A Conversation with Michelle Oroschakoff, LPL Financial

SIFMA’s Compliance & Legal Society is the leading forum for compliance and legal professionals working in the financial services industry. With a rich 50-year history, it provides a unique opportunity for industry leaders and regulators to come together to share information and collaborate with the goal of ensuring our capital markets are the most fair, transparent and ethical in the world.

We recently sat down with Michelle Oroschakoff, Chief Legal Officer for LPL Financial and President of the SIFMA C&L Society. It was wonderful to see so many professionals – over 1,400! – gathered in Orlando for the 2022 C&L Annual Seminar. Read on to find out the top themes that emerged from our discussions and what the Society has in store next.

Conversations at the 2022 C&L Annual Seminar covered the gamut. What themes arose?

Perhaps the thing that makes this Seminar so interesting is the mix of our participants. SIFMA members are represented from every business model – the largest global banks, regional firms, small firms, those with asset management practices, those with a focus in wealth management, clearing firms, introducing brokers, retail-focused and institutional-focused firms. We have regulators like FINRA who stay for the entire event. We have law firms large and small, covering the gamut of issues from capital markets transactions to arbitrations and dispute resolutions.

One new thing I noted this year was a marked increase in participation by risk professionals, including a number of heads of supervision for large firms. This is an interesting result of the increasing importance of the risk function and how it intertwines with legal and compliance. It is especially apparent as risk management programs are mandatory for banks.

2022 was the first year we’ve gathered during the Biden Administration. With every change in Administration, there is different focus and tone from federal regulators. It’s important to take time to consider how the industry adapts to those new or changing priorities, and the Annual is the perfect place to do that both through formal presentations and speeches, as well as informal networking and discussions.

The use of technology seeped into many discussions, both in terms of usage and controls. How will we take advantage of technologies that exist? How are small firms going to keep up with regulatory expectations? How is data being leveraged? This goes to another important point that we heard discussed: the industry should not replicate the data regulators already have and vice-versa. How can we instead look to partner where appropriate?

For more on themes arising from our conversations, I encourage you to download the Seminar Debrief from SIFMA Insights. It includes the results of a survey of leaders in our industry and covers topics including the new normal for the office, remote work supervision, equity market structure reform, cyber, crypto, cloud services, digital engagement, ESG and climate, shortening the settlement cycle and more.

What were some of the highlights for you?

Three things have stood out since returning to my office in California – first and foremost being how great it was to have the opportunity to be together in person. The Annual Seminar delivers substance but so much more. This was the full educational experience, with networking, hallway conversations, and a spontaneity that only happens by being together in person.

The second thing I would note is the diversity in our attendees and panels. This is the result of intentional work and focus over many years. It is exciting to see the fruits of our labor starting to show up consistently. As another marker in our commitment to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion in the industry, we were thrilled to present our inaugural DEI Advocate Award to Chris Lewis of Edward Jones and Jacqueline LiCalzi of Morgan Stanley. You can read more about that and see their acceptance speeches here.

Related to this, I was pleasantly surprised by how many people I didn’t know! There were fresh faces and a pulse of energy throughout the event. That felt good. Senior executives at some firms are making concerted efforts to bring their rising talent. This is a major perk for more junior associates who are building their practice or in-house expertise and getting exposure. I remarked during one panel that many of us can chart our own career progression against attendance at this event. Someone made that space for us and now it’s time for us to do the same in return.

Finally, the quality of the conversations and panels was quite high. We strive for this to be the highest-quality event you have ever attended. Our Seminar Planning Committee spends considerable time selecting expert speakers for each of our sessions, as well as preparing people to be “stage ready.” For example, part of the commitment to leading a panel is participating in moderator training and being open to audience feedback. One of the things we consistently hear from attendees is that the most valuable sessions are led by moderators who engage panelists in conversation and go beyond high-level overviews to practical advice and tips on how different firms are handling key challenges. This is no accident; it is by design. For those of you who responded to our surveys, thank you! We read each and every response we receive and use them to inform our planning for the next year.

What’s next on the docket?

A core objective of the SIFMA C&L Society is to deliver valuable educational opportunities. We’ve just opened registration for our Regional Seminar in St. Louis; dates are on the calendar for San Francisco and Charlotte. Each of these full day programs offers comprehensive programming tailored to its local market, with generous opportunities for networking. If you are a manager, I encourage you to attend and bring your team with you. This is an excellent way to engage with colleagues at a more intimate level and is an efficient and highly effective use of time for all levels of seniority. If you haven’t been to an event recently, this is the perfect chance to get back out there.

In New York this June, our Future Leaders are hosting a discussion on the Path to Senior Management: Transitioning to a New Role. We’re also pleased to bring back our Luncheon Series, offering timely updates on a focused topic along with time to reconnect with and build your network.

I heard one first-time attendee at the Annual Seminar compare the experience to a multi-day wedding party. (Yes, it’s that fun!) If we carry the comparison, the Regionals then are plated dinner parties; and our Luncheon Series is a boxed lunch. We have something for everyone and we hope you’ll find out that’s true for you by joining us at an upcoming event. We can’t wait to see you.


Michelle Oroschakoff is Chief Legal Officer for LPL Financial, where she is responsible for company-wide legal matters, risk management processes and controls, compliance, and governance, and has a leading role in the company’s ongoing focus on enhancing the corporate risk profile.

To receive our monthly C&L Society Update and more, please create or manage your profile at my.sifma.org. To view upcoming events for compliance and legal professionals in the financial industry, please visit www.sifma.org/events.

Watch On Demand

Our one-on-one conversation with FINRA President and CEO Robert Cook and the Ask FINRA Panel are now available to watch on demand!

Complimentary access for Seminar attendees; please email [email protected] for access instructions. $49 for SIFMA members; $99 for non-members; register here to watch. Available to view through May 31, 2022.