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Filings Up, Staffing Increases Proposed, NASD-DR to Relocate?

According to representatives of the two forums, new filings are up and are staying up. At the New York Stock Exchange, they surged 41% during 2001 and were especially high in the final quarter of the year. That increased level of activity has continued in the first two months of the year, as new filings are up almost 150% from the same period last year. Average turnaround time is still under one year at the Exchange and we understand that, despite a plan to increase arbitrator honorariums that is in the works, the Exchange has no current plans to raise its fees. Ironically, this willingness on the part of the NYSE to subsidize its arbitration program used to be the basis for accusations that its program was biased towards the industry. Today, the Exchange offers a far less expensive alternative to investors seeking arbitration.

NASD Dispute Resolution also experienced a continued increase in new filings during the first two months of 2002, down a bit from the 24% growth pace of last year, but still around 14-15% higher than the first two months of 2001. NASD-DR plans to add administrative and attorney staff in various regional offices to deal with the increased volume and is reviewing its physical space needs. In New York, it is expected that the headquarters and regional staff, now located at 25 Broad Street, will relocate early next year to the Liberty Plaza building where other NASD departments are housed.

On the rule proposal side, NASD-DR will be looking to reinvigorate its six-year eligibility changes, currently on file with the SEC and awaiting approval.


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