December 1, 2010
I write in support of the proposed Rule Change eliminating the mandatory industry arbitrator from panels involving customer disputes.
For the past decade, I have represented parties in securities arbitrations. I am a current member of the Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association (PIABA) and I currently represent individual investors in arbitration. I formerly represented member firms, broker-dealers and registered representatives.
This rule change is long overdue. This rule change will significantly improve the arbitration process, which currently governs a substantial majority of claims that investors may have against their financial professionals. Although the proposed rule change does not address many of the problems of the arbitration forum, it is a big step in the right direction. The proposed rule change will help provide investors with the fundamental fairness that every investor deserves when they are required to arbitrate their disputes.
I would, accordingly, urge the Commission to approve the proposed rule change on an expedited basis.
My support for the proposed rule change should in no way be interpreted as endorsing the present rule requiring mandatory arbitration. Investor choice is essential to develop a fundamentally fair forum. There is still much work to do.
Very truly yours,