July 27, 2007
This rule proposal is better than nothing, but it does not go far enough in limiting the potential bias of public arbitrators. The public should be insured of a system which is free of bias and the appearance of bias.
I have been representing public customers in NASD arbitrations since 1991. My clients are already limited in where they can seek justice, not being able to file in court. Given the public's limited choices, especially with the NASD/NYSE merger, public arbitrators should not obtain any of their income from the securities industry. We already have one person on the panel who is likely earning his entire income from the securities industry. Let me at least be able to tell my clients that the other two arbitrators have no connection to the industry.
There are of course policing issues with a $50,000 limit on income. Why not just eliminate people from the public arbitration pool who earn anything from the industry?
Please pass the rule. But please eliminate any acceptable amount of earnings for public arbitrators from the securities industry. It is the fair thing to do.