September 16, 2005
I support any rule that further removes public arbitrators with direct or indirect connections to the financial industry, as a step in the right direction. I further would favor the elimination of the industry arbitrator as a further step in the right direction, as the purpose of such an arbitrator in this time of readily available expert witnesses, can only be to influence the public arbitrators in favor of the industry. However, any public arbitrator who is on a list that can be struck by the industry party is indirectly connected to the industry, as the public arbitrator knows the industry can strike any arbitrator who has ruled for a customer in the past. This provides an economic incentive for the public arbitrator to not fully compensate deserving customers, and favors the industry as the industry will be involved in more future arbitrations than a customer or customers attorney. At the very least, the industry should not be able to strike public arbitrators. The best appraoch would be to not have lists, and allow each party to choose an arbitrator with the third chosen by the two arbitrators to act as the chair. Anything less will always be unfair to customers and will continue to receive criticism.