February 7, 2013
I am an attorney who, for the last 25 years, has represented many investors in disputes with the securities industry. I am a Director of the Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association (PIABA). The purpose of this letter is to provie 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 January 4, 2013.
The proposed revision to the code removing individuals who are associated with Hedge Funds and Mutual Funds from the public pool should be approved by the Commission as soon as possible. The public pool of arbitrators should be limited to arbitrators that are truly from the public, and should not come from the very industry they are asked to judge in arbitration. The fox should never be allowed to guard the henhouse.
I do object to that portion of the proposed revisions which would impose a two year period of time to pass before industry related individuals could become public arbitrators. That proposal is plainly misguided. While it is impossible to judge the potential bias that years in the industry might create in the mind of an arbitrator, to allow such a person to be part of the public pool at minimum creates the appearance of impropriety.
Public should mean public, and that part of the overall pool should not include any former industry members at all. Thus, that portion of the proposal should be rejected, or amended to state that all public arbitrators should have no prior ties to the finanical industry.
Investors across America have lost faith in our arbitration and regulatory system because it is still not not reasonably designed to be fair to the average Amercian investor. Former financial industry employees should always remain in the "industry" pool, and should never be allowed in the public pool.
Thank you for providing me with the opportunity to submit comments on this rule filing