February 8, 2013
I have been representing public customers in NASD and FINRA arbitration proceedings for the past 25 years.
I write in support of the proposed rule, as it is my belief that anyone related to the brokerage industry and financial services community should be classified as an industry (non-public) arbitrator. It is unfair for a party to the arbitration to not know the true background of the arbitration panel. In court, litigants would be able to question jurors to learn about any potential biases and prejudices. In FINRA arbitrations, the parties have nothing to look at other than a one paragraph bio and prior arbitration awards that give little information into how the arbitrator feels about matters involving the industry, and any bias that may still exist. In light of the lack of information available to the parties, at the very least anyone who by education, training, or past or current work experiences is conected in any way to the brokerage industry should be classified as a non-public arbitrator. It insures the publics trust in a fair and open, non-bias tribunal one of which they are contractually obligated to have their disputes heard. Anything that advances the principals of fairness dictates full and complete disclosure of an arbitrators background.