February 20, 2015
The purpose of this letter is to provide the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) with comments on the above referenced proposed rule change which was filed by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (FINRA) on February 5, 2015.
I am an attorney whose practice is exclusively devoted to the representation of individual and institutional investors in their disputes with the securities industry. Moreover, I am a former President and current Director Emeritus of the Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association (PIABA), am the former Chairman of FINRAs National Arbitration and Mediation Committee (NAMC), am the current Chairman of FINRAs Discovery Task Force Committee (DTFC) and am a former member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) Modernization Task Force.
It is my personal opinion that the proposed amendments to Rules 12214 and 12601 of the FINRA Code of Arbitration Procedure for Customer Disputes, which would require that parties give 10 calendar days advance notice before cancelling or postponing a hearing, or be assessed a higher late cancellation fee if such notice is not provided, is a fair, equitable and reasonable approach to compensate arbitrators for the lost time and/or opportunities that are associated with late postponements or cancellations by parties.
In view of the fact that the proposed rule changes will clearly protect investors and advance the public interest by improving FINRAs ability to retain qualified arbitrators willing to devote the time and effort necessary to serve on arbitration panels, they should be approved by the SEC on an expedited basis.
Thank you for providing me with the opportunity to submit my comments on this rule filing.