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Securities Arbitration 2020


Speaker(s): Adam Warren, Andrew Stoltmann, Bert H. Ware, Beverly Jo Slaughter, Christine Lazaro, Chrystal Loyer, Cindy Foster, Courtney R. Reid, Darya Geetter, Elissa Germaine, Ellyn S. Roth, Greg Libertiny, Hasan Ibrahim, Jason Young, Jenice L. Malecki, Kathy S Adams, Leslie Leutwiler, Manly Ray, Nicole G. Iannarone, Richard W. Berry, Ryan K. Bakhtiari, Samuel Edwards, Sandra J. Mullings, Sara Soto, Stefanie Kendall, Steven B. Caruso, Tracey Salmon-Smith, William G. Binckes
Recorded on: Sep. 10, 2020
PLI Program #: 276292

Beverly Jo Slaughter is a Senior Managing Counsel in the Wealth Investment Management Litigation Section of the Wells Fargo Corporate Legal Department. Her team defends the company and its Financial Advisors in litigation before FINRA and various state and federal courts. The team also administers the Protocol for Broker Recruiting for Wells Fargo and advises on risk mitigation generally.

Ms. Slaughter obtained her J.D. from the Fordham University School of Law in 1997.

Ms. Slaughter regularly speaks on securities litigation and regulation and employee mobility before the NBA, the SIFMA Legal and Compliance Section and the Federal Bar Council. 

 


Darya Geetter is Managing Director, Head of US Securities Regulatory Affairs at UBS.  In this role she is responsible for and leads teams handling regulatory inquiries, exams and enforcement actions for both the UBS Investment Bank and Wealth Management USA.  She was formerly Deputy General Counsel at LPL Financial, MF Global Inc., and UBS Financial Services and a Managing Director at Bear, Stearns & Co. Inc.  Earlier in her career she served as Counsel at Hogan & Hartson LLP and held several roles at the US Department of Justice, including Senior Trial Attorney in the Civil Rights Division and Civil Division, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia as a federal law clerk on the United States District Court for the ED LA.

Darya earned a J.D. from New York University School of Law and a BA with Honors from the University of Chicago.  She has served on FINRA’s NAMC and several SIFMA Committees.


Hasan Ibrahim is Vice President and Chief Legal Officer for Pruco Securities, LLC (d/b/a Prudential Advisors) a registered FINRA broker-dealer and investment adviser. Hasan is responsible for handling (and managing a team of lawyers who handle) a full range of legal matters that arise in connection with the operation of a business providing holistic wealth management solutions, including investments, life insurance and annuities. He serves as a strategic partner and an integral member of the Prudential Advisors senior leadership team in helping to define and influence organization strategy and vision with practical and proactive legal counsel.  Concurrently, Hasan acts as Prudential’s liaison with all state securities enforcement agencies. 

Prior to his current role, Hasan was a Regulatory Counsel in Prudential’s Law Department.  He provided oversight of significant regulatory matters for all lines of business and corporate center functions with respect to state, federal and international issues. His responsibilities included legal coverage of regulatory matters and investigations involving the Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission, FINRA as well as other federal and state government agencies. Hasan also provided privacy and data security counsel related to Title V of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, Regulation S-P, Fair Credit Reporting Act, CAN-SPAM Act and other state and federal privacy requirements and global data protection laws.  Prior to joining Prudential, Hasan spent nearly 10 years at UBS in a variety of legal roles, most notably as Chief Privacy Counsel for the Americas and as a Deputy General Counsel for the Firm’s Utah-based industrial bank. 

Hasan holds an LL.M. in International Legal Studies from NYU Law and earned his J.D. from the Seton Hall University School of Law. He earned his undergraduate degree from Rutgers University.


Sandra Mullings is an Associate Professor of Law at the Zicklin School of Business, Baruch College, City University of New York. She has served as an arbitrator for FINRA and its predecessor since 1994.    

Professor Mullings is a graduate of Yale Law School.  Prior to joining the faculty at Baruch, she was a partner in a New York City law firm, doing general commercial litigation. She has several publications, primarily in the area of employment law.


Tracey Salmon-Smith is a partner at Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP in the Business Litigation Department. She is a member of the Financial Services and Best Interest Compliance teams. Tracey represents broker-dealers before FINRA in arbitrations and mediations related to allegations of sales practice violations and failure to supervise claims.  She also handles regulatory inquires, as well as discrimination, whistleblower claims, work-place harassment, wrongful discharge, U5 defamation matters, and expungement proceedings. Previously, Tracey served as in-house counsel at UBS Financial Services Inc. in the litigation group and served seven years as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York (EDNY). She graduated from Villanova University School of Law.  She received her undergraduate degree in English from Dartmouth College. 


Adam Warren is a Managing Director and part of the Securities and Finance Practice.  Beginning his career as a broker and trader, he has over 30 years of broad experience in the financial services industry.

Mr. Warren specializes in financial services industry issues, standards and practices with an emphasis on financial, commodity and complex derivative instruments; trading systems and processes; financial markets and exchanges; technology and operations; and market, credit and operational risk. He has assisted more than 15 securities, commodity and derivative exchanges as well as numerous regulators, brokerage firms, clearing houses, hedge funds and investment management companies globally.  He has presented at industry and legal events and has authored articles on risk management, commodity and financial markets.

Mr. Warren also provides court and arbitration testimony.  He has testified in Federal Courts as well as several state courts including; Illinois, Texas and New York.  Also, Adam has testified in Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and other SRO arbitrations in numerous states including, Florida, Illinois, California, Texas, New York, Alabama and Georgia regarding issues such as: industry standards and practices, high frequency trading, market manipulation, alleged spoofing, layering, front running, insider trading, Regulation SHO and NMS violations, valuation and structure of complex instruments including; annuities, unit investment trusts, auction rate securities and the nature of the auction rate securities market, futures, options trading and complex derivative valuation.

Mr. Warren has spent more than 30 years working with numerous firms on trading, valuation, investments, operational, credit and market risk management issues for a wide variety of global clients.

Adam holds an A.B. in History and an M.B.A. in Finance from the University of Chicago.


Andrew Stoltmann is a Chicago based attorney, author, TV commentator and investor advocate. He concentrates his legal practice in representing investors who are the victims of investment fraud. He has represented over one thousand individuals in lawsuits and FINRA securities arbitration actions against brokerage firms like Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, UBS, Raymond James, JP Morgan, Ameriprise,  LPL Financial, and has tried approximately 80 cases. Previous to opening the Stoltmann Law Offices P.C. he was a partner in a law firm concentrating its practice in the representation of investors in lawsuits, arbitration claims and class actions against brokerage firms.

Mr. Stoltmann became the President of the Public Investor Arbitration Bar Association (PIABA), an international bar association of attorneys whose members represent investors in disputes with the securities industry, in October of 2017. He previously served as PIABA’s Executive Vice President.  Mr. Stoltmann is also currently an adjunct securities law professor at Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago. He authored the book Waging War on Wall Street (see below).

After graduating from the University of Wisconsin (Madison) with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree, Mr. Stoltmann worked as a licensed stockbroker for Olde Discount and Merrill Lynch. While in law school at DePaul University, Mr. Stoltmann clerked at the Chicago NASD Dispute Resolution office (now called FINRA), where 95% of securities arbitration cases are decided.

Mr. Stoltmann has appeared as an analyst providing legal opinions and commentary on 20/20, Dateline, ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, CNN, CNBC, Bloomberg, National Public Radio and others (please see Andrew in The News). Mr. Stoltmann has been quoted in various publications worldwide including the Wall Street Journal, Christian Science Monitor, Business Week, Forbes, Fortune, USA Today, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Kiplinger’s, Jerusalem Post, London Post, London Free Press, The Guardian (UK), Daily Telegraph of London, Montreal Gazette, MaClean’s, Calgary Herald, Toronto Globe & Mail, Toronto Star, Mainichi Daily News (Tokyo), China Daily (Beijing), Mail & Guardian (Johannesburg), National Post, and The Scotsman (Edinburgh).

Mr. Stoltmann is a member of PIABA (Public Investor Arbitration Bar Association), ATLA (Association of Trial Lawyers of America), the Chicago Bar Association, Illinois State Bar Association and is admitted to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois and the Eastern District of Wisconsin.


Bert H. Ware is a of Counsel in Jackson Lewis PC’s Boston offices.

Professional Experience

  • 36-years’ experience, including Wall Street and national law firm practice, with 20-years’ in-house senior level experience at Bank of America Merrill Lynch and predecessor financial services firms.
  • Practice provides strategic and tactical advice and counsel to C-suite executives and HR professionals on a full spectrum of employment-related issues.
  • Substantial experience in conducting very high-risk workplace investigations related to allegations of:unlawful discrimination, harassment, misconduct, violations of anti-discrimination laws, violations of policies and procedures, bullying, and retaliation.
  • Exceptional analytical, strategic and tactical advocacy competencies related to complex, and sophisticated management-side employment-related issues, including defense of litigation in federal and state courts, EEOC and state FEPAs, and FINRA and AAA arbitral panels.

  • Substantial practical experience in auditing & reviewing workplace policies, practices & training programs for sufficiency & effectiveness, and in providing impactful, in-person small group training for C-suite, upper management and supervisory employees concerning prevention, correcting, and mitigating risks of harassment, discrimination, and workplace retaliation.
  • Member of Jackson Lewis’ Corporate Governance & Internal Investigations and Corporate Diversity Consulting practice groups, and Financial Services industry group.
  • New York University School of Law, Juris Doctor degree – 1985.Tufts University School of Arts & Sciences, Bachelor of Arts degree, cum laude – 1981.

Professional Affiliations/Associations

American Employment Law Council (global high-level management-side labor & employment in-house and outside counsel by invitation-only organization – past panelist / speaker and active member), Association of Workplace Investigators (active member), American Bar Association (member), Massachusetts Bar Association (member), Boston Bar Association (member), New York University School of Law Black & Latino Alumni Association (member), The Partnership Alumni Association (multicultural professional talent advancement, development & retention program in corporate Boston – past Program Fellow ’91-’92), The Boston Men’s Dinner Group.

 

Bar & Court Admissions

Massachusetts 1992.  New York 1986.

Court of Appeals of the State of New York, 1986.  US District Court, Southern District of New York, 1986.  US District Court, Eastern District of New York, 1986.  Supreme Judicial Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 1992.  US District Court, District of Massachusetts, 1992.  US District Court, District of the District of Columbia, 2017.


Christine M. Lazaro is a Professor of Clinical Legal Education and the Director of the Securities Arbitration Clinic at St. John’s University School of Law.  The students in the Clinic represent investors in arbitration claims against brokerage firms and brokers on a pro bono basis.  Professor Lazaro also teaches Broker-Dealer Regulation and Business Basics at St. John’s, and is a faculty advisor for the Corporate and Securities Law Society.  She joined St. John’s in 2007 as a Supervising Attorney for the Clinic.  Professor Lazaro is also currently Of Counsel to the Law Offices of Brent A. Burns, LLC, where she consults on securities arbitration and regulatory matters. 

Professor Lazaro has been a member of the Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association (PIABA) since 2008.  She currently serves as the President of PIABA and on the Board of Directors.  Professor Lazaro is also a member of the New York State Bar Association, and serves on the Association’s Securities Litigation and Arbitration Committee. 

Professor Lazaro holds a B.A. from New York University and a J.D. from Fordham Law School.  After graduating from law school and prior to joining St. John’s, she was an associate at Davidson & Grannum, LLP, representing broker-dealers and individual brokers in disputes with clients in both arbitration and mediation, and handling employment law cases and debt collection cases.  She also advised broker-dealers regarding investment contracts they had with various municipalities and government entities. 

She speaks and writes regularly on the topics of securities arbitration and the duties of brokers and brokerage firms. 


Chrystal Loyer is an Associate Director at FINRA Dispute Resolution Services. In this role, she ensures consistent case administration across the regional offices, considers process improvements, provides staff trainings and guidance and advises on matters of policy and procedure. Prior to joining FINRA in 2013, Chrystal practiced tax controversy law at a boutique firm representing individuals and corporations against federal and state taxing authorities. Chrystal graduated, cum laude, from Seton Hall University School of Law and is licensed to practice law in New York and New Jersey.


Cindy Foster is Vice President and Ombudsman for the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), a not-for-profit brokerage industry regulator. As Ombudsman, Ms. Foster works with a cross-section of securities industry stakeholders, including firms, issuers, registered representatives and investors to review and resolve concerns and complaints arising from examinations, investigations, arbitrations and the disciplinary process. Ms. Foster’s work has led to the implementation of numerous recommendations positively impacting policies and procedures of several FINRA departments, including Dispute Resolution, Credentialing Registration and Disclosure, Enforcement and the Office of Fraud Detection and Market Intelligence, among others.

Ms. Foster has more than 20 years of experience with FINRA in various capacities, including as a Market Regulation senior analyst responsible for investigating manipulation and fraud in securities markets. As Associate Director and Lead for the Order Audit Trail System (OATS) Member Firm Coordination Project, she worked closely with chief compliance and technology officers at member firms, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), financial services vendors and FINRA’s executive management to develop and finalize the OATS Rules and implementation plan. She also established Market Regulation’s OATS Compliance function.

Seeking a diversity of experiences in the financial services industry, Ms. Foster also served as Chief Compliance Officer for SunGard Trading System, a financial services software company. In this role, she advised executive management and clients on the impact of securities industry rules and regulations on order management and trade execution systems. She was soon promoted to Executive Vice President and her duties were expanded to include Product Management, Technology and Client Services. She also served on the Advisory Board for the Financial Information Forum, which focuses on industry-wide technology implementation issues.

Ms. Foster has Master of Business Administration and Master of Science degrees from the University of Maryland. She currently serves on FINRA’s Pension/401(k) Committee and is an inaugural member and current Chair of FINRA’s Diversity Leadership Council. She is Executive Sponsor of FINRA’s Latino Employee Relationship Group and is a member of FINRA’s Racial Justice Task Force.

 


Courtney R. Reid is Lead Counsel within the Broker-Dealer and Investment Adviser practice group at MassMutual.  In this role, she is the primary regulatory attorney on FINRA and state securities matters that impact MassMutual’s retail broker-dealer, MML Investors Services, LLC.  She also provides general consultation and advice to her broker-dealer and compliance clients on issues relating to U4/U5 and 4530 questions, books and records, seniors, and other regulatory-related topics that arise.

Before joining MassMutual, Courtney was an industry litigator for over 14 years as both in-house and outside counsel.  She has represented broker-dealers and brokers in customer and industry disputes before FINRA’s Dispute Resolution Forum. In addition, she currently serves on FINRA’s National Arbitration and Mediation Committee.

Courtney has been passionate about advancing diversity throughout her career. She is the Chair of Passages Business Resource Group, which focuses on issues relating to the advancement, retention, and development of Black and African-American employees at MassMutual.  She was a 2017 Fellow with the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity. Also, she served on the executive board for Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers and was an adjunct at William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota (now known as Mitchell Hamline School of Law.)  


Elissa Germaine is the Director of the Investor Rights Clinic at the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University and Executive Director of John Jay Legal Services. The Pace Investor Rights Clinic represents investors of modest means, who are unable to obtain legal representation because of the small amount of their claims, in disputes with their brokers in arbitrations at FINRA Dispute Resolution. She serves as a public member of FINRA’s National Arbitration and Mediation Committee.

Professor Germaine also has taught legal skills and legal writing at Pace Law and New York Law School. Before entering legal education, she practiced securities litigation and arbitration, government investigations, and complex commercial litigation at Latham & Watkins LLP in San Francisco. She served as a law clerk for the Honorable John S. Rhoades, Sr. in the United States District Court, Southern District of California.

She received her JD from Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law and her BA from Dartmouth College.


Greg Libertiny has been involved professionally in the Conflict Prevention & Alternative Dispute Resolution (CPR/ADR) arena for approximately fifteen years. Selected accreditations and affiliations include:  

  • Arbitrator & Mediator - Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.
  • Court Approved Mediator - New Jersey Civil, General Equity and Probate Cases.
  • Member, New Jersey Association of Professional Mediators.
  • Member, Bergen County, New Jersey peer groups for Civil and Family CPR/ADR.
  • Former Co-chair of the “CPAs in CPR/ADR Committee” on behalf of the International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution.

Additional efforts in the CPR/ADR sector include being a mentor to new entrants in the field, and speaker / panelist at industry specific events.

Mr. Libertiny’s career is well suited towards the field of dispute resolution. Achievements included creating and/or developing businesses globally through all lifecycle phases - from inception through acquisition, merger, restructure and/or sale. CPR/ADR evolved from his extensive international business experience and C-Suite roles (CEO, COO, CFO, CRO and more), having done business in more 75+ countries on behalf Fortune 50, private, start up, and private equity backed companies. It was in these environs that Greg earned his reputation as a creative problem-solver, change catalyst, and first-rate negotiator who interacted seamlessly with political and business leadership in challenging circumstances and locales.

In addition to his CPR/ADR accomplishments, Greg is a founding partner at NBT Associates LLC, a consulting firm that enhances the value and effectiveness of business leaders and their companies. He is an actively licensed CPA with longstanding membership in the American Institute of CPAs (https://www.aicpa.org) – and was a subject matter expert for them in the past - and the New York State Society of CPAs. He also holds credentials in the fields of business valuation and financial forensics.

On the pro bono front, Greg co-chairs the Business Outreach Center, a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to improve the economic prospects of traditionally underserved groups, with a focus on low- and moderate-income entrepreneurs and their communities, and thereby create genuinely brighter futures for its constituents.


Jason is Co-Founder and CEO of MindBlown Labs, a financial wellness innovation lab. MindBlown's mission is to empower Americans to make better financial decisions and ultimately achieve enduring financial wellness. The company partners with financial institutions to develop highly engaging digital solutions that connect with users on an emotional level and drive positive saving and investing behaviors. 

Jason has worked with senior executives across the retirement industry to bring groundbreaking new solutions to market. In 2014, he was appointed by President Obama to a special advisory council on financial capability for young Americans. Jason also serves on the board of the National Endowment for Financial Education.  

Jason is Co-Founder and Board Chair of The Hidden Genius Project, a non-profit that trains and mentors black male youth in technology creation, entrepreneurship, and leadership. The goal of Hidden Genius is to expand economic opportunity by creating career pathways into the technology industry. 

Prior to founding these organizations, he was part of the founding team of SigFig, a financial technology startup focused on helping Millennials make better investment decisions. He also worked at Merrill Lynch. Jason received an A.B. in Economics from Harvard College.    

 

 


Jenice L. Malecki is a well-known New York securities attorney and has been a FINRA arbitrator and Chairperson.  She represents investors from individuals to institutional investors in arbitration and litigation, as well as licensed industry participants in regulatory hearings, employment disputes and whistleblower matters.  She has represented private and public companies around the world, as well as individuals from blue-collar workers to athletes, musicians, and billionaire founders of well-known international companies. Malecki Law represents clients in the US, many Western European countries, India, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Israel, Puerto Rico and South American countries.  

Ms. Malecki has been a member of FINRA’s National Arbitration and Mediation Committee, on the Board of Directors (and an Officer of) of both the Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association (PIABA) and the PIABA Foundation, as well as has been a member of the Securities and Exchanges Committee at the New York City Bar Association.  She has been a member of the American and New York State Bar Associations. Ms. Malecki has spoken at the Practicing Law Institute (PLI), the New York City and State Bar Associations, as well as the New York County Lawyers Association.  Ms. Malecki also regularly appears in the classrooms at Columbia Law School, Fordham Law School, St. John’s Law School, Brooklyn Law School and New York Law School, in addition to speaking at PIABA’s annual conferences. Ms. Malecki has also participated in mock trials at Yale, Columbia, Albany, Fordham and FINRA.

Jenice L. Malecki’s experience as a New York securities attorney began in class action litigation, In re Crazy Eddie, counsel’s office of the lead plaintiffs. Throughout the 1990s she represented numerous broker dealers and was instrumental in regulatory matters against well-known “boiler room” stock fraud of the era, including working with people and firms associated with the notorious “Wolf of Wall Street.” In 1999, Ms. Malecki founded her own practice, MALECKI LAW, in Manhattan.

Since 2012, Ms. Malecki has been named a Top Attorney by Super Lawyers and the National Law Journal, featured in the New York Times Magazine, New York Magazine, National Law Journal and other publications, as well as being named as one of “New York’s Women Leaders in the Law 2014.” Ms. Malecki is Martindale-Hubbell’s highest legal ability rating of “AV Preeminent.” She appears regularly on TV, in the news and on the radio. She is a seasoned authority on FINRA Rules and securities laws, frequently filing official comments for consideration on new rules and laws. In 2014, 2015 and 2019, she visited Senators and House of Representatives members’ offices to garner support for investor related laws. She is also a trained mediator and has been qualified by FINRA arbitrators as an expert witness.

 


Kathy Adams is the owner of Kathy Adams Dispute Resolution Services, a mediation and consulting firm focused on disputes involving the financial services industry.  Her wide-ranging experience includes investor-initiated disputes, wrongful termination and U-5 defamation matters, harassment and discrimination cases, intra-industry disputes, protocol issues, and trust/estate contests.  Kathy brings an evaluative, litigation-focused approach to mediation, along with the creativity needed to resolve cases that are especially difficult or involve uncommon challenges.

With more than 25 years of experience in and around the financial services industry, Kathy brings a wealth of knowledge and a variety of perspectives and insights to the cases she mediates.  As an advocate, Kathy successfully litigated to award claims totaling millions of dollars and negotiated the settlement of hundreds of cases.  As in-house counsel for a global brokerage firm, she gained valuable insight into the inner workings of the financial services industry.  As a litigation consultant, she has worked through detailed case evaluations with attorneys for claimants/plaintiffs and respondents/defendants. 

Participants in mediations prefer a neutral who understands their circumstances, including how and where they live.  Kathy has lived and worked in most regions of the country and enjoys mediating in all locations.  Her geographic diversity and understanding of unique regional culture has proved invaluable in resolving cases across the country, and especially in cases venued between the coasts. 

Kathy is licensed to practice law in both California and Minnesota and is an active member of the ABA Litigation Section’s ADR and Securities Arbitration subcommittees, the Southeastern Women in Financial Services (SWIFS), and the Southern California Mediation Association.  She is a sought-after speaker on negotiation and settlement strategies, financial elder abuse, behavioral economics, and the benefits of bringing diverse views and approaches to mediation.  Kathy earned her JD from Mitchell|Hamline School of Law, one of the top law schools in the country for ADR.  She completed her mediator certification at Pepperdine University’s Strauss Institute for Dispute Resolution.

An avid runner, Kathy competes in races across the country.  She is looking forward to running her second Boston Marathon in 2019.


Leslie Leutwiler joined FINRA Dispute Resolution Services in 2000 and has served in many capacities in its Northeast Regional and National Offices. Some of her past roles include Case Specialist, Mediation Administrator, and Associate Director in the Neutral Management department. In 2018, she moved into her current position as an Associate Director in the Case Administration department. Leslie received her BA from Knox College and her JD from New York Law School.


Manly is the Southeast Regional Director and Director of Mediation for FINRA’s Office of Dispute Resolution.  He has over 25 years of experience in the securities, legal and business professions, including the past 22 years with FINRA.

Manly began his FINRA career with the Office of Hearing Officers in Washington, DC in 1998 where he worked until August 2005.  At the Office of Hearing Officers, Manly held the position of Chief Case Administrator where he was responsible for managing the Deputy Chief Hearing Officer’s caseload in addition to supervising all Case Administrators.  In August 2005, Manly moved to Boca Raton for a position in FINRA’s Member Regulation Department as a Compliance Specialist.  In July 2007, he was promoted to Examination Manager, where he supervised a team of cycle examiners.  In May 2010, Manly assumed his current role as the Southeast Regional Director, where he is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Southeast Regional dispute resolution office.  In addition to his role as Regional Director, Manly assumed the duties of Director of Mediation in January 2019.

Manly has a Bachelor of Science degree from Virginia Tech.  He has completed FINRA’s Institute at Wharton, FINRA’s Examiner University program, and coursework in mediation skills and process.  Manly earned FINRA’s Excellence in Service Award in 2002, FINRA’s President’s Award in 2000, and the 1994 Pro Bono Award from Piper & Marbury LLP for outstanding casework on a class action sexual harassment lawsuit.


Mr. Bakhtiari represents clients in securities disputes before FINRA (NASD, NYSE), state and federal courts. He served on the Board of Directors of the Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association (PIABA) from 2008 to 2013 and served as President for the 2011 to 2012 term. PIABA is a nationwide organization of securities lawyers that represent investors in disputes with the financial service industry.

In June 2013, Mr. Bakhtiari was named Chairman of the National Arbitration and Mediation Committee (“NAMC”) of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). The NAMC is an advisory group that makes recommendations on rules, regulations and procedures governing FINRA arbitration, mediation and dispute resolution. In June 2011, Mr. Bakhtiari was nominated to serve as a public member of the Nasdaq OMX BX Arbitration Committee, which is the advisory group that provides recommendations on rules, regulations and procedures governing arbitrations, mediations and dispute resolution for the Nasdaq and Boston Stock Exchanges. In 2009, Mr. Bakhtiari was nominated to serve as a public member of the National Arbitration and Mediation Committee of FINRA.

Mr. Bakhtiari served on the faculty of the Practicing Law Institute (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017, 2019) and New York City Bar Association's presentation of Securities Arbitration and Mediation Hot Topics (2012). Mr. Bakhtiari is a past member of the board of editors, managing editor of the PIABA Bar Journal and edited the “Recent Arbitration Awards” column covering significant NASD and NYSE arbitration awards. Mr. Bakhtiari has spoken at the Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association annual meeting, California mid-year meeting, authored and co-authored several articles. He was a teaching assistant and extern to the Honorable James N. Barr, United States Bankruptcy Judge for the Central District of California and presently serves as a FINRA securities arbitrator.

In addressing investors right's issues, Mr. Bakhtiari has been quoted by the press in publications that include the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Los Angeles Times, Reuters, Dow Jones Business News, NY Post, Los Angeles Business Journal, The American Banker and Cleveland Plains Dealer.

Mr. Bakhtiari was recognized from 2014 to 2020 as a Southern California Super Lawyer. Between 2005 and 2013 he was recognized as a Southern California Super Lawyer Rising Star


Nicole Iannarone, assistant professor of law, is a scholar and leader in the practice community whose work focuses on an array of issues including regulation of financial intermediaries, the consumer’s experience in resolving securities disputes, professional ethics, and law and technology. Before joining the Drexel Kline faculty in 2019, Professor Iannarone directed the Investor Advocacy Clinic at Georgia State University College of Law. There, she oversaw students’ representation of consumer investors with small claims against their brokers before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), their efforts to educate investors, and their work representing the voice of retail investors in evaluating and commenting on FINRA and SEC rule proposals.  Previously, Professor Iannarone taught at Mercer Law School and at Vanderbilt Law School.

Professor Iannarone has published extensively on an array of topics that includes financial technology, regulation of financial intermediaries, resolution of securities disputes, technology and ethics in legal practice, as well as experiential education. Her articles have appeared or are forthcoming in the Washington Law Review, Cardozo Law Review, University of Nevada Las Vegas Law Forum, Tennessee Journal of Business Law, Chicago Kent Law Review, and the University of Toledo Law Review.

Before entering academia, Professor Iannarone practiced at Bondurant, Mixson & Elmore, where she was deputy general counsel and her practice focused on complex litigation.

Professor Iannarone is the immediate past chair of the AALS Section on Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation and a member of the Section on Professional Responsibility. She is also a member of the FINRA National Arbitration and Mediation Committee and chairs the Neutral Roster Subcommittee. A past president of the Atlanta Bar Association, Professor Iannarone previously served on numerous committees and held diverse leadership roles during her years in Georgia. She is a fellow of the American Bar Foundation.  From 2017-2019, she served as chair of the State Bar of Georgia’s Professionalism Committee and as a liaison to the Georgia Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism.

She received her JD from Yale Law School, where she served on the Yale Journal on Regulation.


Richard W. Berry is Executive Vice President and Director, Office of Dispute Resolution.

Prior to serving in this capacity, Mr. Berry was Senior Vice President, Dispute Resolution. In that role, he oversaw the four regional offices—New York, Boca Raton, Chicago and Los Angeles—and the New York Case Administration unit.

Mr. Berry joined FINRA, then NASD, in 1995 as head of Dispute Resolution's Los Angeles satellite office. In 2001, he was named Director of Case Administration in the New York City office.  Mr. Berry serves as Executive Champion of FINRA’s Toastmasters Clubs.  Mr. Berry earned his Certified Regulatory and Compliance Professional™ designation through the FINRA Institute.

Prior to joining FINRA, he taught American law for one year in Budapest. Mr. Berry began his career practicing law in San Francisco. He is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara and Hastings College of the Law. Mr. Berry is a member of the California Bar.


Sam Edwards is a partner in the Houston based national law firm of Shepherd, Smith, Edwards & Kantas, LLP (“SSEK”).  Sam and his firm primarily represent investors in securities arbitration and litigation cases.  That includes FINRA arbitration, AAA and JAMS as well as federal and state courts all over the United States.  Sam is licensed to practice law in Texas, California and Michigan as well as a number of federal courts and others in his firm are licensed in additional states when licensing in that state is required.  Sam and SSEK represent individual investors, such as retirees and professional traders, and also institutional investors, including hedge funds, pension funds, community banks and municipalities.


Sara Soto’s practice encompasses a broad range of business litigation and arbitration matters.  She has represented brokerage firms, banks, corporations and individuals in arbitration and litigation involving customers, employees, other institutions and individuals.

Sara offers her clients decades of tangible experience representing broker-dealers in arbitrations brought by customers involving equities, fixed income, structured products, limited partnerships, options, managed accounts, margin and other financial products.  She is also adept in navigating her clients through regulatory proceedings and internal investigations.

A tenacious litigator and problem solver, Sara is involved in state and federal court litigation and in arbitrations involving commercial and employment disputes, such as claims for injunctive relief and damages for violation of restrictive covenants, theft of trade secrets, wrongful/constructive termination, whistleblowing, raiding, breach of contract, fraud and tortious interference, among many other topics.  Sara has also resolved literally hundreds of business disputes through negotiation and mediation, eliminating both the cost and risk of litigation.  She is valued by her clients for her pragmatic approach toward business litigation.

Sara is also a member of Bressler's Senior and Vulnerable Investor Group.The lawyers in this group have a shared interest in providing counsel to corporate clients who confront issues affecting seniors.


Since 2003, I have served as an arbitrator and chairperson at FINRA on both customer and employment cases.

My law career was in the federal government in Washington, DC, mainly in financial regulation . From October 1984 until July 2000, I was an Assistant General Counsel at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) in Washington, DC, the federal agency that regulates the futures and options markets. My main expertise was in the regulatory area, in particular, the CFTC's jurisdiction over a variety of derivatives and other novel financial instruments. My duties included providing the five-member Commission with legal interpretations, drafting regulations, reviewing, interpreting, and drafting legislation, and reviewing for legal sufficiency contract market rules.  In addition, I drafted or supervised the drafting of numerous Commission opinions involving a variety of disputes, including reparation actions brought by customers against their brokers, as well as enforcement actions, brought by the Commission. I also reviewed for legal sufficiency the initiation or settlement of Commission investigations, administrative and injunctive actions brought by the Commission's Division of Enforcement.

Prior to the CFTC, I was an assistant solicitor at the Economic Regulatory Administration, a division of the Department of Energy in Washington, DC.  This division was a special task force mandated to enforce compliance by the major oil companies with the Federal energy pricing and allocation regulations. During that time, I was an attorney representing the office in administrative and judicial litigation.

I graduated from the National Law Center, George Washington University Law School in Washington, DC. and am a member of the District of Columbia Bar. During law school, I was a law clerk on the staff of the Commission Chairman of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission in Washington, DC. There I reviewed and analyzed cases pending a Commission decision, recommended the appropriate disposition of these cases, and drafted Commission decisions.

I live in Manhattan with my husband, and I have three grown children who live around the country.


Stefanie Kendall is a Principal Analyst for FINRA Dispute Resolution Services. Stefanie joined FINRA in 2014 as a Neutral Management Coordinator, and was responsible for vetting new arbitrator applicants and assisting arbitrators in the management of their Arbitrator Disclosure Reports. Stefanie was promoted to Regional Operations Manager for the Northeast Regional Office in January 2016.  She moved into her current position in December 2016.  As a Principal Analyst in the Case Administration group, Stefanie is primarily responsible for external communication and education and developing staff procedures and training modules.  Stefanie enjoys yoga, reading, and spending time with friends and family.

Stefanie is a graduate of Hofstra University’s Maurice A. Deane School of Law (J.D., 2014), and CUNY College of Staten Island (B.A., 2010).  She is admitted to practice law in New York and New Jersey.


Steven B. Caruso, the Resident Partner in the New York City office of Maddox Hargett & Caruso, P.C. (www.investorprotection.com), concentrates his practice on the representation of individual, high net worth and institutional investors in securities arbitration and litigation proceedings. 

Mr. Caruso is the Chairman and a public member of the National Arbitration and Mediation Committee (“NAMC”) of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”); former Chairman of the Discovery Task Force Committee of FINRA; former member of the Nasdaq OMX BX Arbitration Committee; former member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation  (SIPC) Modernization Task Force; Director Emeritus and former President of the Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association (“PIABA”); and has testified before the U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Financial Services, Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance and Government Sponsored Enterprises, in March 2012 and September 2010.

Among the publications that Mr. Caruso has authored are Arbitrator Withdrawals Undermine the Arbitration Process, The Neutral Corner, FINRA Dispute Resolution, Vol. No. 3 (2019); An Introduction to FINRA’s National Arbitration and Mediation Committee, The Neutral Corner, FINRA Dispute Resolution, Vol. No. 1 (2018); Post-Settlement Expungements: An Investor Protection Problem that Continues to Wait for a FINRA Solution, Practising Law Institute, Securities Arbitration (September 2017); Non-Attorney Representatives – Do They Present a Clear & Present Danger to the Integrity of FINRA Arbitration, Association of the Bar of the City of New York, New York, N.Y. (May 2017); Arbitrator Disclosures: Requests for Additional Information, The Neutral Corner, FINRA Dispute Resolution, Vol. No. 4 (December 2016); Ethical Implications of the Phantom Designation of Expert Witnesses in FINRA Securities Arbitration Proceedings, Practising Law Institute, Securities Arbitration (September 2016); Definition of a FINRA Customer: To Be or Not To Be – That Is the Ultimate Question, Practising Law Institute, Securities Arbitration (July 2015); Discovery in FINRA Arbitration, The Neutral Corner, FINRA Dispute Resolution, Vol. No. 2 (2015); FINRA Six-Year Eligibility Rule 12206: The Purchase Date is Often Not the Triggering Occurrence or Event Giving Rise to the Claim, PIABA Bar Journal, Volume 20, No. 1 (September 2013); All Public Arbitrator Panels: A More Level Playing Field, Practising Law Institute, Securities Arbitration (August 2013); Arbitrator Challenges Under the FINRA Code of Arbitration Procedure for Customer Disputes, Practicing Law Institute, Securities Arbitration (August 2010); The Mandatory Industry Arbitrator: An Endangered Species on the Precipice of Extinction, Practising Law Institute, Securities Arbitration (August 2009); Sunshine May be the Best Disinfectant for What Ails Securities Arbitration: A Discussion of the 2008 SICA Empirical Study of Fairness, Practising Law Institute, Securities Arbitration  (August 2008); Effective Closing Statements From the Perspective of Counsel for the Customer-Claimant, New York State Bar Association, Securities Arbitration 2007 (November 2007); Essential Principles for Honorable Arbitrators, Practising Law Institute, Securities Arbitration (August 2007); Motions to Dismiss: A Predatory Tactic That Must be Extinguished, Association of the Bar of the City of New York, New York, N.Y. (June 2007); Ethical Standards for Securities Arbitrators: A Statistical Perspective of Potential Partiality (Bias), Practising Law Institute, Securities Arbitration (August 2006); Arbitrator Training in the Securities Dispute Arena, The Review of Securities & Commodities Regulation (January 2005); Discovery Objections Which are Irrelevant, Unduly Burdensome and are Reasonably Calculated to Lead to the Concealment of Admissible Evidence, New York State Bar Association, Securities Arbitration 2004 (October 2004); Model Arbitrator Instructions: Luxury or Emerging Necessity, Practising Law Institute, Securities Arbitration (August 2004); Ethical Considerations in Settlement Agreements, Association of the Bar of the City of New York, New York, N.Y. (June 2004); Examination of the Adverse Broker: Unimpeachable Questions with an Internet Twist, Practising Law Institute, Securities Arbitration (August 2001); On-Line Trading: The New Frontier, Practising Law Institute, Securities Arbitration (July 1999); and NASD Arbitration Discovery Procedures : Knowing Your Customer From the Securities Professional Perspective, American Bar Association, Section of Litigation, Committee on Securities Litigation (August 1995). 

Mr. Caruso is a frequent speaker at various securities-related seminars and events which have included numerous securities arbitration programs at the Practising Law Institute (2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2013, 2010, 2007 and 2004); FINRA Annual Conferences (2018, 2015, 2013 and 2010); FINRA Dispute Resolution Offsite Staff Conferences (2019 and 2017); FINRA Arbitrator Recruitment Events (2018); the Association of the Bar of the City of New York (2017, 2008, 2007, 2005 and 2004); the New York State Bar Association (2007 and 2004); the American Bar Association (2016 and 2008); the North American Securities Administrators Association (1999); and at various law schools including Pace University Law School, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, St. John’s University School of Law, Brooklyn Law School and Seton Hall University Law School.


William “Bill” Binckes is an attorney/hearing officer/arbitrator/mediator who practices in
the New York City region. He has been on FINRA’s arbitration panel for over 25 years
and has served, and is serving, on panels for 130 FINRA cases resulting in 57 publicly
available awards to date. He has served as panel chairperson for a majority of the
cases for which he was selected. Bill has served on a near equal number of cases
involving public customers and cases that do not involve public customers (industry
disputes). He meets the conditions set forth in FINRA’s Code of Arbitration Procedure to
serve as a chairperson or sole arbitrator in cases involving statutory discrimination
claims.

Bill Binckes is a graduate of Brooklyn Law School. He has been on mediation rosters for
FINRA and United States District Court - Eastern District of New York for over 25 years.
He has also been on the panel of hearing officers for the New York State Department of
Education since 1992; and serves on the panel of arbitrators for United States District
Court – Eastern District of New York.

Bill Binckes has not represented parties in any financial industry disputes (FINRA or
NASD); but he has represented parties in arbitration, mediation, hearings, and trials
involving claims related to employment, statutory discrimination, commercial disputes,
and personal injury. He has tried cases to verdict in U.S. District Court, New York State
Supreme Court, and New York City Civil Court.