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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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SEC Charges Charles Schwab With Failing to File Suspicious Activity Reports for Questionable Transactions
September 14, 2018

The Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) of 1970 requires U.S. financial institutions to cooperate with the U.S. government to report cases of suspected fraud, money laundering, and a range of other suspicious transactions not involving the outright misappropriation or misuse of client funds.

This legislation requires broker-dealers to report any and all suspicious transactions through the filing of Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) that occur during their firm’s business activities.

This month, we are reviewing the charges levied against Charles Schwab in late July, so that we can venture into key takeaways and lessons learned.

In Litigation Release No. 24189, reported on July 9, 2018, the SEC reported a number of events whereby Charles Schwab allegedly failed to file SARs related to questionable activities.

During 2012 and 2013, 83 independent investment advisers associated with Charles Schwab were dismissed. The terminated advisers were barred from using Schwab to custody client accounts for engaging in business activities that posed what they believed to be significant risks to the parent firm or to its investors.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) recently found that at least 47 of the advisers that were dismissed had not only engaged in suspicious activities, but Schwab allegedly had knowledge of, or had reason to believe that, such suspicious activities were taking place involving such advisers, whether or not the client involved filed a complaint with the firm.

Worsening the situation, Schwab failed to file required SARS on questionable transactions by advisers who had been dismissed.

The SEC found 37 counts of wrongdoing including:

  • Conflicts of interest
  • Charging inflated or excessive fees
  • Fraudulent transactions under client accounts
  • Falsely posing as the client to approve or confirm transactions
  • Executing trades without the proper registration or licensure

The SEC has filed a formal complaint that Schwab violated Section 17(a) and Rule 17a-8 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 by failing to consistently apply policies and procedures involving the filing of SARs.

According to an article published by Reuters on these events, suspicious activities included, “$295,000 wired to an adviser who soon afterward bought a home for himself, and trades by an adviser who used his clients’ passwords instead of his own.”

Without admitting or denying the allegations, Schwab has subsequently agreed to settle the action by consenting to an order for settlement. The settlement includes a permanent injunction and a civil penalty amounting to $2.8 million.

Lessons Learned: The Importance of Suspicious Activity Reports

The lesson this particular case teaches is that it pays to be vigilant.

This case highlights the extreme importance of reporting any and all suspicious activities by filing the federally mandated SARs.

If you find yourself in a questionable situation involving possible fraud or wrongdoing, the best course of action is to file the appropriate SAR immediately.

Jacko Law Group (JLG) provides legal consulting and strategy development services to help our clients establish effective written policies, procedures, and internal controls with a practical, systematic approach toward compliance, as well as ongoing legal support for any new issues that arise.

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