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
Undisclosed Conflict of Interest: Merrill Lynch Settles SEC Charges
October 9, 2018

Failure to properly disclose conflicts of interest and failure to properly discharge a firm’s fiduciary duties -can result in costly penalties.

In a one such case, Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith (“Merrill”) recently agreed to an $8.9 million settlement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”).

The firm was charged with failure to disclose a conflict of interest in which its own business interests improperly influenced decisions of whether to continue offering its clients products managed and offered by an outside third-party advisory firm.

Conflict of Interest and Breaking from Standard Procedure

According to the SEC, the third-party manager contacted Merrill executives in an attempt to persuade them not to terminate specific product offerings by appealing to its “overall business relationship” with Merrill and a break in ordinary practices soon followed.

As a result, the governing committee at Merrill broke from its customary procedures by deferring a vote on termination of the third-party services. The hold on those services, which was placed due to management changes at the third-party, was later lifted, and the third-party products were again offered to new Merrill customer accounts.

Read the full SEC Press Release here.

SEC Finds a Conflict of Interest and Failure to Disclose

The SEC’s order found that Merrill Lynch failed in its duty to disclose this conflict of interest, and its deviation from standard decision-making process to its customers resulted in depriving customers of their right to unbiased financial advice.

Marc P. Berger, Director of the SEC’s New York Regional Office, described the effects of the firm’s actions in this statement:

“Retail clients must feel confident that their advisers are eliminating or disclosing such conflicts and fulfilling their fiduciary duties.”

Ensuring Compliance: Identifying and Disclosing Conflicts of Interest

When dealing with potential conflicts of interest and ensuring your firm is properly upholding its fiduciary responsibilities, internal examination and introspection is key.

Is your firm:

  • Reviewing its internal controls on how the firm identifies and mitigates risks related to conflict of interest?
  • Reviewing its policies and procedures on how and where potential and actual conflicts of interest are disclosed to clients and prospects?
  • Reviewing its processes for monitoring any potential conflicts of interest before trouble arises?

Once a conflict of interest is detected, it should be escalated to senior management for review and mitigation considerations. If the conflict cannot be eliminated, it should be promptly disclosed to clients, which is typically occurs the firm’s Form ADV, advisory contract and/or other disclosure documents.

Reviewing Internal Controls and Disclosure Practices – Jacko Law Group Can Help

Jacko Law Group, PC, provides legal consulting and strategy development services to help our clients establish effective written policies, procedures, and internal controls that assist in identifying and mitigating possible conflicts of interest. Through risk assessments and mock SEC examinations, we are able to help detect conflicts that a firm may not have considered.

Using a practical, systematic approach, we can help your firm develop proper disclosure policies and practices that take into account the need for your clients to receive unbiased financial guidance required for SEC compliance, in addition to providing legal support for any additional issues that arise – contact us with any questions you may have.

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