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Karen Fischer Petitions for FINRA Board Seat

Posted by Larry Doyle on May 18, 2010 5:45 AM |

A democratic process requires fair, open, and robust interaction between and among elected individuals. That interaction will only occur if the individuals themselves are representative of a wide constituency. To that end, I am happy to post the following petition from Karen Z. Fischer, who is running for a seat on the FINRA Board of Governors. I am not endorsing Karen’s candidacy per se, but I am very much endorsing a process which will promote real transparency and integrity. To that end, I welcome sharing Ms. Fischer’s letter:

Dear FINRA Executive Representatives,

I am writing to you to ask for your support in getting my name listed as one of the three candidates you are entitled to vote for as part of the ballot to represent you on the Board of Governors. I would like to run for the three (3) year term. I have recently completed my three year term as part of the District 7 Conduct Committee. Rest assured, I did bring to the committee meetings issues concerning the small firm population that has arisen due to the consolidation of NASD and the NYSE. I had no problems being very verbal and was able to get my points across. Unfortunately, I do not believe that on the district level we make that much impact, Being a member of the Board of Governors would allow me to continue trying to make a difference,

We need to make doing business for our members easier, not harder, especially during this very competitive time where businesses are counting on every penny they can get.  The current regulatory body has missed horrendous issues, but has no trouble fining a small firm that does not handle cash or securities for AML procedures. We need to have regulation that is responsive to small firm issues and not try to fit us into rules that do not pertain to us. One size fits all does not work.

I have watched first hand as regulation after regulation has forced small firms out of business and have driven up the cost of maintaining a Broker Dealer. I not only listen to your concerns, I am directly involved in those concerns. As a Financial and Operations Principal and Compliance Principal for a number of small firms, I deal with regulation on a day to day basis. I am all for regulation. We need to clean up the industry and turn the public opinion around. We need to protect ourselves against another Bernie Madoff or Stanford, but we need to do it in the right manner. We need to get representation on the board that has no ties to the “good old boys club.” We need change. We need regulators to focus on the real issues, and spend less time on administrative issues that have no bearing on the public. We need to be able to work with our regulators like a team for the same goal, an ethical and honest indust ry. We need to have the best representation afforded to us to be able to achieve these goals. We need representatives that are willing to address your concerns without being influenced by others on the board.  The only way this can be achieved is by your vote. Whomever you decide to support, your vote is your voice. Use it and use it loudly.

Getting my name on the ballot is only the first step to good small firm representation.  I have to win the position to make a difference.

Ms. Karen Fischer Biography:

I am a graduate accountant from Long Island University in Brooklyn, NY and have been in practice for forty years. I moved to Florida in 1983. I have been in this industry since 1988. I have the series 7, 27, 79 and series 24 licenses. I am registered as a Financial and Operations Principal and Compliance Officer for one Broker Dealer, Financial Principal for three other Broker Dealers, and an outside acco untant and compliance consultant for five other B/D’s. My BD’s are located all over the east coast, so I am familiar with many districts and state regulators.  I am also a FINRA Industry Arbitrator and a State of Florida Certified Mediator. I help firms through the arduous start-up process, AML audits, .and any other Regulatory Consulting requests. As part of my compliance responsibilities, I update supervisory manuals. I watch closely for all the new notifications on the consolidated rule changes. I comment on issues I feel need my input. If I were on the Board, my comments would be more effective and would be representative of your interests.

My positions directly expose me to regulation, regulators and securities attorneys. I have experience working with the FINRA, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the IRS, and the FBI. As an arbitrator, I have been involved in issues that are vital to the survival of a firm, from both sides of the spectrum.  Being an arbitrator exposes me first hand to compliance issues a book or classroom could never touch on.

In order for me to be nominated and my name placed on the ballot I need at least ten percent (10%) of the eligible members signed petitions returned to FINRA immediately. Mary Schapiro’s gift to us is limiting our voice to 3 votes, and many of the choices are hand picked by FINRA. If you want to take back your election process, it is necessary to complete these petitions and make a statement. You do not want to be told who to vote for; you want to choose your own candidates.

Please sign the enclosed petition and either fax it to (202) 728-8075,

Thanks you in advance for your support. Together we can make change happen.

Karen Z Fischer

In the interest of promoting a stronger pursuit of truth, transparency and integrity within our financial regulatory system, I am happy to provide the Sense on Cents forum for Ms. Fischer’s petition. To those involved in this election process, I hope the issues Karen raises will cause you to pause and reflect on how the self-regulatory system for our financial industry has worked in the past and might work in the future.


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