Michael J. Lacek is a Bates Group consultant and an accomplished financial services attorney, especially in the areas of retirement and insurance products, including suitability and sales practices of life insurance and annuity products; securities and insurance regulatory matters; and large complex commercial transactions and litigation. He has substantial experience providing advice and guidance to help clients achieve their business objectives while mitigating risks and avoiding future disruptive legal issues.
From 2001 until 2018, Mr. Lacek worked for MetLife, Inc., which for most of that period was the largest life insurer (by premium) in the United States. Since 2012, he was Associate General Counsel and Practice Group Lead for MetLife’s Retirement & Income Solutions business. With $20 billion in sales and $196 billion in assets under management, this business provides pension risk transfer, annuities and investment products to defined benefit plans, defined contribution plans, and to fund non-qualified employee benefit plans. Mr. Lacek frequently wrote and negotiated contracts for transactions involving hundreds of millions of dollars. He also provided legal counsel on compliance with state regulatory requirements and the Department of Labor Fiduciary Rule. Mr. Lacek facilitated the merger and re-domestication of two MetLife affiliated insurance companies, creating a more profitable non-New York platform for the business.
In a prior role at MetLife, Mr. Lacek headed the legal department for the Broker-Dealer business, where he supported up to nine affiliated broker dealers, advising on federal securities laws and regulations, FINRA Rules and state securities laws. He played a key role in the merger, sale and disposition of various companies, as well as the withdrawal of the limited-purpose broker-dealer registration for Metropolitan Life Insurance Company.
Mr. Lacek represented MetLife and actively participated in the ACLI (American Council of Life Insurers) Working Group on the standard of care for broker-dealers and registered investment advisers. In this role he helped draft proposed legislation for inclusion in the Dodd Frank bill and met with senior staff at the SEC and FINRA to advocate the industry’s position.
Mr. Lacek also ran Regulatory Affairs at MetLife, where he was responsible for all regulatory examinations, investigations, and inquiries regarding MetLife’s affiliated broker-dealers and registered investment advisers and insurance companies. Mr. Lacek was intimately involved in the negotiation of MetLife’s settlement with 48 state insurance departments and Verus Financial (on behalf of state unclaimed property regulators) regarding the use of the Social Security Death Master File. Mr. Lacek also oversaw a number of significant securities regulatory investigations and customer complaints based on alleged sales practices violations.
Mr. Lacek joined MetLife in 2001 as a litigator responsible for class action opt-out litigation, as well as several high-profile securities regulatory investigations. Prior to joining MetLife, Mr. Lacek was a partner with the law firm of Palmer & Dodge, LLP of Boston where he specialized in large, complex transactions and litigation for commercial and insurance clients. Mr. Lacek began his career as an associate at Cravath, Swaine & Moore in New York.
Mr. Lacek holds a J.D. from Columbia University School of Law and a B.A. with honors from the State University of New York at Albany. He is admitted to practice in Massachusetts and New York, as well as several federal courts, including the Supreme Court of the United States.
METLIFE, Inc., Boston, MA, Associate General Counsel, 2006-2018; Assistant General Counsel, 2004-2006; Senior Counsel, 2001-2004
Palmer & Dodge, LLP, Boston, MA, Partner, 1988-2001; Associate, 1983-1988
Cravath Swaine & Moore, New York, NY, Litigation Associate, 1980-1983
Columbia University School of Law, New York, NY, J.D., 1980
Executive Editor, Columbia Journal of Law and Social Problems
Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, Phi Delta Phi
State University of New York at Albany, Albany, NY, B.A., 1977
Phi Beta Kappa, Signum Laudis
New York, 1980
United States Supreme Court, 1994
U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit, 1982
U.S. Court of Appeals, 1st Circuit, 1983
U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts, 1984
U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, 1982
Securities Industry and Financial Management Association, 2005-2015
Private Client Legal Committee; Compliance and Legal Committee
ACLI Working Group on Standard of Care, 2008-2012
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