Mr. Merolla focuses his practice on securities and investment regulation, equities market structure issues, broker/dealer advisory matters, regulatory and internal investigations and examinations, regulatory compliance, corporate governance, cross-border matters, and independent examiner engagements.
Prior to joining Murphy & McGonigle, Mr. Merolla served for over 20 years as a senior in-house counsel within the securities industry – most recently as General Counsel of a public company, Instinet Group Incorporated, and its affiliated broker/dealers, the main businesses of which were an equities trading platform and institutional equities brokerage. Mr. Merolla had previously served as senior legal counsel to two large, international, fully-diversified investment banks and broker/dealers, Goldman Sachs & Co., Inc. and Drexel Burnham Lambert Incorporated. His responsibilities covered global legal, compliance and internal audit functions, equities advisory support, litigation and regulatory proceedings, and public company and corporate governance work.
Mr. Merolla has substantial experience advising financial institutions and their senior management on a variety of matters including issues relating to trading, sales and research; equities and fixed income products; insider trading; market manipulation; market structure; compliance; mergers and acquisitions; international transactions; cross-border matters; personnel matters; corporate governance, including executive compensation; litigation and arbitration; and regulatory and internal investigations. He has extensive experience with mortgage-backed and other asset-backed securities, as well as experience in bankruptcy and liquidation proceedings. He also has served as an independent examiner appointed and approved pursuant to regulatory settlements.
In his years of practice within the securities industry, Mr. Merolla had regularly dealt and communicated with industry regulators such as the SEC, NASD and NYSE and also with foreign regulators on regulatory and enforcement matters. As a former General Counsel, Mr. Merolla understands the role and demands associated with being in-house counsel and is able to advise clients on a host of issues faced daily by in-house attorneys.
Mr. Merolla periodically serves as an arbitrator for the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and is a member and Past President of the SIFMA Compliance and Legal Division.
Mr. Merolla has been recognized as a New York Super Lawyer (2014-15).
Global Review of European Bank’s Wealth Management, Investment Bank, and Asset Management Business Pursuant to Department of Justice Deferred Prosecution Agreement and SEC Consent Order (collectively, “U.S. Settlements”) (completed 2010). Our partners Thomas McGonigle and Paul Merolla were engaged as Independent Consultants by a global financial services firm with headquarters in Europe to ensure that it and all its affiliated entities had, as required by the U.S. Settlements, ceased providing services to U.S. persons unless such business was being conducted through an SEC-registered entity or an appropriate exemption from registration requirements existed. This engagement was an arduous, complex matter which required reviews among the firm's numerous affiliates and businesses and an examination of thousands of customer accounts. The engagement also required visits and inspection by the Independent Consultants throughout the world – in the U.S., Europe and Asia, and in particular to affiliates located in known tax-haven countries. As part of this engagement, the Independent Consultants were required to prepare and submit three (3) written reports to the SEC, DOJ, and the investment bank -- two (2) interim reports during the pendency of the engagement and one final report at the conclusion of the review. In the final report the Independent Consultants set forth their conclusions as to the bank’s compliance with its undertakings under its U.S. Settlements.
Review of Fixed Income Trading Compliance of Leading Inter Dealer Broker Pursuant to SEC Settlement (completed 2011). Our partners Paul Merolla and Tom McGonigle were engaged by a large inter-dealer broker to serve as Independent Consultants to review the firm’s fixed income trading controls and compliance as they related to certain display practices and trading priorities by the firm. The engagement entailed the review of voice and electronic trading practices and a testing of related systems as well as the submission of a report with recommended policies and procedures. The engagement further required a follow-up review to assess the adequacy of the implementation of the recommended changes, which has been completed.