August 12, 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 27, 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 substance of the proposed amendments would amend the FINRA Code so as to require all parties, except customers who are not represented by an attorney or other person, to use the FINRA Office of Dispute Resolutions Party Portal (Party Portal) to file initial statements of claim and to file and serve pleadings and other documents on FINRA or any other party.
It is my opinion that the proposed amendments would be a fair, equitable and reasonable approach that would facilitate interactions among parties, arbitrators, mediators, and FINRA staff on arbitration case-related matters and, at the same time, it would further promote the efficiency of the participant experience in the FINRA arbitration forum. These proposed amendments 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.