2018 Atlanta

Atlanta Workshop Speakers


Donna C. Esau has served as Associate Regional Director for Examinations in the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Atlanta Regional Office since August 2017. She began her career at the SEC as an Examiner in the Atlanta office’s examination program in 1996. She has served as a senior Program Adviser in the National Examination Program and most recently as Acting Associate Regional Director in the Atlanta office. In 2009, she joined the Fort Worth Regional Office as an Assistant Regional Director and in 2011 returned to the Atlanta Regional Office as an Assistant Regional Director. Ms. Esau holds a BS degree in Business, a Masters in Accounting, and is a certified public accountant in the state of Georgia.


Jennifer Keegan joined Merit Financial Advisors in September of 2017 as a Compliance Associate. With nearly 20 years of experience in the financial services industry, Ms. Keegan leads the firm’s compliance program. She holds her Series 7 and Series 66 registrations with LPL Financial and Merit Financial Group.

Prior to joining Merit Financial Advisors, Ms. Keegan was an RIA consultant and also managed branch offices for broker-dealer registered representatives. Her responsibilities were wide-ranging, and included developing client service procedures, keeping the branches compliant, preparing for branch audits and assisting clients with their financial needs.

Ms. Keegan is a native of St. Louis, Missouri and has a BS in Business Administration from Southeast Missouri State University and a Masters of Arts in Legal Analysis from Webster University.


Michelle B. Kennedy is President of Compass Compliance Services, LLC. Formerly Ms. Kennedy served as Vice President and Director of Compliance Platform Services for WealthTrust LLC, an investment management holding company with ten affiliated registered investment advisory firms. She worked with WealthTrust for three years conducting the annual reviews for all affiliates, providing compliance support, advising on performance composite maintenance, including adherence to GIPS standards and supporting firms’ onsite during SEC exams. Prior to joining WealthTrust, she was Vice President of Greenwood Capital Associates, a registered investment adviser. During her 15 years with the firm, she was responsible for compliance, operations and performance composite maintenance and served as the firm’s Chief Compliance Officer for the last four years of her tenure. Ms. Kennedy is past president and founding member of the Advent User Group and has appeared as a panel member at various compliance related seminars. She received her BS and MBA degrees from Clemson University and resides in Greenville, South Carolina.


Robert E. Plaze is a Partner with Proskauer, and a member of the Registered Funds Group. He advises investment advisers and investment companies on an array of matters, with a particular focus on regulatory and compliance matters arising under the federal securities laws. Previously, he served as Deputy Director of the Division of Investment Management of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. During his nearly 30 years of service with the Commission, he was responsible for policy development and management of many of the key regulatory initiatives during that period affecting investment companies and investment advisers under the Investment Company Act of 1940 and the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, including rules governing fund and adviser compliance programs, fund corporate governance, personal trading, custody and brokerage practices, prohibitions on “pay to play” practices, and protection of investor privacy. Mr. Plaze was responsible for rulemaking to implement provisions of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act affecting investment advisers, including rules requiring advisers to hedge funds and other private funds to register with the Commission, rules implementing new exemptions from registration and rules requiring reporting by certain exempt investment advisers.


Monique S. Botkin is Associate General Counsel of the Investment Adviser Association. Prior to joining the IAA in February 2004, Ms. Botkin was an associate in the financial services groups at Dechert LLP in Newport Beach, CA. and Alston & Bird LLP in Washington, D.C. While in private practice, Ms. Botkin represented investment advisers, registered investment companies, private funds, and broker-dealers in corporate, securities and investment management matters. Ms. Botkin also served as an attorney in the SEC’s Division of Investment Management disclosure review office from 2013 to 2014. She earned her BA in government and politics from the University of Maryland at College Park and her JD, cum laude, from Southwestern University School of Law in Los Angeles, where she was an editor of the Law Review. Ms. Botkin is a member of the State Bar of California.


Lisa Gillette
(202) 293-4222
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