Arbitrator Update

 

ArbitratorUpdate


 

August 2013 Issue

Table of Contents:

Arbitrator Profile: Steve Gomberg

Be on the Lookout!

Completing and Updating Your Arbitrator Profile

Staffing Changes

Statistics

Steve Gomberg

Steve Gomberg

Arbitrator Profile: Steve Gomberg

Steve Gomberg is a man of many interests. He loves the city and all that it has to offer—theatre, the arts, restaurants. But he equally loves wide open spaces, particularly Montana's "big sky country" where he can feed his passion for fly fishing.

That same diversity of interests is reflected in Steve's professional life. Steve began his career in commercial litigation in 1973, and he's worked primarily with financial institutions, banks and brokerage firms since then. He continues to focus on financial industry regulatory and enforcement work today often representing broker-dealers in industry conflicts and as a mediator for securities and employment disputes.

Although he's relatively new to NFA, Steve has a plethora of arbitration experience. He joined FINRA's roster in 1995 and the New York Stock Exchange's roster in 2002.

Steve initially became an arbitrator to gain a better understanding of the arbitration process and to increase his skills as a litigator. He says he has learned some very valuable lessons. For example, sometimes the facts attorneys believe are crucial to their cases hold little importance for the arbitrators. He says he's kept that tidbit in mind throughout his career as a practicing attorney.

Steve believes it's difficult for customers to litigate in court, which is why he feels arbitration programs are especially important. He enjoys serving as an arbitrator because it adds variety to his practice and because he always learns something from his fellow panelists. Steve feels that while you may endure some scheduling difficulties when you serve, the knowledge you gain in return is worth it.

As a Member arbitrator, Steve is happy to share his industry knowledge and expertise with his non-Member panelists. He indicated that while some claimant attorneys may think Member arbitrators are biased, he believes the exact opposite: Member arbitrators hold Member respondents to a high standard.

Steve likes to have his work at his fingertips, so technology is key for him. While he appreciates that parties can file their claims online at NFA, he'd like to see us do even more electronically and he strongly believes it would greatly improve the process if arbitrators had the ability to view case data online.

Another reason Steve is very pro-technology is its ability to allow him to work from practically anywhere in the world – which brings us back to the subject of fly fishing. Recently, Steve participated in a conference call from his car parked next to the Yellowstone River. With the dynamics of the river and surrounding landscapes calling him, he ended the call apologizing that he had to go—the fish were rising!

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Be on the Lookout!

The surreptitious recording of arbitration hearings seems to be a hot topic in some circles these days. It appears that parties in other forums may have recorded arbitration proceedings through the use of a laptop or smart phone without the consent of the other parties or the panel. While, to the best or our knowledge, this has not occurred in our forum, we wanted to make our arbitrators are aware of the issue.

As you know, NFA staff attends and records all hearing sessions, and the record we make is the official record of the hearing. NFA also provides parties with a copy of the hearing, at no cost, upon request. Therefore, there is no need for a party to separately record it. Parties are free, however, to have stenographers transcribe the hearing, as long as the panel has permitted them to do so.

In a separate instance, it appears technology may have been used to stream a live hearing to people outside the hearing room. In light of these stories, we ask that you keep your eyes open for parties who may be using technology inappropriately. If you notice that a party appears to be recording or streaming all or a portion of a hearing, you should advise them that they must refrain from doing so.

To assist in these efforts, we have amended the hearing script that is used to open a hearing. Additional language has been added reminding parties that they may not make an audio or video recording of the hearing or open the hearing up to others.

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Completing and Updating Your Arbitrator Profile

One of the unique aspects of NFA's Arbitration Program is that our arbitrator coordinator, Judy Jenks, appoints arbitrators to each case; they are not appointed through use of a random computerized selection process. Because Judy is tasked with appointing knowledgeable, well-balanced panels, it is very important that we have up-to-date information on file for each of you and we ask that you complete your profile as fully as possible and update it as necessary. As a reminder, you may access your profile on our website at http://www.nfa.futures.org/NFA-arbitration-mediation/arbitrator-profile.HTML and anyone in the Arbitration Department can provide you with your user name and password.

When you log in to the system, with the exception of the answers to the Regulatory Questions, the information you entered previously will be displayed. Since the information may not be current, we ask that you review each tab for accuracy at least once a year.

In order for us to appoint you to a case, we need to be able to contact you, so ensuring your contact information is accurate is extremely important. Do you have a new email address? Or one you'd prefer us to use? Have you moved or switched jobs? Do you now work from home? If the answer to any of those questions is yes, you will need to update your contact information. To edit, simply click the pencil icon and make the necessary changes. To add additional information, please click the "+" symbol. Once you've updated your information, be sure to check the primary indicator box next to your preferred method of contact.

As you know, when a customer claim is filed, the claimant indicates whether he wants a Member or non-Member panel to hear his case. NFA determines an arbitrator's classification based on information contained in the Classify Tab of the form. Since correct classification of arbitrators is essential, and because the answers to the questions can change frequently, we ask that you complete that tab each time you serve. Please answer the questions accurately, and include any additional information you think is relevant in the text box below the questions. Please keep in mind that just because you are a "public arbitrator" with FINRA does not mean you will be classified as a non-Member arbitrator with NFA since NFA uses different classification criteria than FINRA. Also, please be sure to date and save the information, even if you didn't make any changes, because that assures us that you've reviewed the data and it is accurate.

Finally, in addition to answering the questions in the Classify Tab, we ask that you complete Regulatory Questions tab each time you serve, so please be sure to complete that tab as well.

When you click "Submit to NFA", all of the information you entered will be saved to our internal system. You will then receive an acknowledgement by email and so will we. If you have any questions regarding the profile form, please contact Judy Jenks at 312-781-1431. As always, thank you for serving and for keeping your profiles up-to-date.

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Staffing Changes

NFA's Arbitration Department will undergo some significant personnel changes in July and August. Department Manager, Christine Roche, will be heading back to the Compliance Department, and while we are sad to see her go, we know Compliance will be happy to have her back. In light of Christine's departure, Senior Case Analyst, Heather Cook, will be stepping into the role of Manager once again.

In addition, Case Administrator II, Abby Zimmerman-Dockemeyer, and Senior Case Analyst, Jeremy Dockemeyer, are leaving the city for greener pastures in central Illinois, and we wish them well as they pursue their new endeavors.

Finally, we are pleased to announce that June Johnson-Conner has joined the department as a Case Administrator. June is a seasoned NFA employee who has previously worked in NFA's Registration Department as an Information Center Representative.

For those of you concerned about all these changes—have no fear—our arbitrator coordinator, Judy Jenks and our assistant, Deloris Lee, are sticking around!

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Statistics

The downward trend continues with respect to new case filings, which is why we haven't been in touch lately. Please visit NFA's website for statistical data on NFA arbitration filings.

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Complete Arbitrator Profile

Arbitrators can complete and update their profile online.

Complete or Update Profile

Arbitrator Training

NFA offers online training to help arbitrators meet their mandatory training requirements and understand their responsibilities as an NFA Arbitrator.

Arbitrator Training 

Search the Code of Arbitration or Member Arbitration Rules

You can search the Code of Arbitration and Member Arbitration Rules by section, Rule number and/or keywords.

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