Some independent member firms of FINRA have managed to land seats on the regulator’s board.

At the regulator’s annual meeting in Washington DC last Thursday, the election of seven new governors was announced together with the approval of several proxy proposals. Three of them came from independent firms.

The newly elected governors will serve as part of its 22-member board. Three of them will be aligned to represent small firms, while one will be designated to mid-sized firms. According to FINRA, its members also voted on approving seven non-binding proxy proposals, which are designed to make the regulator more transparent.

The three small-firm board members who have been elected are Ken Norensberg, managing director of the Luxor Financial Group Inc.; Jed Bandes, president of Mutual Trust Company of America Securities Inc.; and Joel Blumenschein, president of Freedom Investors Corp.

Dennis Ferguson, director of clearing at Sterne Agee Financial Services Inc., has won over another independent challenger and will now serve as the midsized firm representative.

Large-firm candidates included Richard Brueckner, chief executive of Pershing LLC; Seth Waugh, chief executive of Deutsche Bank Securities Inc.; and James Weddle, a managing partner with Edward Jones. They all ran unopposed and were elected to serve two-year terms.

According to a FINRA document, the seven proxy proposals call for FINRA to provide the opportunity for members to have a “say on pay” for high level FINRA officials, disclose executive compensations, grant public access to board meetings, disclose FINRA’s recent investment activities and release an IRS correspondence concerning the NASD's $35,000 member payments amid the 2007 merger with the NYSE regulatory unit. One proposal also requested notifications of any future relationships between FINRA officials and Bernard Madoff firms.

“I look forward to working together to carry out FINRA's important mission of investor protection and market regulation,” said Richard Ketchum, chairman of FINRA in a press release. “On the heels of the financial crisis and the passage of the Dodd-Frank Act, the FINRA Board has a critical role to play in leading the organization going forward."

The newly elected governors are expected to begin their terms immediately.

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