August 31, 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 August 18, 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 the FINRA Code so as to provide that an attorney arbitrator would be eligible for the chairperson roster if he or she completes chairperson training and serves as an arbitrator through award on at least one arbitration, instead of two arbitrations, administered by a self-regulatory organization (SRO) in which hearings were held.
It is my opinion that the proposed amendments, which would purportedly result in an approximate 30 percent increase in the number of arbitrators who would potentially be eligible to serve as public chairpersons once they complete the chairperson training program, would be a fair, equitable and reasonable approach that would facilitate the increased appointment of local chairpersons to arbitration panels and, at the same time, would reduce the necessity for the appointment of out-of-state chairpersons. This would clearly promote the fairness and efficiency of the participant experience in the FINRA arbitration forum and should, accordingly, 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.