November 29, 2010
As a long time securities arbitration practitioner from both the respondent side and for the last 8 years from claimants' side only, and as an ex-NASD n/k/a FINRA examiner, I fully support the rule change to permit investors to exclude 'industry' arbitrators and have an all-public member arbitration panel.
I have participated in the FINRA Pilot Program on a number of cases and the program has increased the perception of fairness in arbitration. After being told that they must have an 'industry' arbitrator, claimants express their concern about the 'industry' arbitrator requirement. Claimants believe that the 'industry' arbitrator has an obvious and inherent bias against them because the 'industry' arbitrator derives their livelihood from the industry against which the claimant is making claims.
It is my firm belief that giving the investor the option of having an all-public arbitrator panel will greatly improve the FINRA arbitration forum.
I strongly urge the early adoption of this proposed rule.