Stephen Wilkes, who has been with The Wagner Law Group since 2012 and Partner since 2016, heads the firm's Investment Management Law practice. He advises a national client base of mutual funds, CIFs, private funds, registered investment advisers, insurance companies, broker dealers, wealth management firms, banks, trust companies, third-party platform providers and plan sponsors on ERISA, tax, and related securities law issues. Stephen counsels clients regarding ERISA fiduciary and prohibited transaction issues and interacts with regulatory agencies and Congressional staff on legislative and regulatory issues.
Stephen has extensive experience in handling audits by the Department of Labor, the IRS, and the United States’ Security and Exchange Commission. He gives advice and counseling with respect to retirement plan services agreements, investment management agreements, DOL regulations, SEC regulations, federal legislative activity, qualified employee pension plans, ERISA litigation, Collective Investment Funds, off-shore investment advisers, Sales and Marketing Distribution Agreements and Wrap-Fee Programs. Stephen has also worked closely with his clients regarding structure among broker-dealer firms and platform provider firms for product distribution and preparing non-discretionary or discretionary advisory agreements, Form ADV Part 2, regulatory disclosures and filings, marketing materials, prospectus, revenue sharing, best investment management practices, CIF advisory and sub-advisory agreements, selling and administrative services agreements, distribution agreements, vendor agreements, compliance manuals and WSP’s.
Prior to working at The Wagner Law Group, Stephen worked as an attorney in a San Francisco law firm, as senior counsel at Financial Engines, Inc. in Palo Alto, and at Merrill Lynch in San Francisco in the fields of ERISA, Securities, and retirement/compensation services. Additionally, Stephen founded and headed his own firm specializing in the area of ERISA.
Stephen’s experience also includes partner, associate, general counsel, and assistant general counsel positions at The LTV Corporation (NYSE) in Cleveland, Merchants Suisse Inc. in New York, New York, Hughes and Luce in Dallas, Winstead, Sechrest & Minick in Dallas, Texas, and at Gordon Hurtwitz in New York, New York.
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