Steven W. Stone is a securities lawyer who counsels clients on regulations governing broker-dealers, investment advisers and bank fiduciaries, and pooled investment vehicles. Head of the firm’s financial institutions practice, Steve counsels most of the largest and most prominent US broker-dealers, investment banks, investment advisers, and mutual fund organizations. He regularly represents clients before the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), both in seeking regulatory relief and assisting clients in enforcement or examination matters.
Steve advises major US broker-dealers in the private wealth and private client businesses that offer investment advice and brokerage services to high-net-worth and retail clients as well as broker-dealers serving self-directed clients. In this connection, Steve has counseled numerous broker-dealers and investment advisers on the SEC’s new retail advice regulations, including Regulation Best Interest and Form CRS. He also advises broker-dealers and investment advisers in the managed account or wrap fee area, and serves as counsel to the Money Management Institute, the principal trade association focused on managed accounts. Steve also counsels various institutional investment advisers and banks on investment management issues, including conflicts, trading, disclosure, advertising, distribution, and other ongoing regulatory compliance matters. He also works as counsel on various matters to the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association’s (SIFMA) and the Investment Company Institute (ICI).
Steve’s practice includes counseling clients on varied regulatory and transactional matters including the development of innovative products and services; regulation and operation of managed account (or wrap fee) programs and hedge funds; trading issues affecting broker-dealers and investment advisers; soft dollar arrangements; special regulatory issues for advice provided to retail investors (including under SEC Reg. BI); interpretive and no-action letter requests; insider trading issues; and related matters. He guides clients through SEC, FINRA, and state investigations and enforcement actions. Additionally, he counsels clients on mergers, acquisitions, and joint ventures involving broker-dealers and investment advisers.
As part of his practice, Steve regularly assists brokers and investment advisers seeking relief from the SEC and its staff. In this connection, Steve has obtained SEC relief for a broad range of clients, including on payments by brokers to internet portals (Schwab) and to research providers (Goldman, Sachs & Co. & Schwab), bank network arrangements (Retirement System Distributors), broker confirmation delivery requirements (Goldman, Sachs & Co., William Blair & Company), receipt by brokers of payments for research from clients CCAs (SIFMA) and hard dollar payments from investment advisers subject to MiFID II (SIFMA), operation of alternative trading systems (Intervest, State Street), broker status of companies facilitating issuer-sponsored affinity investing and dividend reinvestment programs (StockPower) and related Securities Act issues (StockPower), effecting principal trades by advisers (Edward Jones, Wells Fargo, UBS), custody arrangements involving advisers (Investment Advisers Association), exercise of discretion by brokers incidental to provision of investment advice (Morgan Lewis), satisfaction by brokers of mutual fund prospectus delivery requirements to managed account clients (Money Management Institute), and investment sub-adviser delivery of Form ADV firm brochures (Goldman, Sachs & Co.). Steve has also participated in various SEC forums, including the SEC’s 2001 Portals Roundtable: Relationships Between Broker-Dealers and Internet Web Sites.
Steve serves as co-leader of the firm’s investment funds industry team, and previously served on the firm’s Advisory Board and was managing partner of the Washington, DC, office.
Since 2005, Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business has recognized Steve as one of the leading US lawyers for investment management and broker-dealer law, calling him “one of the best in the field” and noting that he has "tremendous expertise and experience and a great ability to apply things with a business sense." Since 2009, The US Legal 500 has listed him for his work with mutual fund formation and management.
Recognized, Securities/Capital Markets Law, Washington DC, The Best Lawyers in America (2023)
Member, Best ETF Law Firm, ETF Express US Awards (2021, 2022)
Band 1, Financial Services Regulation: Broker Dealer (Compliance), Nationwide, Chambers USA (2018–2022)
Member, Practice Group of the Year, Asset Management, Law360 (2017)
Ranked, Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business (2005–2017)
Recommended, Investment Fund Formation and Management: Mutual Funds in The US Legal 500 (2009–2015)
Recognized in Who’s Who Legal (2016)
Recognized, "Guide to the World's Leading Investment Funds Lawyers," International Financial Law Review/Expert Guides (2008)
Recognized, Washington, DC Super Lawyers (2008)
Member, American Bar Association, Business Law Section
Editorial Board Member, Practical Compliance & Risk Management
Advisory Board Member, Wall Street Lawyer & Journal of Performance Measurement
Former Managing Editor, The George Washington Law Review
Former Associate Editor, Consumer Protection Reporting Service