December 2, 2010
As an attorney who has litigated securities claims filed both in the courts and in arbitration, I strongly support the proposed rule as a first step in correcting the fundamentally flawed securities industry arbitration process. Until the entire system is revised to give the investor the right to chose the forum in which to seek relief (court or arbitration), the proposed rule will at least make the arbitration process less biased.
For years, the cards have been stacked against the consumer before the case even begins, due the FINRA requirement that one of the three arbitrators deciding the case must be a member (or former member) of the very industry about which the consumer is complaining.
Several of our clients have had the opportunity to participate in the pilot program that allows cases to be decided by arbitrators who are free of built-in conflicts of interest caused by current or past employment in the industry. If securities industry arbitration is to have any chance of producing fair results, worthy of public confidence in the system, all investors must have the same opportunity to have their cases decided by a panel that is not tainted by such an obvious, and easily remedied, source of bias.