February 13, 2018
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 January 29, 2018.
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 Rules 12600 and 12800 of the Code of Arbitration Procedure for Customer Disputes (Customer Code) and 13600 and 13800 of the Code of Arbitration Procedure for Industry Disputes (Industry Code) so as to amend the hearing provisions to provide an additional hearing option for parties in arbitration with claims of $50,000 or less, excluding interest and expenses.
It is my opinion that the proposed amendments, which would provide an additional, intermediate form of adjudication that would afford investors with an opportunity to argue their cases before an arbitrator in a shorter, limited telephonic hearing format, would be a fair, equitable and reasonable approach that would facilitate the fairness and efficiency of the investor participant experience in the FINRA arbitration forum, would provide investors with an additional choice for the resolution of their disputes 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.