November 29, 2010
I have been representing victims of the securities industry for almost nineteen years, and my law firm is almost exclusively devoted to representing such victims in FINRA arbitrations. I write to support FINRAs proposed rule change eliminating the mandatory industry arbitrator from public customer disputes. It is my experience that industry arbitrators can be heavily biased in favor of the industry. I have seen instances where industry arbitrators at hearings take positions contrary to the law based on their questioning. If there is an accepted custom or practice in the industry, even if illegal, the industry arbitrator is likely to find against the claimant, in my experience. It is only natural that an arbitrator employed in the very industry you are bringing a claim against will have allegiances to the industry, as opposed to being a fair and impartial arbitrator.
Having been friends with many securities industry professionals over the years, I am always amazed when I talk about my cases, which nineteen years of experience tells me are excellent claims, and the people from the industry just dont understand or appreciate how the customers have been wronged. I have witnessed a clear bias by these individuals employed in the securities industry against not just legitimate claims, but exceptional ones.
If arbitration is to be mandatory, as it is now, it must be fair. As someone who has represented hundreds of FINRA and NASD arbitration claimants, I can without hesitation state that I dont believe that having a mandatory industry arbitrator is fair to public customers, and I ask the SEC to approve FINRAs proposed rule change on an expedited basis.