March 21, 2008
Please accept this as my support for the proposed rule change(s).
By way of background, I have been representing public investors in disputes with the securities industry since 1988. I am a former President of the Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association and a former member of FINRA's National Arbitration and Mediation Committee, in which capacity I served as a member of its Neutral Roster Subcommittee and Chair of its Rules and Procedures Subcommittee.
For many years, the securities industry has engaged in a systematic effort to convert securities arbitration to an amalgam of what it perceives as the best aspects of litigation (defensive motions practice) while at the same time avoiding what the industry views as the most threatening aspect of litigation: runaway juries. The industry's efforts in this regard have been well documented by FINRA.
Lamentably, the industry has been largely successful in its efforts thus far, so much so that present day SRO arbitration hardly resembles the relatively efficient and cost-effective method of EQUITABLE dispute resolution it is intended to be.
I believe the proposed rule, while imperfect, makes significant strides toward stemming the tide of the securities industry's attempts to superimpose traditional litigation-style motion practice on the arbitration process and developing a standard that recognizes the interests of both sides and the fundamental underlying principles of arbitration as a dispute resolution mechanism.
I support the proposed rule and urge the SEC to adopt it.