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
Internal Control Failures Cost MetLife $10 million in SEC Settlement
Annual Reviews & Risk Assessments Blog Due Diligence Counsel
February 19, 2020

MetLife, Inc. has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $10 million in order to settle charges from the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) that it violated the books and records and internal accounting controls provisions of the federal securities laws.

Read the full SEC Press Release Here.

MetLife’s Retirement and Income Solutions Error

The SEC charges alleged that MetLife’s Retirement and Income Solutions Business improperly released reserves for annuity benefits.

Over an approximately 25-year period, the company sent its annuity clients a form letter six months prior to their 65th birthday, alerting them that they were eligible to begin receiving benefits and instructing them to contact MetLife. Without taking any additional steps to verify addresses nor attempting to reach the individuals via email, certified mail or telephone, MetLife assumed that all individuals who did not respond to the letter were electing to defer their benefits.

Then, near the annuitant’s 70th birthday, MetLife sent a similar form letter via regular mail to each individual alerting them that in order to avoid tax consequences, they must contact MetLife and begin receiving their benefits before they reached 70 ½ years old. This correspondence, which occurred exactly five years after the first mailing, was the only other attempt to reach the annuitants before they coded them as deceased and released the reserves from their accounting liabilities. They also did not attempt to contact beneficiaries before coding them as deceased in their systems.

As a result of ineffective policy design and operating procedures, MetLife discovered a $510 million error in the reduction of its reserve liabilities with the Retirement and Income Solutions business and an $896 million overstating of reserves in the MetLife Insurance Company of Bermuda case. These errors violated the books and records and internal accounting controls provisions of the federal securities laws.

MetLife Reinsurance Company of Bermuda Error

In an additional charge, MetLife overstated its reserves by $896 million for a subsidiary MetLife Reinsurance Company of Bermuda (MrB). This failure was due to conflicting pieces of data that were received in a joint venture, and a failure to reconcile the separate pieces of data.

Internal Control Deficiencies

MetLife’s internal controls unit of the MetLife’s finance department found that there was no evidence to support the basis for accounting practice to release reserves. Further, it was unable to locate any record or documentation of the following:

  • The actual policy stating under what circumstances it was deemed appropriate to release reserves or documentation of any kind describing which department or what level leadership created the policy
  • Legal review or due diligence performed to approve the policy
  • Any record of reviews or testing performed on the policies or procedures as technology advanced, assumptions changed, or shortcomings were identified

Additionally, the company did not properly address issues or concerns that were identified with the policy. As early as 2014, several employees had raised questions related to the practices for releasing reserved funds for the unresponsive individuals; however, the concerns were not escalated to the senior management in a timely manner in order to perform substantive analysis. The concerns did not reach the board of directors or audit committee until December 2017.

The error in the MrB charge is attributed to ineffective internal controls data validation, monitoring, reconciling and auditing and documenting the data received from the company in its joint venture.

Let Our Experience Work for you

Ensuring your firm’s internal controls properly govern its operations will protect it against costly errors and potential reputational and regulatory risks. It is essential for firms to continuously assess and update their policies, procedures and protocols to help confirm that the controls are effective and adequately protect the firm and its consumers.  Consequently, your firm must continually test and re-test the procedures.

Jacko Law Group is available to assist your firm in conducting a risk assessment to assess the strength of your testing program and internal controls. Our team of attorneys will analyze testing protocols and results from the testing, identify weaknesses, and assist in drafting enhancements to your policies and procedures. In the event that mistakes are detected, our attorneys will advise on the steps to properly disclose and report them (as needed) as well as any further steps that will help protect your clients and the firm, with an eye towards business and regulatory risk mitigation.

To learn more, contact our team of attorneys today at 619-298-2880.

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