July 24, 2017
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 10, 2017.
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 the current Chairman of FINRAs National Arbitration and Mediation Committee (NAMC) and a public member of the NAMC the former Chairman of FINRAs Discovery Task Force Committee (DTFC) a former member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) Modernization Task Force and a former President and current Director Emeritus of the Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association (PIABA).
It is my understanding that the proposed amendments would amend FINRA Rule 12100 of the Code of Arbitration Procedure for Customer Disputes (Customer Code) and FINRA Rule 13100 of the Code of Arbitration Procedure for Industry Disputes (Industry Code) so as to allow FINRA to appoint individuals to the non-public arbitrator roster if they meet FINRAs general arbitrator qualification criteria, but cannot be classified as public arbitrators.
It is my opinion that the proposed amendments, which would expand the pool of candidates eligible to serve as non-public arbitrators, simplify the non-public arbitrator definition, and provide greater choice for parties during the panel selection process, would be a fair, equitable and reasonable approach that would facilitate 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.