Archive for March 20th, 2012

FINRA arbitration abuse by the numbers

| March 20, 2012 | 1 Reply
FINRA arbitration abuse by the numbers

Dan Solin offers a disturbing inside view of FINRA arbitration. Given that it is binding, mandatory pre-dispute arbitration controlled by the industry being sued, it is not surprising that the table is tilted dramatically in favor of the financial industries and brokers. Here’s an excerpt from Solin’s article:

If you have an account with a retail broker, or are employed by one, you signed an agreement requiring you to submit all disputes to mandatory arbitration administered by FINRA. The idea of requiring investors and employees to arbitrate disputes before a tribunal appointed by the very industry being sued is deeply troubling. Because it deprives American citizens of their constitutional rights to access to the courtroom and trial by a jury of their peers, it has neither the appearance nor the reality of impartiality. Among others, Itestified before Congress and urged it to enact legislation prohibiting mandatory arbitration clauses as being fundamentally unfair.

A study I co-authored of more than 14,000 FINRA arbitration awards over a ten-year period found that investors with significant claims suing major brokerage firms could expect to recover only 12 percent of the amount claimed. It is not surprising that many investors required to submit to this process perceive it to be biased against them.

Note the $60,000 attorney fee award assessed against the man filing the arbitration claim described by Solin. Can you imagine many sane people exposing themselves to that sort of risk, especially when it is a rare court that would step in to reverse such an injustice? That’s what happened in the case Solin describes, but you’ll need to look long and hard to find other cases where a court disturbs a FINRA arbitrator’s decision.

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Women of the U.S. unite!

| March 20, 2012 | 4 Replies
Women of the U.S. unite!

Soraya Chemaly writes “10 Reasons the Rest of the World Thinks the U.S. Is Nuts” on HuffPo. In response to the epidemic of New Dark Ages state bills (and some candidates for POTUSA…), she says:

I am a woman and I have these human rights:

The right to life.
The right to privacy.
The right to freedom.
The right to bodily integrity.
The right to decide when and how I reproduce.

I wonder…if willing women chose to run on this platform alone, would they unseat some of these patriarchal inquisitors? Bears considering. Thanks to Limbaugh and the dangerous number of state-sponsored “rape bills”, the indignation is not inconsiderable. Whether that can be turned into action remains to be seen

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What can an atheist say to a grieving friend?

| March 20, 2012 | Reply
What can an atheist say to a grieving friend?

What can an atheist say to a friend who is grieving the death of a loved one? Believers have a standard repertoire: “He’s with God now.” “I’ll pray for you.” “She’s in heaven now.”

As I’ve written before, I don’t really have a standard phrase to utter in those situations, but that’s probably for the best. I certainly don’t want to sound like a greeting card.

Greta Christina recently raised this same issue. She and her readers compiled a list of approaches for people who don’t believe in God. Her extensive list includes the following:

1. “I’m so sorry.”

2. “I remember when… /My life is so much better because of…”

3. “What can I do to help?”

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