A Message From STEPHEN KOHN Candidate for 2016 FINRA Small Firm Governor

July 11, 2016

A personal message from Bill Singer, Publisher of the BrokeAndBroker.com Blog. 

I recently posted "Support ROBERT MUH For FINRA Small Firm Governor" (BrokeAndBroker.com Blog, July 5, 2016), in which I set out the case for a more meaningful and representative role for the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority ("FINRA") small firm community; urged the small firm membership to support qualified, sincere, and committed candidates for elective office at the self-regulatory authority; and expressed my support for Robert Muh's election as 2016 FINRA Small Firm Governor

In response to the July 5th article, I received an email from another candidate, Robert Keenan, who is seeking re-election as a 2016 FINRA Small Firm Governor. Please read "A Message From ROBERT KEENAN,Candidate For FINRA Small Firm Governor" (BrokeAndBroker.com BlogJuly 8, 2016).

Also in response to the July 5th article, I received an email from another candidate, Stephen Kohn, who is seeking election as a 2016 FINRA Small Firm Governor. As was the case with Robert Keenan, Stephen Kohn and I had an excellent telephone conversation in which we introduced ourselves and discussed our views concerning FINRA's small firm community. Stephen and I discovered that we are in agreement on many issues involving the FINRA Small Firm community; and, in particular, on the need to cultivate fair-and-effective regulation that does not fall disproportionately upon smaller member firms. I look forward to working with Stephen in the future and making common cause. 

The FINRA small firm community now has three very capable, sincere, dedicated, veteran candidates for the 2016 FINRA Small Firm Governor seat. Get to know your candidates. Make your vote and voice count! 

In response to my offer to post an unedited message from Stephen Kohn to BrokeAndBroker.com Blog readers, he offered the following: 

I am Stephen Kohn and, with your support, a candidate for a Small Firm seat on the Board of Governors.

I have been employed in the financial services industry since 1984.  Most of my working life has been devoted to the Securities Industry.  Keeping in compliance with the "rule book" has been my goal.  

Founded in 1996, I own and operate a FINRA member firm, Stephen A, Kohn & Associates, Ltd. ("SAKL") located in Lakewood, Colorado.  SAKL is a small, Independent broker/dealer, catering to the needs of 28 independent representatives and their clients, with office locations in seven states, registered in thirty-five. 

I have assembled a team of professionals to assist in assuring the day to day operations and personalized client services which are the hallmark of this Firm. However, as an owner and operator, I oversee all aspects of the broker/dealer, including, but not limited to compliance, trade execution, recruiting and day-to-day operations. 

Adhering to the highest principals of compliance, SAKL has never been the subject of any customer complaints nor have any of its Registered Representatives during their tenure at SAKL.

At various stages of my career in the financial services industry, there were fleeting moments of tenure with both large and small firms.  Of all the firms at which I have been employed, SAKL is one of only two that are still in business, further testimony to the high standards of compliance maintained at every level of the Firm.

Being the sole owner of a small broker/dealer provides the perfect, if not ultimate qualification for serving on the Board of Governors ("BOG").  No one is better equipped represent small broker/dealers than a 100%, small broker/dealer owner.  

I am an outspoken advocate for small broker/dealers who comprise 92% of FINRA membership.  As such, I have been twice elected to the National Adjudicatory Council ("NAC") by you, first in 2009 and again in 2014.  I currently serve on the NAC, one of your two small firm members. The NAC is FINRA's appellate division, hearing appeals to enforcement decisions and other issues.  I am also an Industry Arbitrator.  

I have carried messages of grievances, brought to me by small firm members, to meetings with top FINRA management.  I will continue this practice on behalf of all small firms.  I am also working outside the aegis of FINRA to bring the need for change/reform to the forefront of more than one political agenda.

There are a plethora of issues that threaten to drastically reduce FINRA's small firm "membership."  They must be presented in a sensitive, rational way to, perhaps, one of the most influential aggregations guiding the rule-making process that affects us all, owners and registered persons alike.  I am well equipped to be your voice.

Additionally, considering the number of "rules" and rule changes we have seen in the past few years, it is obvious to me that we have not been effectively represented. That, coupled with my experience on the NAC, has given me insight into what, most seriously, threatens our survival.  And, yes, I can remain on the NAC and sit on the BOG simultaneously, which gives me further insight into processes, and issues, that will broaden my understanding of the ailments in the system, of great concern to us all.

I make no promises to be your hero, solely responsible for change.  I do, however, promise to provide you with an unshakeable, outspoken devotion to our common survival.

I hold the following securities licenses: Series, 7, 24, 53, 63, 72, 73, 79 and 99.  I graduated from C.W. Post College in 1964 with a BA degree.  I have served in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve.

Feel free to contact me, in confidence, anytime.  Email: sakohn7@gmail.com.  Direct phone: 303-996-5680.  Cellphone: 303-996-5680.