your firm create and maintain a culture of compliance and increase employee awareness of the helpful role compliance plays in serving your business and your clients. Contact us today at 619.298.2880 or email us at Info@jackolg.com to schedule a strategy session.

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