September 19, 2005
Jonathan G. Katz, Secretary
Securities and Exchange Commission
100 F Street, N.E.
Washington, D.C. 20549-9303
Re: File No. SR-NASD-2005-094
Public Arbitrator Definition
I am writing to comment on the rule changes regarding arbitrator classification. Although these changes would present an improvement over the current rules, they do not appear to go far enough to truly provide a neutral forum.
I support the previous comments made by other PIABA members and posted on the site. While my practice involves representing public investors in securities arbitrations, I have also had past experience representing brokerage firms and individual brokers.
By having a non-public or industry arbitrator,investors appear to be starting out with one strike against them. If investors are to have confidence in the arbitration process, the panel should be comprised of all 100 neutral, independent, and objective arbitrators. The industry arbitrator often has more influence over the other panelists and is generally viewed to be in a position to persuade the others regarding his or her views.
Finally, with respect to the proposed rule revisions of the definition of public arbitrator, I concur with the recommendations of others that the definition should exclude any person who is an attorney, accountant, or other
professional whose firm has represented industry members within the past five years.
I hope that you will consider this insight. If you have any questions or require any additional information, please contact me.