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FINRA Names Berry Head of Arbitration

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The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority announced Thursday that Richard W. Berry will replace outgoing Linda Fienberg as head of the self-regulator’s dispute resolution.

Berry, a longtime FINRA executive, will report directly to FINRA’s CEO Richard Ketchum, and will start as executive vice president and director of FINRA’s arbitration unit on Dec. 1. Fienberg is retiring on Nov. 30.

Berry joined FINRA’s predecessor, the National Association of Securities Dealers, in 1995 as head of Dispute Resolution’s Los Angeles satellite office and was later promoted to director of case administration in NASD’s New York City office in 2001.

In his current role as senior vice president, Berry oversees FINRA Dispute Resolution’s four regional offices — New York, Boca Raton, Chicago and Los Angeles — and the New York Case Administration unit.

“Rick is an effective and thoughtful leader who brings a fresh perspective at a crucial time as we build the future of the forum,” Ketchum said in a statement. “We are fortunate to have someone who throughout his career with FINRA has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to ensuring that our forum provides the highest level of service to the investors and other parties who use it.”

FINRA formed in late July a 13-member Arbitration Task Force to consider possible enhancements to its securities arbitration forum to improve its transparency, impartiality and efficiency.

Ketchum told ThinkAdvisor in an interview at the time that FINRA assembled the task force to “take a fresh look” at the arbitration process.

He said that FINRA continues to hear “criticisms” of the arbitration process “from both sides” — from the industry as well as from investor advocates.

Berry began his career practicing law in San Francisco, and is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara and Hastings College of the Law. He is a member of the California Bar.

— Check out FINRA’s ‘Total Warfare’ Against Brokers in Arbitration on ThinkAdvisor.