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Financial Services Conflicts of Interest & Fiduciary Duties 2018: Navigating the Emerging Regulatory Maze


Speaker(s): Andrew J. (Buddy) Donohue, David W. Blass, Emily P. Gordy, Gwendolyn A. Williamson, Julie M. Riewe, Robert E. Plaze
Recorded on: May. 10, 2018
PLI Program #: 221107

Andrew J. Donohue, widely known as Buddy Donohue, has over 40 years of experience in both senior government and private sector roles, having recently served as SEC Chief of Staff to Chair Mary Jo White (2015-2017). He is best known for his service as Director of the SEC’s Division of Investment Management (2006-2010) (where he was effectively the most senior regulator for the U.S. funds industry). Buddy was most recently at the law firm of Shearman & Sterling LLP (2017-2019) and also served as Global General Counsel at Merrill Lynch Investment Managers (2003-2006), Executive Vice President and General Counsel at OppenheimerFunds Inc. (1991 – 2001) and Investment Company General Counsel at Goldman Sachs (2012-2015).

Buddy is currently an independent Director of certain BNY Mellon Funds (2019 to present) and has been an officer, director and counsel for numerous investment advisers, broker-dealers, commodity trading advisors, transfer agents and insurance companies. He also has served on the boards of business development companies, registered open-end funds, closed-end funds, exchange-traded funds, Cayman funds and Dublin-based and Luxembourg-based UCITS. He has  served as Chairman of the ABA Investment Companies and Investment Advisers Subcommittee, and as an Editor of the ABA Guide for Fund Directors. He also sits on the Board of the Mutual Funds Directors Forum (2018 to present).

Buddy is an acknowledged and highly respected thought leader within the industry, having published, lectured and delivered talks on a variety of investment fund topics. He currently is also an Adjunct Professor teaching investment management law at Brooklyn Law School.


Gwen Williamson represents registered investment companies and their independent directors, as well as investment advisers, family offices and nonprofit organizations. She advises clients on governance and compliance responsibilities under the federal securities laws, including the Investment Company Act of 1940 and the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. Gwen has significant experience in the ESG and principles-based investing space.

Representative matters across Gwen’s more than 15 years of experience in the asset management industry include counseling clients on the following:

  • Fund launches, mergers, and liquidations
  • Compliance and business matters related to social impact and ESG investing
  • Compliance programs, vendor oversight programs, and annual compliance and risk assessments
  • SEC examinations and investigations
  • Cybersecurity and privacy
  • Changes in control
  • Applications for exemptive relief
  • The family office rule
  • Reporting under the federal securities laws
  • Annual Section 15(c) contract renewals
  • Business development companies

An active speaker and writer, Gwen serves on the Editorial Board of The Investment Lawyer.  Recent pieces Gwen has authored cover approaches to ETF governance, the ESG standards gap in the United States, and the evolution of mutual fund distribution arrangements. 

In recent webinars Gwen has addressed socially responsible investing trends and the use of artificial intelligence in the asset management industry.  Gwen also maintains an active governance-focused pro bono practice.


Julie M. Riewe is a litigation partner and a member of the firm’s White Collar & Regulatory Defense Group. Her practice focuses on securities-related enforcement and compliance issues and internal investigations, and she has significant experience with matters involving private equity funds, hedge funds, mutual funds, business development companies, separately managed accounts and other asset managers. Ms. Riewe is recognized as a leading lawyer in Chambers USA (2021), where clients describe her as “very smart and talented” and “incredibly bright, very detail-oriented and very hard-working.” Clients have also commended her “depth of experience and practicality of advice.” Ms. Riewe was recognized as a Client Service All-Star by BTI Consulting in 2018.

Ms. Riewe frequently represents private equity and hedge fund firms and public companies in SEC and FINRA enforcement and internal investigations and advises companies on a variety of regulatory and enforcement issues. In addition, she and another Debevoise partner served as the SEC-ordered independent compliance consultants for the review of the valuation policies and procedures of Deer Park Road Management, a fixed income hedge fund adviser.

Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Riewe was Co-Chief of the Asset Management Unit of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Enforcement. Ms. Riewe oversaw a nationwide program of investigations focusing on investment advisers, investment companies, mutual funds, hedge funds, private equity funds and other investment vehicles managed by investment advisers. She co-led a team of nearly 80 attorneys, industry experts and other professionals in all 12 SEC offices and was responsible for directing the SEC’s asset management-related enforcement efforts. In recognition of her leadership and integrity, she received the Chairman’s Award for Excellence in Leadership in 2015.

Before her appointment to Co-Chief, Ms. Riewe was Deputy Chief and Assistant Director of the Asset Management Unit in 2012 and 2010, respectively. From 2008 to 2010, she was Branch Chief in the Enforcement Division in Washington, D.C. Ms. Riewe joined the SEC in 2005 as a staff attorney in the Enforcement Division In 2007, she earned the Ellen B. Ross Award for her performance at the SEC.

From 2000 to 2004, Ms. Riewe was a litigation associate with a major international law firm, prior to which she served as a law clerk to the Hon. Diana E. Murphy of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit from 1999 to 2000.

Ms. Riewe earned her J.D. and M.P.P. from Duke University School of Law in 1999, where she was a member of the Duke Law Journal and editor-in-chief of the Duke Journal of Gender Law & Policy. She received her A.B. from Duke University in 1993.


Robert E. Plaze is a partner in the Washington office of Proskauer Rose LLP.   He advises investment advisers, investment companies, hedge funds, private equity funds and their service providers on regulatory and compliance issues under the federal securities laws.

Before entering private practice, Bod spent nearly 30 years in the SEC’s Division of Investment Management, most recently as Deputy Director.  Bob was responsible for policy development and management of the key regulatory initiatives affecting investment companies and investment advisers, including rules governing fund and adviser compliance programs, money market funds, fund corporate governance, personal trading, custody and brokerage practices, prohibitions on “pay to play” practices, and protection of investor privacy. After the passage of the Dodd-Frank Act, Bob was responsible for rulemaking requiring advisers to private funds to register with the SEC, providing new exemptions from registration and requiring reporting by certain exempt advisers.


Emily counsels broker-dealer and investment advisor clients, and is a member of the firm’s Financial Services Litigation Department and Broker-Dealer/Investment Advisor Industry Team. Through her wide-ranging regulatory experience, Emily has developed extensive contacts in the securities regulatory community, including regulators (state, federal, and SRO), in-house, and the defense bar.

Drawing from her wealth of experience at all levels of securities regulation, she handles a wide range of compliance and enforcement issues affecting broker-dealers, investment advisors, investment companies, and public companies. Emily has extensive anti-money laundering (AML) experience, as well as substantial knowledge in other regulatory areas, including supervision, suitability, sales practice, disclosure, books and records, membership application, and statutory disqualification. Emily is also well-versed in examination and enforcement practices and policies of the financial services regulators.

Prior to joining McGuireWoods, Emily served as Deputy General Counsel, Executive Vice President for one of the largest retail investment advisory firm and independent broker-dealers. She also worked as a Financial Industry Regulator, having served as a Senior Vice President with responsibilities for various functions within the Enforcement Division of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (FINRA). Additionally, she was Policy Director in the Member Regulation Department of the National Association of Securities Dealers, as well as Deputy Chief Counsel of the Division of Enforcement at the Securities and Exchange Commission.

While at FINRA, Emily provided guidance on privacy regulatory obligations and enforcement cases involving data breaches. As in-house counsel, she provided counsel on the firm’s data privacy and security efforts, advising on compliance measures, incident response, regulatory examination, and notification of regulators in the event of a breach.


David Blass is a Partner in Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP’s Investment Funds Practice. David is a leading regulatory lawyer in the funds industry and has advised on matters involving innovative registered funds products, Investment Advisers Act compliance, SEC examination and enforcement matters, and broker-dealer regulatory compliance.

Prior to joining Simpson Thacher, David served as General Counsel of the Investment Company Institute (ICI), where he was responsible for the full range of legal and regulatory matters affecting the asset management industry, including investment company, capital markets, pension and tax issues.

Before joining ICI, David held a number of senior positions for over a decade at the Securities and Exchange Commission. From 2011 to 2014, David was Chief Counsel and Associate Director of the SEC’s Division of Trading and Markets. In that role, David led a team of 45 attorneys responsible for legal and policy decisions on matters affecting the securities markets and broker-deals generally, and the private equity industry specifically. In that role, he authored several no-action letters, including an important letter for M&A brokers. Before that, he was the Associate General Counsel, advising the SEC Chair and Commissioners on legal policy matters for the agency’s asset management, trading and markets, examination and international programs. Previously, as Assistant Director in the SEC’s Division of Investment Management, he managed the office in charge of investment adviser regulation, which included private fund advisers. David has also spent time in private practice, having worked at two other international law firms.

David has a strong reputation as a thought leader and speaker. David has advocated for the asset management industry before countless domestic and international regulators, and he has testified on industry’s behalf before Congress. He is a sought-after speaker in asset management and broker-dealer conferences. He has written and delivered speeches outlining broker-dealer issues on transaction fees for the private equity industry and rulemaking impacting the asset management industry, including private funds and their advisers and the recent SEC suite of rulemakings targeting asset managers and funds.

David received his J.D. from Columbia University School of Law and his B.A. from the University of Alabama. David is admitted to practice in New York and the District of Columbia.