Richard Berry, Esq.
Richard W. Berry is Executive Vice President and Director of FINRA Dispute Resolution Services (FDRS), New York, NY.
Prior to serving in this capacity, Mr. Berry was Senior Vice President, Dispute Resolution. In that role, he oversaw the four regional offices-New York, Boca Raton, Chicago and Los Angeles-and the New York Case Administration unit.
Mr. Berry joined FINRA, then NASD, in 1995 as head of Dispute Resolution's Los Angeles office. In 2001, he was named Director of Case Administration in the New York City office.
Prior to joining FINRA, he taught American law for one year in Budapest. Mr. Berry began his career practicing law in San Francisco. He is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara and Hastings College of the Law. Mr. Berry is a member of the California Bar.
Ellen Slipp, Esq.
Ellen Slipp is Managing Director and Head of Litigation for The Citi Private Bank. In that role she manages litigation globally including: securities litigation, employment law claims, internal investigations, ethics inquiries etc. Prior to January 2005, she spent 11 years at the Citigroup Corporate and Investment Bank trying sales practice arbitrations, employment arbitrations and representing the company and individual employees in regulatory inquiries. Ellen speaks at many industry conferences in addition to SIFMA, 85 Broads and various PLI seminars. She currently sits on the National Arbitration and Mediation Committee of FINRA and is an industry arbitrator at FINRA. Before joining Citigroup, she was an Assistant District Attorney both at the Kings County District Attorney's Office and at the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor in Manhattan. She graduated from Suffolk University Law School in Boston, MA and received her BA from Union College in Schenectady, NY.
Paula D. Shaffner, Esq.
Paula Shaffner is widely recognized as a fierce advocate for clients in the financial services industry. For almost 30 years, Paula has represented individuals and companies in securities litigation, and defended clients in regulatory matters before the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Financial Industry Regulatory Agency (FINRA) and various exchanges and state regulators. She also represents clients in litigation filed in court or arbitration.
Paula conducts internal investigations and provides compliance counseling. Her clients include public companies, mutual funds, hedge funds, investment companies and advisers, broker dealers and individuals associated with those entities.
Ralph Blascovich, Esq.
Mr. Blascovich is a Managing Director for Bates Group and is based in Atlanta. He is available to consult or testify nationwide as an expert witness in financial service disputes involving broker-dealers, registered representatives, SEC and state registered investment advisors, independents, qualified custodians, and investors regarding a wide range of supervisory, compliance, sales practice and employment issues--including wrongful termination, Form U-5 defamation and related damage claims. He has served as a SEC-mandated "Independent Consultant" and is available to conduct independent compliance reviews for RIAs, broker-dealers and other financial institutions.
Mr. Blascovich also uses his extensive financial services, corporate governance, litigation and employment experience to provide testimony regarding fiduciary duties, “breakaway broker” and advisor disputes, whistleblowing allegations, corporate and network security matters and fraud claims, including fraud allegations arising from private security transactions, “selling” or “buying away,” and “outside business activities.”
Before joining Bates Group, Mr. Blascovich served as Deputy General Counsel, Assistant Corporate Secretary and Senior Vice President for E*TRADE Financial Corporation. While at E*TRADE, Mr. Blascovich sat on the company’s global Enterprise Risk Management Committee, Chaired the Legal-Compliance Risk Management Subcommittee, and served on the company’s Business Continuity, Fraud Prevention, and Information Technology Steering committees. During his ten years with the online broker-dealer and bank, Mr. Blascovich managed global litigation--including all retail and industry arbitration claims brought before FINRA; headed the company’s Corporate Safety & Security department, which included both Network Security and Fraud Investigations; and helped implement the company’s Advertising Review, Business Continuity, Code of Conduct, Financial Reporting & Disclosure, Privacy, Records Management, Whistleblowing and other compliance policies and procedures.
Prior to joining E*TRADE, Mr. Blascovich served as Deputy Regional Counsel and First Vice President for Prudential Securities Incorporated in San Francisco. At Prudential Securities, Mr. Blascovich personally defended financial advisors, branch managers and the company in retail securities arbitrations brought by customers before the NASD (now “FINRA”), NYSE, Pacific Exchange and American Arbitration Association. He also handled related sales practice and supervisory inquiries from SROs, federal and state regulators; evaluated customer complaints; conducted internal reviews; litigated employment disputes and drafted Forms U-4, U-5 and RE-3.
Mr. Blascovich was a frequent instructor at Prudential’s captive university for new financial advisors (“FAITs”) and lectured on a variety of compliance topics, including new account documentation, the “know your customer” rule, suitability, fiduciary duties and other sales practice issues.
A trial lawyer, Mr. Blascovich began his legal career as a Deputy District Attorney for the County of Sacramento and later served as an Acting Deputy Attorney General for the State of California, handling appeals to the Third and Fifth District Courts of Appeal and California Supreme Court. Between the time he began his career as a Deputy District Attorney in Sacramento and subsequently joined Prudential Securities, Mr. Blascovich was a trial lawyer in San Francisco, primarily handling professional malpractice litigation.
Mr. Blascovich has been engaged as an expert witness or regulatory and compliance consultant approximately 85 times since 2012 and has testified nationwide more than 20 times in a wide range of disputes before FINRA and AAA, in federal and state court cases, and in state disciplinary proceedings (administrative hearings) on behalf of broker-dealers, registered representatives, SEC and state registered investment advisors, independents, qualified custodians and investors.
Carlos Provencio, Esq.
Carlos Provencio has broad experience as corporate counsel, most recently for one of the country's largest independent full-service wealth management and capital market firms, where he managed and litigated a docket of high-yield bond fund arbitrations. Carlos has tried or participated in more than 50 arbitration hearings before FINRA and AAA, and spearheaded global expert witness and key fact witness preparation and strategy.
Carlos also has counseled large corporations on e-discovery, document management, and data privacy. Prior to moving in-house, Carlos clerked at the state and federal level and practiced for nine years in Washington, DC, as a business litigator and corporate compliance investigator for large national firms. He has held a Series 7 Securities License.