Arbitration: Rule G-35
Amendment to Filing
The Board has filed an amendment to its File No. SR-MSRB-97-4 relating to its Arbitration Code (rule G-35). The amendment will make publicly available the names of arbitrators on all customer awards rendered after May 10, 1989. The amendment is intended to conform this aspect of the Board's code to the arbitration codes of other self-regulatory organizations.
On May 22, 1997, the Board filed with the Commission a proposed amendment to
rule G-35, the Board's Arbitration Code, to create two new sections to the rule: new Section 37 provides that the Board will not accept any new arbitration claims filed on or after January 1, 1998; and new Section 38 provides that, as of January 1, 1998, every bank dealer (as defined in Board rule D-8) shall be subject to the Code of Arbitration Procedure of the National Association of Securities Dealers, Inc. ("NASD") for every claim, dispute or controversy arising out of or in connection with the municipal securities activities of the bank dealer acting in its capacity as such. Section 38 further provides that bank dealers shall abide by the NASD's Code just as if they were "members" of the NASD for purposes of arbitration. (1)
In response to its request for public comment on the Board's proposed amendment to rule G-35, the Commission received one comment letter from an individual whose company collects data on arbitration awards and stores the information in a database which it makes available to subscribers and others. The commentator noted that most of the information comes from awards issued subsequent to May 10, 1989. He also noted that in 1993, the NASD began making arbitrators' names available to the public, and retroactively supplied the names of arbitrators for its customer-related awards rendered after May 10, 1989. The commentator suggested that the Board similarly disclose the names of arbitrators on all customer-related awards rendered after May 10, 1989.
The Board has reviewed the commentator's suggestion and has determined to amend its arbitration code to make publicly available the names of arbitrators for all customer awards rendered after May 10, 1989. The Board believes that, upon SEC approval of its filing, this amendment will facilitate the NASD's administration of those arbitration claims received after January 1, 1998 involving the municipal securities activities of brokers, dealers and municipal securities dealers where an arbitrator appointed to such a case previously served as an aribtrator in the Board's program but has never served as an NASD arbitrator.
In its filing, the Board stated that its declining caseload makes it difficult to justify the cost of continuing to operate its arbitration program and, therefore, the Board has determined that, effective January 1, 1998, it will no longer accept any new claims filed with its arbitration program. The Board stated that it will continue to operate its program in order to administer its current, open cases and any new claims received prior to January 1, 1998, but will discontinue its arbitration program when all such cases have been closed.
November 13, 1997
1. File No. SR-MSRB-97-4. See also MSRB Reports, Vol. 17, No. 2 (June 1997) at 19-20.
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