Bill Singer Endorses Jones

February 10, 2009


The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority's (FINRA's) National Adjudicatory Council (NAC) is composed of members who will serve three-year terms. This year, one Large Firm and one Small Firm NAC seat are open for election.  FINRA's Nominating and Governance Committee has nominated one candidate for each of the two available seats. In the case of the Small Firm NAC seat, there will be a contested election between an individual who made the effort to seek petition ballots, and another individual who was picked by FINRA's committee and not required to overcome the nominating ballot threshold. I do not like that discrepancy. I believe that all candidates seeking FINRA elective office should be required to satisfy the minimum ballot threshold to gain nomination. However, I also understand that public companies historically nominate their preferred slate of candidates and that such slates are typically approved by shareholders.

In the late 1990s, I helped found the NASD (now FINRA) Dissident Movement, and in 1998 I was one of the first four candidates to contest the NASD's Board of Governors election. Two of our contested candidates won that year and I narrowly lost. In the ensuing years, I have raised a persistent and loud voice in advocacy of regulatory reform and in defense of the beleaguered indie/regional member community. Moreover, I have fought long and hard as a defense lawyer for many industry clients who were victimized by over-zealous regulators. Despite my dissident credentials, I have decided to endorse the candidacy of the Small Firm NAC candidate nominated by FINRA's committee:

James Stephen "Jim" Jones, President and Chief Compliance Officer, Crews & Associates, Inc., Little Rock, Arkansas.

I am unwavering in my conviction that FINRA's elective-office nominating procedures and policies are unfair because they eschew a level playing field by not requiring all nominees to independently seek sufficient qualifying petitions. In light of that position, several industry participants lobbied me to support Jim's nomination and arranged for us to speak this week. That conversation changed my mind and elicited this endorsement.

Suffice it to say that my dissatisfaction with FINRA's election policies remains unchanged; what has changed is that having gotten to talk to Jim, I am convinced that he will make a fine NAC panelist. He is a sincere, contemplative, industry veteran who is committed to ensuring that the cases presented to him for appellate review are fairly judged.  I am confident that he will neither assume the role of a rubber stamp for FINRA's prosecutors nor emerge as a disruptive force that would jeopardize the integrity of the adjudication process.

I urge all of my dissident colleagues to vote for James Stephen "Jim" Jones for the Small Firm NAC seat.