Lazaro Becomes Executive Vice President/President-Elect of PIABA and Speaks on Securities Arbitration Issues

This past week, Professor Lazaro became the Executive Vice President/President-elect of the Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association (PIABA) at its annual meeting.  Professor Lazaro has served on the Board of Directors of PIABA for the past two years, and has chaired several committees over the past nine years as a member of the association.  Professor Lazaro will serve one year as vice president, followed by one year as president of PIABA. Christine Lazaro

Professor Lazaro also spoke on two panels at PIABA’s annual meeting.  Professor Lazaro spoke on the panel entitled, “The DOL’s Fiduciary Rule: How it Compares to (and Impacts) Existing Standards for Broker-Dealers and Investment Advisers,” along with Professor Mercer E. Bullard of the University of Mississippi School of Law and Professor Teresa J. Verges of the University of Miami School of Law.  The panel discussed the recent Department of Labor fiduciary duty rule and how it differs from other fiduciary standards governing financial advisors.  Professor Lazaro also spoke on the panel entitled, “Regulatory Changes to the Investment Advice Industry,” with Professor Benjamin Edwards of the UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law.  That panel discussed recent regulatory updates, including the DOL’s fiduciary duty rule, recent SEC guidance on Initial Coin Offerings, as well as other FINRA and SEC rule changes.

Additionally, Professor Lazaro was recently quoted in news articles on securities arbitration issues. Professor Lazaro was quoted in James Thorne’s article, “FINRA diversifies arbitrator pool, with a long road ahead,” on OnWallStreet.com. Professor Lazaro discussed concerns about the lack of diversity in the FINRA arbitration pool:

When arbitrators don’t resemble claimants or society at large, the system appears to have a structural bias, critics contend.

“It undermines customer confidence in the process,” says Christine Lazaro, vice president-elect of PIABA and director of the Securities Arbitration Clinic at St. John’s University School of Law.

The diversity of the FINRA arbitration pool was a topic discussed at the PIABA annual meeting.  FINRA has been making efforts to further diversify its pool of arbitrators.

Professor Lazaro was also quoted in Michael Thrasher’s article, “Office of Management and Budget Approves DOL Fiduciary Rule Delay,” on WealthManagement.com.  The DOL recently submitted a proposal to the Office of Management and Budget, requesting an additional 18 month delay of implementation of the exemptions associated with the DOL’s Fiduciary Rule.  Certain aspects of the exemptions accompanying the Rule had already been delayed from April 2017 to January 2018.  Professor Lazaro commented on the impact of a further delay:

Christine Lazaro, an associate professor at St. John’s University School of Law, is a proponent of the fiduciary rule and was disappointed the delay was approved.

“Investors will continue to be harmed by conflicted advice, especially if there is no meaningful way to enforce the impartial conduct standards,” Lazaro said. “The DOL has already demonstrated that the costs of compliance are outweighed by the costs associated with delay.”

Professor Lazaro further discussed this topic on both of the PIABA annual meeting panels.

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