Arbitrator Update

 

ArbitratorUpdate


 

February 2014 Issue

Table of Contents:

Arbitrator Profile: Connie Burnet

Coming Soon

Securities Arbitration and Mediation Hot Topics 2014

Statistics

Connie Burnet

Connie Burnet (with Irwin)

Arbitrator Profile: Connie Burnet

Connie Burnet is a "southsider." If you are from Chicago, you understand the impact of that statement. It means you—like Connie—grew up in parishes—not neighborhoods; it means you drink pop—not soda; it means you played or watched 16-inch softball; and it means that you are probably a diehard White Sox fan.

In 1974, Connie got a summer job as a runner at the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) and never looked back. At that time, it was a male-dominated environment and Connie was the first female trade-checker to work on the trading floor at the CBOT. Connie says "it was an excellent place to work if you were quick, good with numbers and could keep your wits about you." Connie has never traded, nor did she ever want to and, instead, has thoroughly enjoyed working in the operations and compliance support side of the business.

Connie spent several years on the floor at the CBOT. She worked for a grain firm, local traders and other retail and commercial firms. In 1996, she made her way over to the Chicago Mercantile Exchange where she worked in market regulation as an investigator. She spent 12 years working on some very complex cases, some of which were taken up by the CFTC or the FBI. She left market regulation in 2008 to start her current firm, CX Capital Markets (CX), a non-clearing FCM. In 2013, CX merged into X-Change Financial Access (XFA), another firm with the same ownership as CX. Connie currently works for the FCM division of XFA and also does compliance consulting for NFA Member firms and CFTC registrants.

Connie has been an NFA arbitrator since 1986. In 2005, she took the required courses at Northwestern University to obtain a certificate in mediation and dispute resolution, at which time she completed a final exam paper on NFA's arbitration program. With all deference to exchange-sponsored arbitration programs, Connie thinks that NFA's arbitration program is a "benchmark in the industry." Connie adds that "the professionalism and effectiveness of the NFA arbitration program is outstanding," and the arbitration hearings in which she has participated have been "impressive in the preparation, presentation and qualification of the panelists."

Connie's professional experience as an operations manager and balancer means that she has a natural tendency to want to see that "discrepancies are resolved" and "things fall into place, or settle." Connie believes that the dispute resolution process achieves that end, and allows the parties to "have their say, present their cases and know that the evidence has been not only heard, but understood by the panelists." According to Connie, this is of enormous value.

Over the past few decades, Connie has noticed far-reaching changes in the futures industry—many of which she believes are attributable to the rise of electronic trading. Connie contends that the many different products, ways to trade, opportunities to trade, and trading venues and strategies have translated into an increase in disagreements and disputes, which makes arbitration all the more important. Connie believes these changes make it imperative that claimants and respondents have matters heard by panels of people who understand the industry—"something one might not find easily on a jury or in a small-claims court."

Outside of the futures industry, Connie is an active volunteer in the Illinois Sheltie Rescue for Shetland Sheepdogs, where she spends her time helping dogs that need homes. Connie has rescued a border collie and a finnish lapphund, both of which participate in agility and scent detection sports. In addition, she provides a home for several senior shelties. In Connie's words, she's "gone to the dogs!"

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Coming Soon

In late spring, NFA will launch its newest web-based training program, entitled Requests for Pre-Hearing Decisions. This program will focus on pre-hearing requests and the most commonly filed motions at NFA. Like NFA's previous web-based training programs, this module also will be an interactive training opportunity for NFA arbitrators. As a reminder, NFA arbitrators are required to demonstrate proficiency in arbitration principles and procedures at least once every three years. Reviewing the program and completing the quiz at the end is one way to satisfy NFA's mandatory training requirement.

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Securities Arbitration and Mediation Hot Topics 2014

If you live on the East Coast or will be visiting New York City in June, another way to satisfy NFA's mandatory training requirement is to attend the New York City Bar Association's annual Securities Arbitration and Mediation Hot Topics 2014 conference. The program will be held on June 11, 2014, from 9 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. EST. The Securities Arbitration and Mediation Hot Topics 2014 conference features a premier faculty of experienced practitioners gathered to examine recent developments in the area of securities arbitration and mediation. In addition to satisfying NFA's mandatory training requirement, attendees who are attorneys may also earn CLE credit. You may contact NFA's Arbitration department for more information about the program. In addition, NFA will provide more details to our New York area arbitrators as the program gets closer.

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Statistics

During the last few calendar years, the number of arbitration claims filed at NFA has decreased. With the exception of 2008 and 2009 when NFA received more than 200 claims each year, over the past decade, the number of claims filed each year ranged from 142 to 174 claims. NFA received 88 claims in 2011, 81 in 2012 and during the most recent calendar year, NFA received an all-time low 48 claims. Please visit NFA's website for statistical data on NFA arbitration filings.

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