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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Practices :
Mergers & AcquisttionsPrivate Equity & Private Fund ServicesSEC/State: Regulatory Compliance Services
SEC Division of Examinations Cites Enhanced Focus on Business Continuity Processes, Protection of Retail Investors and ESG-Related Risks Among its 2021 Priorities
March 16, 2021

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) Division of Examinations (“EXAMS” or the “Division”) released its annual priorities on March 3, 2021 in a 42-page report of exam priorities.  Among other things, the list includes an ongoing emphasis on the overall strength of financial advisers’ compliance programs and a growing interest in the evolving risks to investors related to relevant climate and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) funds.

The Division issued more than 2,900 deficiency letters in 2020, despite obvious limitations imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, the examination staff will continue its efforts to see that the policies and procedures at financial advisory firms are reasonably designed, implemented, and maintained while reviewing such areas as business continuity plans, portfolio management practices, the custody and safekeeping of client assets, best execution, and fees and expenses.

Chief compliance Officers (“CCOs”) should also be prepared to address two additional areas of concern from the Division in 2021.

ESG Investing

Six days before EXAMS released its annual list of priorities, the SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy issued an Investor Bulletin with general information on the concept of ESG funds and related questions investors should ask ESG advisers.

ESG investing also is referred to as socially responsible investing, sustainable investing, or impact investing. Between 2018 and 2020, total assets under management in U.S.-domiciled retail and institutional ESG funds grew 42%, to $17.1 trillion, up from $12 trillion, according to the Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment’s 2020 trends report. Assets in ESG funds now represent 33% of the $51.4 trillion in total U.S. assets under professional management.

Since definitions used for the environmental, social, and governance aspects of mutual funds, ETFs, and other ESG investment vehicles can vary widely among investment management firms, the SEC encourages investors to carefully read and review all of the available information provided in the fund prospectus and most recent shareholder report and understand the fund’s fees and expenses. Investors can access the information on the SEC’s EDGAR database, from their financial adviser, or directly from the fund company.

Transparency and delivery of material information to investors remain a concern. Accordingly, the Division will focus on the type of ESG disclosure language provided to investors – in fund offering documents, and adviser’s Form ADV and marketing collateral, and will compare that to the investment manager’s actual practices, with trading, proxy voting and other practices, to confirm whether the firm’s activities align with what has been disclosed to investors in setting expectations.

The Importance of Business Continuity Plans

The record-setting low temperatures that forced millions of Texans to endure lengthy power outages and cope for several days without access to potable water and electricity represent a textbook example of the way a significant event can impact an adviser’s ability to service investors.

No matter if you are in Colorado with winter storms or in California where the risk of additional wildfires have soared, these environmental factors have, in part, prompted the Division to create a new Event and Emerging Risks Examination Team (EERT) to ensure firms are better prepared to address exigent threats, incidents, and emerging risks.

Among other things, EXAM’s efforts will focus on whether firms have a Business Continuity Plan (“BCP”) in place that include appropriate policies and procedures for information security and operational resilience.  The Staff will be reviewing If an adviser’s BCP was updated to address client communications, supervisory considerations and cyber risks.

Additional 2021 Exam Priorities

  • Retail Investors, Including Seniors – An ongoing emphasis on compliance with Regulation Best Interest and whether investment advisers have met their fiduciary obligations set forth in the duty of loyalty and duty of care for Investors. Compliance officers also should check if firm protocols include knowing an investor’s profile and evaluating the accounts and program types that would be in the client’s best interest prior to making a reasonable basis recommendation.  Such impartial conduct also necessitates mitigating conflicts of interest and providing important disclosure, as needed.
  • Financial Technology and Digital Assets – Examinations will review compliance with instructions on handling customer orders and trade recommendations made in mobile applications. Advisers engaged with digital assets should review the effectiveness of compliance controls and practices and whether investments are in the best interest of customers.
  • LIBOR – The Division is interested in whether advisers have assessed their exposure in advance of the expected discontinuation of the London Inter-Bank Offered Rate and whether they have prepared for a transition to an alternative reference rate.
  • Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Programs – Firms should have adequate policies and procedures in place designed to identify suspicious activity and illegal money laundering.

Don’t Wait for a Regulatory Deficiency Finding

Jacko Law Group, PC’s team of experienced professionals provides legal advice and ESG advisor services that include responding to regulatory inquiries. We also specialize in conducting onsite mock regulatory exams, compliance testing, and annual audits for broker-dealers, investment advisers, and other securities and financial services industry clients.

Call Jacko Law Group at (619) 298-2880 or visit us online at jackolg.com today to schedule a consultation.

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