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
Gifts, Gratuities, Entertainment and Other Forms of Influence and Reward
Legal Risk Management Tips
March 29, 2009

With investors still harboring reservations about re-entering the market, many financial firms and their representatives may feel inclined to entice or reward clients and colleagues with gifts or other items for their business. Accordingly, firms and representatives must be aware of the rules and regulations concerning gifts, gratuities, business entertainment and other forms of influence and reward.

Under FINRA Rule 3220, firms and associated persons making gifts and giving gratuities are subject to a $100 per year and per person limit for those items given in relation to business of the recipient’s employer. Whether or not a gift made is business related depends on several factors, including whether or not a pre-existing relationship existed between the associated person and the recipient and whether the associated person paid for the gift out of their own personal bank account without reimbursement from the firm. Additionally, this $100 limitation does not apply to lifecycle events or to nominal or promotional items, provided that the nominal or promotional still falls within the $100 limitation.

With respect to giving entertainment gifts such as concert or sporting event tickets, these items will be considered a gift within the purview of the rule if the giver (i.e., the firm or an associated person) does not also attend the event. Certain recordkeeping and supervisory requirements also apply so firms and associated persons should be sure to verify the requirements under FINRA Rule 3220 as well as the terms of the written supervisory procedures to ensure compliance.

Similarly, while an identical $100 gift minimum requirement is not explicit within the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, pursuant to Rule 204A-1, investment advisers are required to set forth a standard of business conduct that the adviser requires of all of its supervised persons, which may include gift and gratuity giving activities. As stated in the final rule release, “[an adviser’s] code of ethics should set out ideals for ethical conduct premised on fundamental principals of openness, integrity, honesty and trust.”1 Furthermore, in her March 2008 speech entitled “Focus Areas in SEC Examinations of Investment Advisers: the Top 10,” Lori A. Richards, SEC Director of Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations, identified “the adviser’s compliance program and whether it appears designed to capture and manage that particular adviser’s compliance risks” such as conflicts of interest as a major focus area in SEC examinations.2 Ms.Richards specifically identified “revenue-sharing payment streams from advisers to broker- dealers for obtaining space on the broker-dealers’ ‘recommended adviser’ lists, and other undisclosed compensation and gifts for business (e.g., to solicitors, fund consultants, and municipal consultants)” as common industry arrangements creating a conflict of interest and risk area for the advisers.3

Therefore, when contemplating giving a promotional item, gift of appreciation, conference amenity or even an event ticket, keep in mind the following tips to ensure that your gift, gratuity or reward is still compliant with the rules.

Have you:

◻ Yes ◻ No Verified whether the firm will be reimbursing you for any client or prospective client purchases made?
◻ Yes ◻ No If a group gift, divided the cost of the gift by the number of people in the group to ensure that the cost falls within the $100 limit for the year?
◻ Yes ◻ No If an entertainment gift (such as an event ticket) verified that an associated firm member accompanied the recipient to the event and that his/her attendance is recorded?
◻ Yes ◻ No If part of an adviser referral arrangement, checked that appropriate recordkeeping and supervisory procedures are contained within the firm’s policies and procedures manual and are adhered to?
◻ Yes ◻ No Maintained adequate records of the expense reports relating to gifts, gratuities, travel and entertainment in an easily accessible format?

It is essential that firms understand the rules and industry best practices pertaining to gifts, gratuities, travel and entertainment in order to avoid regulatory scrutiny for non-compliance in this area. With particular focus on corporate bonuses and “perks” received by the investing public and regulatory communities, firms are encouraged to test their supervisory systems to ensure it is well equipped to prevent, detect and correct potential or actual violations of its customized gift policies. Check your internal controls and verify that the firm’s safeguards are capturing relevant data. Educate associated personnel on the firm’s policies and be sure to investigate “red flags” as they are detected in order to manage and mitigate risks.

Author: Michelle Jacko, Managing Partner, Jacko Law Group, PC (“JLG”). JLG works extensively with investment advisers, broker-dealers, investment companies, hedge funds and banks on legal and regulatory compliance matters.

For more information about this topic and other legal services, please contact us at (619) 298-2880, info@jackolg.com or visit www.jackolg.com. Thank you.

This article is for information purposes and does not contain or convey legal advice. The information herein should not be relied upon in regard to any particular facts or circumstances without first consulting with a lawyer.

1 Investment Adviser Codes of Ethics: Release Nos. IA-2256, IC-26492; File No. S7-04-04.

2 Speech by SEC Staff: Focus Areas in SEC Examinations of Investment Advisers: the Top 10, By Lori A. Richards Director, Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, IA Compliance Best Practices Summit 2008, IA Week and the Investment Adviser Association Washington, D.C. March 20, 2008 available at http://www.sec.gov/news/speech/2008/spch032008lar.htm.

3 Id.

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