From: James V. Weixel, Jr.
For the past four years, I have been a member of the Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association and have been substantially involved in the representation of investors in securities arbitration claims. I write regarding NASD's request for expedited approval of the new Code of Arbitration Procedure applicable to customer claims ("the Customer Code).
NASD has requested that the SEC approve the new Customer Code, with recent amendments to its rule filing, without public comment. I respectfully request that the Commission deny NASD's request and that a new public comment period be required. The most recent rule filing for the new Customer Code is 350 pages long, including extensive commentary on the proposed changes to the rules, and contains a number of amendments from previous versions of the rule filing. It effects a complete revamping of the Code of Arbitration Procedure, which, as the Commission knows, is the procedural regime under which all NASD investor arbitrations are conducted. That system is the largest arbitration forum available to investors, who are unable to press their claims in courts that have more established and consistent procedures for the processing of lawsuits. It is essential that the new Customer Code, and any changes, be open for comment by the public investors who will be most affected by these changes.
A change of this magnitude must not be approved without the public being given the opportunity to comment on all of the rules, whether in their original form or as amended. I urge the Commission to require a public comment period before the new Customer Code is approved.