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Pete S. Michaels

Member / Co-Chair, Financial Services Practice

[email protected]

+1.617.348.4861

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Pete focuses his practice on the representation of financial services companies in a wide variety of matters, including litigation, regulatory, and compliance matters of all types. His clients include multinational and regional financial services firms, including banks, broker-dealers, registered investment advisers, mutual fund firms, and insurance companies as well as their employees, directors, and officers.

Pete’s extensive experience with securities disputes includes class actions, state and federal court cases, arbitration, and employment matters. He also represents clients before a wide range of federal, state and self-regulatory agencies: the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the US Department of Justice (DOJ), the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the National Futures Association (NFA), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), state securities, banking and insurance regulators, and state attorneys general. In the compliance side of his practice, Pete guides clients through complex compliance issues, including related internal investigations and regulatory scrutiny. Pete has served as an outside compliance consultant on two Massachusetts Securities Division matters.

Before joining Mintz, Pete was co-chair of the Financial Regulatory and Compliance Practice and a partner in the Boston office of an international law firm. He joined that firm after nearly two decades at a Boston securities litigation boutique, where he served as managing partner. He was also an adjunct professor at Boston College Law School for four years teaching Securities Regulation.

Earlier in his career, Pete spent five years as an associate general counsel and vice president of an investment banking firm, and he was an associate at two international law firms. After law school, he served as a law clerk to the late Hon. George C. Edwards Jr. of the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

During law school, Pete served as editor-in-chief of the Third World Law Journal.

Education

  • Boston College (JD)
  • Ohio State University (MA)
  • University of Toledo (BA, cum laude with honors)

Experience

Investigations and Enforcement Proceedings

  • Represented broker-dealer in an investigation of  alleged market timing of mutual funds that involved multiple agencies including the Massachusetts Securities Division, the SEC, the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office, the New York Attorney General’s Office, the New York Stock Exchange, the National Association of Securities Dealers, Inc., and the DOJ. All matters were closed with no action taken against client.
  • Represented multiple financial institutions and corporate officers in DOJ, SEC and FINRA investigations involving allegations of securities laws violations, including insider trading, market manipulation, money laundering, free-riding, and front-running.
  • Advised multiple banks and broker-dealers regarding non-public internal reviews or investigations related to purported wrongdoing by employees, including, among other things, potential: violations of Anti-Money Laundering (AML) policies and procedures; violations of insider trading laws; theft of trade secrets and other intellectual property; embezzlement, and other workplace improprieties. This representation included evaluating whether to terminate employees, making appropriate disclosures to regulators and law enforcement agencies, and providing strategic advice to mitigate the risk of future recurrence.
  • Represented corporate officers and registered supervisory and compliance personnel in multiple contested FINRA Enforcement Division disciplinary hearings alleging fraudulent conduct that concluded with verdicts finding that no fraud in fact occurred.
  • Represented individuals and broker-dealers in multiple state securities regulatory matters involving allegations of securities law violations including fraud, excessive markups, due diligence lapses, unsuitability, mutual fund break-point miscalculations, data breaches, and failure to supervise.

Dispute Resolution

  • Represented multiple broker-dealers in customer-initiated arbitrations and state and federal court matters.
  • Represented multiple banks and broker-dealers in employment matters in state and federal courts and arbitration, including cases alleging wrongful termination, discrimination, and violations of restrictive employee covenants.
  • Represented bank in multiple putative class actions across the United States arising out of alleged wrongdoing related to mortgages and related products; violations of multiple consumer protection statutes including the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), the Fair Debt Collection Act (FDCA), the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA); and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
  • Represented bank in putative class action arising out of Ponzi scheme conducted by bank’s customers seeking to hold bank responsible for over $100 million in losses caused by the alleged criminal actions of those customers.
  • Represented multiple financial services companies in litigation alleging violations of the Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).

Regulatory and Compliance

  • Designed and managed Early Dispute Resolution (EDR) programs for multiple banks and broker-dealers, successfully integrating in-house compliance, legal and risk teams with outside counsel to reduce litigation and regulatory risk. Programs included creation of matrices to record and track; risk assessment, pattern detection (product, personnel and geographic), escalation, remediation and compliance gap analysis.
  • Performed regulatory and litigation due diligence in a variety of mergers and acquisition transactions for financial services clients.
  • Designed process to assess Artificial Intelligence (AI) needs for Compliance and Supervision functions of Wealth Management Division of multinational financial institution. Project included analysis of: current state; desired future state; scalability; task applicability; cost ; implementation timeline; and impact on personnel headcount.

Recognition & Awards

  • Included on the Massachusetts Super Lawyers: Securities Litigation List (2006 – 2020)
  • International Finance Law Review, “IFLR1000” Highly Regarded – Financial Services Regulatory (2018-2020)
  • Lexology, "Client Choice Award” – Litigation: Massachusetts (2017)
  • Included on the Super Lawyers Corporate Counsel Edition: Top Attorneys in Securities Litigation List (2009 – 2014)
  • Recipient, ABA Section of Litigation, "Outstanding Service Award" (2003 – 2004)
  • Recipient, ABA, "Outstanding Editor Award" (2002 – 2003)
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent

Involvement

  • Senior contributing editor, Securities Litigation Commentator (2002 – present)
  • Arbitrator, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and predecessors (1996 – present)
  • Member, American Bar Association, Securities Litigation Committee, Section of Litigation (1985– present)
  • Member, Advisory Board, Florida Securities Dealers Association (2010 – 2017)
  • Co-editor, Securities Litigation Journal, American Bar Association (1999 – 2011)
  • Co-chair, Broker-Dealer Litigation Subcommittee, American Bar Association (1993 –1998)
  • Member, National Society of Compliance Professionals
  • Member, Compliance and Legal Division, Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA)
  • Member, Boston Bar Association
  • Member, District of Columbia Bar Association
  • Member, Florida Bar Association
  • Member, Massachusetts Bar Association
  • Member, Palm Beach County Bar Association
  • Member, New Hampshire Bar Association
  • Member, New York Bar Association
  • Member, Securities and Exchange Commission Historical Society
  • Member, Board of Visitors, New England Conservatory of Music (2004 – present)
  • Member, Board of Trustees, Brookwood School (2009 – 2013)

Viewpoints

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You Can’t Always Get What You Want: The End of ESG Investing in ERISA Accounts

October 26, 2020 | Blog | By Pete Michaels, Alyssa C. Scruggs

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With ESG, Things Aren’t Always As Green As They Seem

October 22, 2020 | Blog | By Pete Michaels, Alyssa C. Scruggs

Environmental, social, and governance (“ESG”) investing has captured the attention (and dollars) of more institutional investors each year and continues to grow exponentially. However, how can an ESG investor be sure that the investments it is making truly align with the values those funds purport to prioritize?
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FinCen Issues Statement Regarding Publication of Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs)

September 3, 2020 | Blog | By Eoin Beirne, Cory S. Flashner, Pete Michaels, Jason Burrell

On September 1, 2020, the Financial Crimes Network (“FinCEN”) issued a statement regarding various media outlets’ intent to publish Suspicious Activity Reports (“SARs”) and “other sensitive government documents”.
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Massachusetts Securities Division Begins Enforcement Of New State Fiduciary Conduct Standard

September 2, 2020 | Blog | By Pete Michaels, David L. Ward, Michael Pastore

On September 1, 2020, the Massachusetts Securities Division (“MSD”) began enforcing a new state regulation that holds all broker-dealers and their agents to a fiduciary conduct standard requiring them to “make recommendations and provide investment advice without regard to the financial or any other interest of any party other than the customer”.
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CFPB Solicits Assistance in Combatting Credit Discrimination

August 11, 2020 | Blog | By Pete Michaels, Michael Pastore

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FINRA Shares Best Practices by Firms to Supervise in a Remote Work Environment

May 29, 2020 | Blog | By Pete Michaels, David L. Ward, Michael Pastore

FINRA, through its most recent Regulatory Notice 20-16 , shares certain common practices they have seen taken by member firms to enhance supervision in the remote work environment due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Court Puts COVID-19 Emergency Debt Collection Regulations on Ice

May 15, 2020 | Blog | By Pete Michaels, Michael Pastore

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FINRA Again Reminds Firms to Beware of Fraud during COVID-19 Pandemic

May 6, 2020 | Blog | By Pete Michaels, David L. Ward

As we previously discussed, FINRA issued guidance to member firms and their associated persons in April 2020 to remain “vigilant in their surveillance against cyber threats and take steps to reduce the risk of cyber events.”
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FINRA Fines Broker-Dealer for Sharing Customer Data with Third-Party Vendor

April 30, 2020 | Blog | By Pete Michaels, David L. Ward

Kestra Investment Services LLC (“Kestra”) was fined $125,000 by FINRA for sharing personal customer data with a third-party vendor.
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News & Press

This feature story highlights the arrival of Members Pete Michaels and David Ward. The article describes their focus on financial services litigation and regulatory matters. The article includes commentary from Pete describing why Mintz was the right fit in terms of size, practice synergy and culture.

Events

May
1
2018

SIFMA C&L Society Boston Regional Seminar

Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association

Boston, MA

Sep
28
2015

SIFMA Compliance and Legal Society Charlotte Regional Seminar

Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association

Charlotte, NC