March 24, 2008
I am an attorney having represented investors in Court and SRO arbitration for over 28 years. FINRA's mandate is to propose rules that are designed to prevent fraudulent and manipulative practices, promote just and equitable principles of trade, and to protect investors and the public interest.
Recent FINRA statistics reflect the changing nature of customer claims. The number of customer claims filed is a fraction of the cases pending only five years ago. Many customer claims are Retirement Claims involving IRA's. Variable Annuities and other products, and often, are related to "Distribution" of lifetime assets, as opposed to the "Accumulation" of assets during a customer's working life.
While the proposed rules address the proliferation of unnecessary Motions to Dismiss, the nature of Distribution Retirement Claims, where, for example, withdrawals from Variable Annuities, or IRA's or the sale of new "Lifetime Benefit" IRA's which require a measurement of the highest 5 years of earnings before a "guaranteed" payout period begins customers may not take action for many years after the purchase date of the product or strategy purchased from the financial advisor or firm.
Arbitrators are and used to be called "Agents of Fairness," and the quote in the front of the Arbitrator's Manual should guide any attempts by Respondents to deny public customers the hearing they contracted for with FINRA...
"Equity is justice in that it goes beyond the written law...it is equitable to prefer arbitration to the law court."
Howard Rosenfield, Esq.