CHICAGO ATTORNEY TAKES OVER REINS OF INVESTOR LAWYER ASSOCIATION
Andrew Stoltmann Is New President of Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association; Outlines Far-Reaching Agenda for Reforming FINRA Arbitration Process, CRD Expungement
WASHINGTON, D.C. AND CHICAGO (October 23, 2017) – The Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association (PIABA) announced today that Andrew Stoltmann, attorney and investor advocate, is the new president of the association.
Top priorities on Stoltmann’s agenda for 2017-2018 include:
- Establishing an unpaid arbitration award pool for investors who go through the FINRA arbitration process and don't collect. A 2016 PIABA study found that 25 percent of the awards to investors issued in 2013 went unpaid. FINRA has not made substantive progress implementing any of the possible solutions PIABA outlined and millions of dollars go unpaid to investors every year.
- Preventing the SEC from watering down the fiduciary duty rule for investors. The Department of Labor fiduciary duty rule is in peril of being weakened or gutted and this is an unacceptable outcome given the retirement crisis facing millions of investors. Protecting the current rule is of utmost importance.
- Solving the CRD expungement issue. Prior to hiring a broker, FINRA encourages investors to use BrokerCheck to try to learn about a broker’s background. Unfortunately, brokers whose misconduct forms the basis of other investors’ FINRA arbitration claims often have publicly available disclosures about their misconduct removed from their background in the CRD database. The expungements then give the appearance that those brokers have a "clean" history, when in fact they may have dozens of customer complaints.
- Expanding the pool of FINRA arbitrators by allowing more people to be arbitrators. Right now, FINRA restrictively only allows people with five years of relevant work experience and two years of college attendance to become FINRA arbitrators. This requirement prevents millions of qualified people from being arbitrators, thereby making it more difficult for investors to have a true "jury of their peers" deciding their case.
- Banning non-attorney representation at FINRA. Unfortunately, FINRA's Arbitration Code allows for non-attorneys to argue cases on behalf of investors. A simple code change by FINRA could preclude these unqualified entities from operating in its forum and often taking advantage of investors a second time.
- Ensuring FINRA is accountable as a self regulatory organization. FINRA operates in a somewhat unique position of a private entity which is functionally a governmental regulator. There must be adequate oversight to ensure FINRA does not fail in its delegated duties and investors have confidence in its ability to fully and fairly fulfill its obligations.
Andrew Stoltmann has an extensive legal background. He has handled over one thousand securities arbitration claims against brokerages, including such leading firm as Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo, LPL and UBS. In addition to founding a successful Chicago-based practice, Stoltmann Law Offices P.C., Stoltmann is an adjunct securities law professor at Northwestern University School of Law. He is the author of “Waging War On Wall Street,” which was published on October 1, 2017 by Alpine Press. He has appeared as a guest providing legal opinions, commentary and analysis on CNN, CNBC, FOX, CBS, NBC and Bloomberg TV.
Outgoing PIABA President and Ohio attorney Marnie Lambert said: “As I pass the torch to Andrew Stoltmann, I look forward to seeing what inroads he will make on issues of paramount importance to the investing public. During my term as president, Andrew’s input on important issues affecting investors confirmed my belief that he will do an outstanding job as the new president. I am confident that Andrew will continue the charge of past presidents who have helped make the organization an invaluable resource to investors who too-often have no voice on Wall Street. Under Andrew’s leadership, PIABA will continue to keep FINRA accountable in fulfilling its mission of ‘providing investor protection and promoting market integrity.’ His 18 years of successful arbitration and litigation experience, as well as his enthusiasm for helping the victims of investment fraud, make him the perfect person for the job."
Andrew Stoltmann said: “I take over the leadership role at PIABA with great pride, having served as a board member and as executive vice president. I’m proud to lead the organization and continue the important work protecting and advocating for U.S. investors. I look forward to continuing our work to improve the arbitration process to ensure that many of the outstanding issues and concerns at FINRA are rectified.”
PIABA also announced that Christine Lazaro will be the Executive Vice President / President Elect. Lazaro is the Director of the Securities Arbitration Clinic at St. John's University School of Law. PIABA also welcomes its new Board members: Benjamin Edwards, Thomas Mauriello, Timothy O'Connor, and Darlene Pasieczny, and returning Board member Marnie Lambert.
The Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association is an international, not-for-profit, voluntary bar association of lawyers who represent claimants in securities and commodities arbitration proceedings and securities litigation. The mission of PIABA is to promote the interests of the public investor in securities and commodities arbitration, by seeking to protect such investors from abuses in the arbitration process, by seeking to make securities arbitration as just and fair as systemically possible and by educating investors concerning their rights. For more information, go to http://www.piaba.org.
CONTACT: Patrick Mitchell, (703) 276-3266 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Andrew Stoltmann is available for media interviews to help update reporters about the current problems many attorneys experience with the investor arbitration process, and how PIABA is dedicated to finding and researching the best possible solutions for investors.