Insights & News

Stradley Ronon Announces Fiduciary Governance Group

April 10, 2018
Firm News

PHILADELPHIA – Stradley Ronon announced today the formation of its fiduciary governance group, a multi-disciplinary practice. Led by co-chairs Lawrence P. Stadulis and George Michael Gerstein, the fiduciary governance group includes 15 members. 

Rules and regulations on (1) whether one owes a fiduciary duty to their client, and if so, (2) what those fiduciary duties entail, are constantly evolving at the federal and state levels, resulting in overlapping and disparate compliance requirements. Financial institutions may be subject to multiple and conflicting sets of fiduciary or best interest obligations arising under federal and state law as a result of the nature of the different yet interrelated services they provide to their customers. The fiduciary governance group is designed to counsel investment committees and intermediaries, such as investment advisers, banks, broker-dealers, retirement plan/IRA service providers, insurance providers and mutual fund directors, by identifying and making sense of this regulatory patchwork and helping clients understand the interplay of these federal and state rules.

The fiduciary governance group leverages its technical understanding of federal and state fiduciary rules to advise clients across regulatory schemes. The group seeks to help clients scale compliance programs under a particular regulatory regime to comply with other applicable fiduciary rules and requirements. Moreover, the fiduciary governance group keeps clients ahead of the curve by identifying important developments and emerging trends in the fiduciary landscape, such as environmental, social & governance (ESG) investing, through webinars, written alerts, and, its new blog, The group also actively tracks the burgeoning state legislative efforts to impose fiduciary or comparable investment advice standards of care.

            The members of the fiduciary governance group are:

Larry Stadulis Lawrence Stadulis co-chairs the fiduciary governance group and 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.
George Michael Gerstein George Michael Gerstein co-chairs the fiduciary governance group and advises clients on the fiduciary and prohibited transaction provisions of ERISA. He counsels banks, trust companies, broker-dealers, investment managers, private fund (including hedge funds and private equity funds) sponsors, and advisers on their responsibilities under federal law when managing plan assets. George routinely advises clients on the DOL Fiduciary Rule and other fiduciary developments at the federal and state levels, and additionally, he counsels clients on fiduciary-like duties and restrictions under other laws, including federal and state banking requirements, and the rules and regulations of governmental plans.
Alan Goldberg Alan Goldberg represents registered investment companies and their independent board members, registered investment advisers, sponsors to unregistered investment pools and family offices. He handles all aspects of creating registered investment companies and registering new investment advisers, including the establishment of compliance policies and procedures. Alan regularly prepares regulatory filings and applications on behalf of investment companies, including mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, closed-end funds and investment advisers, and he has performed numerous comprehensive compliance reviews of investment advisers and investment companies.
David Grim David Grim, most recently Director of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Investment Management, provides counsel on all aspects of investment management law. He assists clients with a unique perspective developed during his over 20 years of public service at the SEC, including his time as one of only a small number of people who has served as the top regulator of the asset management industry. Dave joined the Division of Investment Management in 1995 directly from law school and rose to become its leader. He developed regulatory policy and legal guidance for investment advisers and investment companies, including mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, closed-end funds, variable insurance products, unit investment trusts and business development companies.
Sara Crovitz Sara Crovitz, most recently Deputy Chief Counsel and Associate Director of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Investment Management, provides counsel on all aspects of investment company and investment adviser regulation. She worked at the SEC for 21 years, including 17 years in the Division of Investment Management focusing on issues under the Investment Company and Investment Advisers Acts of 1940. While in the Division, Sara supervised the provision of significant legal guidance to the investment management industry through no-action and interpretive letters, exemptive applications, IM guidance updates and other written and oral means.
Paula Shaffner Paula Shaffner chairs the securities litigation & enforcement practice group and is widely recognized as a fierce advocate for clients in the financial services industry. For almost 30 years, she has represented individuals and companies in securities litigation, and defended clients in regulatory matters before the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the Financial Industry Regulatory Agency and various exchanges and state regulators, and also represents clients in litigation filed in court or arbitration. In addition, Paula conducts internal investigations and provides compliance counseling.
Chris Connell Christopher Connell co-chairs the banking practice group. He focuses his practice on the representation of financial institutions and other corporate clients in a variety of transactional matters, including mergers and acquisitions, offerings of debt and equity securities (both public and private), initial public offerings, and securities matters for public company financial institutions. Chris also regularly advises financial institutions with respect to various federal and state regulatory and compliance matters and other general corporate law and governance issues.
John Baker John Baker focuses his practice on complex securities law and banking issues for mutual funds and their boards of directors/trustees, investment advisers, broker-dealers, banks, hedge funds and other participants in the financial markets. Prior to joining Stradley Ronon, he was senior counsel for a leading Boston financial institution, where he served as the primary legal advisor to the bank in its role as investment adviser to mutual funds with more than $9 billion in assets.
James Podheiser James Podheiser, chairs the employee benefits practice group. He advises individuals, and for-profit and nonprofit organizations of all sizes and within all industries on employee benefits law, deferred compensation arrangements, stock plans, employee vs. independent contractor issues and all aspects of ERISA. Jim’s practice encompasses plan design and administration, evaluation of plan compliance and liability issues in connection with merger, acquisition and lending transactions, and representing clients before government agencies in connection with employee plan matters.
Alison Fuller Alison Fuller regularly counsels investment companies, investment advisers and independent trustees on federal and state securities law matters. She worked at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for 10 years, including eight years as Assistant Chief Counsel in the Division of Investment Management. While at the SEC, Alison worked on more than 80 substantive no-action letters and helped develop key positions on matters involving the investment management industry.
Thomas Hanley Thomas Hanley, chairs the public companies practice group. He advises public and private companies on corporate and securities law issues, including capital-raising transactions, mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance, SEC compliance and corporate litigation. Tom also counsels management, in-house counsel, boards of directors, board committees and investors on fiduciary duty issues, takeover defense, proxy contests/contested elections and related issues. Prior to entering private practice, he served as an attorney in the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance, and now serves as a primary liaison between clients and SEC, NYSE and Nasdaq staffs on disclosure, governance, listing and interpretive issues.
William Mandia
William Mandia represents financial institutions and insurers in complex commercial and class action litigation. He regularly defends and advises life insurers, intermediaries, banks, broker-dealers, investment advisers, and other financial services providers in connection with sales practices claims arising from a wide range of financial and life insurance products, including, but not limited to, claims for alleged breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, and violations of state consumer protection laws.
Nicole Kalajian represents securities and commodities professionals in a variety of regulatory, compliance and corporate matters. She provides legal and compliance guidance to registered and exempt investment advisers, commodity pool operators, commodity trading advisers, introducing brokers, FX firms, proprietary trading firms and broker-dealers; serves as counsel to boards, mutual funds and exchange-traded funds; and drafts and develops offering documents, compliance manuals, policies and procedures, corporate materials, contracts/investment agreements and advertising materials. Nicole also provides legal and structuring guidance concerning master-feeder structures, domestic and foreign funds, international offerings and separately managed accounts.
Michael Schapiro Michael Schapiro focuses his practice on counseling investment companies (including mutual funds, closed-end funds and exchange-traded funds) private funds, and investment advisers in connection with various regulatory, compliance and transactional matters. Prior to joining Stradley Ronon, he was an associate at another Washington, DC law firm where he concentrated his practice on counseling broker-dealers and investment advisers regarding regulatory and compliance issues before the SEC and FINRA.
Paul Pan Paul Pan focuses his practice on counseling investment companies (including mutual funds, closed-end funds and exchange-traded funds), private funds, and investment advisers on regulatory, compliance, and transactional issues. He provides analysis for investment management clients in all aspects of legal representation, including drafting and reviewing registration statements, proxy solicitation materials, and other regulatory filings; preparing board materials; and researching various securities and corporate law issues.

About Stradley Ronon
Counseling clients since 1926, Stradley Ronon has helped private and public companies – from small businesses to Fortune 500 corporations – achieve their goals by providing pragmatic, value-driven legal counsel. With offices in eight strategic locations, our responsive team of more than 200 attorneys seamlessly addresses the full spectrum of our clients’ needs, ranging from sophisticated corporate transactions to complex commercial litigation.

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