November 25, 2010
My law practice is devoted almost exclusively to representing customer claimants in FINRA arbitrations, and I am on the Chairman roster of FINTRA arbitrators. I write this comment in strong support of the Rule change to provide customers with the choice of all-public arbitrators. The Pilot program was utilized by my clients, and the perception of fairness was increased. As it is, many of the so-called public arbitrators are former brokers and otherwise affiliated with the industry, so sometimes it really became an effective majority of the panel that was "industry". With this proposal, that kind of bias is less likely to occur. I like the choice of keeping an industry representative for the occasional case where I feel that some extra insight of industry practice would be helpful to the other arbitrators, given the unique facts of a case. In sum, I have liked the Pilot program, and pleased to see it become a permanent fixture in FINRA arbitration.