July 14, 2016
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 July 1, 2016.
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) the former Chairman of FINRAs National Arbitration and Mediation Committee (NAMC) and a current public member of the NAMC the former Chairman of FINRAs Discovery Task Force Committee (DTFC) and a former member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) Modernization Task Force.
It is my understanding that the proposed amendments would amend FINRA Rule 12403 of the Code of Arbitration Procedure for Customer Disputes (FINRA Code) concerning customer cases with three arbitrators so as to increase the number of public arbitrators on the list that FINRA sends to parties during the arbitration panel selection process, from 10 arbitrators to 15 arbitrators, and which would also increase the number of strikes that parties may make to the public list, from four to six strikes, to keep the proportion of strikes the same under the amended rule as it is under the current rule.
It is my opinion that the proposed amendments, which would provide parties with a greater choice in the arbitrator selection process and would clearly increase the likelihood that the arbitrators preferred by the parties would be appointed to the arbitration panel that would decide their controversy, is a fair, equitable and reasonable approach and 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.