October 9, 2008
The purpose of this letter is to provide the Securities and Exchange Commission with comments on the above referenced proposed rule change which was filed by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (FINRA) on September 18, 2008.
I am an attorney whose practice is exclusively devoted to the representation of public investors in their disputes with the securities industry. Moreover, I am the immediate-past President and a current member of the Board of Directors of the Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association (PIABA).
Subject to consideration of the comments set forth below, it is my personal opinion that the proposed rule change, which would increase the amount in controversy that would be decided by a single public arbitrator to the threshold of $100,000.00, would not only enhance the integrity and efficiency of the entire arbitration process, but would also be economically beneficial for public investors.
The comments that I would submit, for the consideration of the staff of the Commission in connection with this proposed rule change, are as follows:
First, in view of the current economic climate, I believe that the amount of the monetary threshold for a single public arbitrator should be even further increased to $250,000.00.
Second, the proposed rule change does not mention the impact that this change would have on the filing fees that investors are required to pay when their arbitration claims are initially filed. Clearly, in view of the representations that were made by FINRA in the initial rule filing (approval of the rule change would increase efficiencies and decrease costs for parties and FINRA, it should be expected that the stated economic benefits that would inure to the benefit of FINRA would be passed through to public investors in terms of reduced filing fees for claims that would be decided by single public arbitrators.
In summary, it is my personal opinion that the proposed rule change should be modified as I have suggested and then approved, on an accelerated basis, without any further delay.