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Fiduciary Investment Advice 2019

Speaker(s): Clifford E. Kirsch, David C. Kaleda, David W. Blass, Issa J. Hanna, Jason Almonte, Lawrence P. Stadulis, Leo G. Rydzewski, Melissa Hall, Stacey Song
Recorded on: Apr. 2, 2019
PLI Program #: 253620

Cliff Kirsch began his career at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), became chief legal officer for one of the country’s largest dually- registered broker-dealer/advisers and then joined Sutherland (now Eversheds Sutherland) in 2006. He relies on his regulatory and in- house background and an up-to-date knowledge of regulatory developments to provide practical and innovative counsel to broker-dealers and investment advisers in the areas of securities regulation and compliance.

With more than 25 years of experience, Cliff regularly counsels clients on the design and distribution of investment products including wrap-fee programs and other advisory products, mutual funds, bank collective investment funds and insurance products. He also focuses on issues related to the design and implementation of compliance programs at financial services firms.

While at the SEC, Cliff received the Manuel F. Cohen Award, which recognizes younger lawyers who have displayed outstanding legal ability, integrity and judgment and he served as assistant director of the SEC's Division of Investment Management.

Cliff is a frequent speaker at industry conferences, and is the author and editor of two of the leading treatises in the broker-dealer and adviser arena: Broker-Dealer Regulation and Investment Adviser Regulation (published by the Practising Law Institute).

Cliff is also co-founder of the Julia Anne Kirsch Foundation, which seeks to serve the needs of disabled individuals and their families.


Eversheds Sutherland counsels a coalition of major life insurance companies on evolving state and federal regulations and other legal developments.

Eversheds Sutherland represents a coalition of major life insurance companies, which collectively account for more than 80% of the annuity business in the United States, in their efforts to affect the direction and details of various SEC, FINRA, CFTC, NAIC and state rule proposals and initiatives.

Eversheds Sutherland serves as outside counsel on broker-dealer and adviser regulatory issues for one of the largest independent broker-dealer networks in the country.  Eversheds Sutherland serves as regular primary outside counsel on broker-dealer and adviser regulatory issues for one of the largest independent broker-dealer networks in the country.

Eversheds Sutherland represents coalition of collective trust fund sponsors, advisers and other service providers.

Eversheds Sutherland serves as counsel to the Coalition of Collective Trust Funds. Among other things, Sutherland monitors and reports on legal and regulatory matters affecting collective trust funds.

Professional Activities

Member, New York City Bar Association

Faculty, FINRA Compliance Institute at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

Former Chair, FINRA Variable Products Committee

Former Board Member, National Society of Compliance Professionals

David C. Kaleda is a Principal with Groom Law Group.  His broad range of experience includes handling fiduciary matters impacting plan sponsors, investment and other fiduciary committees, investment managers/advisors, recordkeepers, broker-dealers, banks and other financial services firms. 

In December of 2011, Mr. Kaleda was appointed by the Secretary of Labor to the DOL's ERISA Advisory Council for a three-year term (2012-2014). Mr. Kaleda is a frequent speaker and author on a range of employee benefits-related topics.  He authors the bi-monthly “Compliance Consult” column for PlanAdviser Magazine and is a regular contributor of articles to The Investment Lawyer.  His articles have also appeared in Employee Benefit News, Employee Benefit Adviser, Plan SponsorMagazine, Employee Benefits Law Journal, Journal of Pension Planning & Compliance, and others. 

He has presented on ERISA-related topics for number of organizations such as SIFMA, NSCP, Asset International, Society of Actuaries, International Retirement Resource Center, ASPPA, ABA Tax Section, ABA Business Law Section, IAML, PLI and FIRMA. 

He has been quoted in numerous publications such as On Wall Street, PlanSponsor Magazine, PlanAdviser Magazine, Investment News, Pensions & Investments, and Financial Adviser.

Lawrence Stadulis advises clients in matters pertaining to the registration and regulation of investment advisers and investment companies under federal and state securities laws. He also manages related issues pertaining to investment advisers and investment companies including matters involving ERISA, broker-dealer regulation and banking laws.

Mr. Stadulis is a frequent lecturer and author on legal matters pertaining to the investment management industry.

Before joining Stradley Ronon, Mr. Stadulis was a partner with another law firm. Prior to that, he was special counsel in the Office of Chief Counsel, Division of Investment Management, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. As special counsel, Mr. Stadulis was principally responsible for responding to no-action and interpretive requests under the Investment Company Act of 1940 and Investment Advisers Act of 1940.

Mr. Stadulis was recommended as a national leader in “investment funds: registered funds” in the 2011, 2010, 2009 and 2008 editions of Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business.

Leo G. Rydzewski has been CFP Board’s General Counsel since January 2015.  Among his responsibilities, Mr. Rydzewski oversees the enforcement of CFP Board’s Standards of Professional Conduct.  Mr. Rydzewski also recently worked with CFP Board’s Commission on Standards to develop the revised Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct, which was announced on March 29, 2018 and will become effective on October 1, 2019.   

Prior to joining CFP Board, Mr. Rydzewski was a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of the global law firm Holland & Knight LLP.  Prior to joining Holland & Knight, Mr. Rydzewski served as a law clerk to U.S. District Court Judge Federico A. Moreno, in the Southern District of Florida. He received his Juris Doctor from Florida State University College of Law, where he graduated summa cum laude, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from Georgetown University.

Melissa Hall is a bank and payments regulatory attorney focused on representing domestic and foreign banks, nonbank financial services and technology companies, investors in financial services, and technology companies. With nearly two decades of experience and a business-centered approach, clients regularly turn to Melissa as a trusted advisor on complex, cross-discipline financial regulatory matters that require in-depth knowledge of regulations and business lines.

Melissa advises clients on all aspects of financial institutions laws, including the Bank Holding Company Act, the National Bank Act, the Federal Reserve Act, the Federal Deposit Insurance Act, the Bank Secrecy Act, and key state banking law requirements. Melissa’s practice involves counseling clients on a wide range of traditional bank and finance regulatory compliance and enforcement issues at both the state and federal levels, including licensing requirements, consumer financial products and compliance, corporate and transactional matters, anti-money laundering compliance, financial institution investment and acquisition, as well as advising in the development of new financial services products.

Melissa has developed a niche advising on emerging regulatory issues in connection with financial technology, including payment systems rules, credit cards and stored value cards, money services businesses, virtual currency transmission and custody, marketplace lending, and consumer financial regulatory requirements. Melissa takes pride in partnering with her clients to understand their legal risks and business goals in order to move forward and remain innovative while operating in areas a regulatory environment that lags behind faster-paced innovation. She also represents nonbank financial institutions and their investors regarding regulatory compliance and due diligence of state and federal bank and consumer financial laws.

Based in Washington DC, Melissa has cultivated high-level relationships and long-standing connections throughout the regulatory arena, giving her a unique industry insight and access to resources critical to the success of her clients. Prior to starting her private practice, Melissa served as an attorney in the Office of the Chief Counsel of the Department of the Treasury’s Bureau of the Public Debt.

“Melissa brings an insider’s perspective and extensive network from her time at the Treasury Department. The fintech space is evolving at a breakneck pace, and her help navigating these regulatory changes is tantamount to our clients’ success.”—Stephen A. Aschettino, partner and chair of Loeb & Loeb’s Payments Technology Practice and co-leader of the Blockchain Practice

On the corporate side of her practice, Melissa advises banks and financial services companies, as well as their directors and officers, in connection with corporate governance, management, business and operational, investment, and merger and acquisition (M&A) matters, as well as bank securities and fiduciary activities.

Outside of her practice, Melissa is an avid reader and enjoys rock climbing and traveling with her husband and two teenage daughters.

Jason is a Special Counsel with the Northeastern District Counsel’s Office of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, US Treasury Department (OCC) in New York, New York. Jason advises front-line, mid-level, and senior-level examination and supervisory staff in the Northeastern District, Midsize and Community Bank Supervision, Large Bank Supervision, and Licensing divisions of the OCC. His practice focuses on all aspects of federal savings association and national bank enforcement and supervisory authorities, including general safety and soundness, mergers and acquisitions, and consumer compliance.

Jason received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Herbert H. Lehman College, City University of New York, and a Juris Doctor degree from the University at Buffalo Law School, State University of New York. Prior to rejoining the OCC in 2016, Jason was with the Financial Risk Management – Safety and Soundness Advisory Group at KPMG LLP.

With over a decade of experience in securities and insurance law, Issa Hanna helps broker-dealers, investment advisers, investment funds and insurance producers comply with the regulatory requirements applicable to their businesses. He has deep experience counseling and advising clients on the evolving standards of conduct in the financial services space, and closely follows developments relating to SEC Regulation Best Interest, the investment adviser fiduciary duty, and state securities and insurance laws imposing standards of conduct on broker-dealers, investment advisers and insurance producers. Issa frequently helps clients develop, revise and update policies and procedures, distribution and service agreements and disclosures to reflect the impact of new rules, regulations and interpretations. Issa also counsels clients through regulatory issues arising out of transactions they engage in, such as obtaining regulatory approvals of transactions, obtaining end-client consents, and assessing the regulatory risks associated with proposed transactions.     

In addition to his client work at Eversheds Sutherland, Issa is actively involved in the firm’s Pro Bono, Diversity and Professional Development Committees. He is also a frequent speaker with respect to current regulatory issues and has been published in a number of industry publications and treatises.

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.

Stacey Song is a corporate partner resident in Fried Frank's New York office. She rejoined the Firm and became a partner in 2018.

Ms. Song concentrates her practice on securities regulation, with a focus on investment advisers and private funds. She has particular experience in advising investment advisers on complex compliance and regulatory matters, especially in the face of newly developing trends and regulations, including with respect to registration issues, fiduciary duty, advertising and marketing, as well as structuring and ongoing management of private funds and other alternative investment vehicles. Ms. Song also frequently advises on the regulatory implications of seed and stakes deals for private fund managers, as well as M&A transactions involving controlling interests in fund managers.

Prior to rejoining Fried Frank, Ms. Song served as Senior Counsel in the Private Funds Branch of the Division of Investment Management at the Securities and Exchange Commission. While at the SEC, she served as the primary expert on all legal matters relating to private funds, providing interpretive guidance to other divisions and offices within the SEC and various participants in the industry. Before her role at the SEC, Ms. Song was a corporate associate at Fried Frank, where she focused on various regulatory matters.