November 29, 2010
Public customers should immediately be given the option to obtain an "all public" arbitration panel. Public customers have been forced to arbitrate their disputes against the brokerage industry in an industry forum (NASD/FINRA) for over twenty three years, with a panel which has included one "industry" panel member (out of three panelists). The public perception is that this process is similar to having four (out of twelve) members on a jury who are members of an association which is known to be against plaintiffs. Although I am not contending that all industry arbitrators are biased, the public perception of nearly every case which I have been involved in is that the process is a stacked deck against the investor. In advising investor clients on these matters for over ten years, my perception is that the process in totally inequitable. This is a change in the right direction, and I strongly urge the immediate adoption of this proposed rule.