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Update - March 2017
April 3, 2017

President's Perspective

Membership renewal time was a breeze this year. I thank all for their prompt renewal. I must also tip my hat to Rick Ryder and his Website Committee, and to Patti Koetting, for their excellent work in upgrading the members’ login area of our website with new features for making and tracking payments for our dues and conference.

The most recent news on our website, though, is our refreshed homepage. If you have not yet seen it, I encourage you to visit. It includes concise descriptions of our history, membership, activities and leadership. It helps visitors find a directory of our members, and the Find An Expert search function. Most importantly, our new homepage now includes our Mission Statement:

SER provides continuing professional education and promotes ethics and integrity among its members while remaining dispute neutral as an organization.

Our mission statement is our guiding light. It helps to remind us of why we are here and what is important for us to accomplish. Having it on the website allows our visitors to understand our purpose and values as a first impression. Many thanks to Bruce Foerster, Hugh Cohen, Jack Herrmann, Richie Leisner, Ross Tulman and Rick Ryder for their thoughtful wordsmithing.

The next step in improving our website will require a group effort. Our Library area contains many resources of use for our members, broken into the categories of Articles; Notable Cases & Other Investment Related Information; Member Related Documents and Past Conference and Annual Meeting Materials. Our Library is already a good resource, but I suspect that we can develop it into an authoritative mine of expert materials. We all have reference materials that we call upon when working on cases. I ask that every member contribute. First, tour the Library to determine which documents that you feel are missing. Once you have identified material to submit, go to the Email members section and send the documents to the Article Submission Coordinator. Then, check in periodically to see whether any other members’ submissions can be of use to you in future cases.  

Respectfully, Jeffery Schaff, President

 

Annual Membership Meeting and Conference

This year's Annual Membership Meeting and Conference will be held at the Union League Club in Chicago on July 28-29. Save the date. Registration will open in May.

LinkedIN

Our LinkedIN page is now up to 89 followers.  If you have not done so already, please log in to LinkedIN, find “Securities Experts Roundtable” and click the Follow button.

         Click here to visit our page on LinkedIN, and to read all of our postings thusfar.

Website Statistics

 

  • ​February 2017: Unique Visitors – 1,172; Number of Visits – 2,125

 
Update - February 2017
March 1, 2017

President's Perspective

One of the most enjoyable parts of being SER’s President is listening to members share anecdotes of how SER benefits them. These discussions fall into many categories, including how SER membership helped to bring them new engagements. These most often come directly as referrals from other members. Other times, they are the result of members posting e-mails to the membership. Since taking the gavel as SER President last summer, I have seen more than 25 cases announced in this fashion. I follow up with those who circulate cases, and consistently note positive feedback both for the member posting the case and the members who throw their hats in the ring. Two of the most active members in this regard offer their perspectives:

“As you know, I think the ability to cross-refer among SER members is a tremendous benefit. The ability to address the entire membership so easily really lends itself to this type of activity. I have obtained at least one engagement as a result of this activity. I am not certain of engagements that others may have obtained as a result of my postings, but I do know that on several occasions responses from my postings have been provided to retaining attorneys. I like being able to provide value to attorneys, even if I am not the most suitable expert, by providing referrals to an expert who may be the right match. Attorneys seem to appreciate that even though I will not be their expert, that I am willing to attempt to assist them in their search. This process seems to be one in which everyone benefits.”  (Alan Besnoff)

“I wanted to take a moment and personally thank all of you who responded back to me last week about the need for an Expert at the last minute. I probably received emails from about seven of you that were interested in working on this case even at the last minute and your timely responses were greatly appreciated. I promptly sent off each of your respective CV’s to the attorney and he was shocked to see how many highly qualified candidates that I presented to him and he couldn't thank me enough. I told him to keep me on his “short list” for his next case and I am sure he will. For the lucky Expert that was retained, and the name will not be revealed, he too was immensely grateful. This was truly a win-win-win scenario for all of us. There will undoubtedly be times for all of us where there is a potential or actual conflict of interest with the respective parties or our scheduling just doesn't permit us to take on a case, or our expertise or knowledge is marginal at best for a particular case. With that said, I see tremendous value in reaching out to my fellow SER members via a group email, such as the one I posted last week, which was my first.”  (Bob Lawson)

The Securities Experts Roundtable is not a listing organization.  That is not what we are about.   Nonetheless, it is gratifying to see members work with one another for mutual benefit and I laud all those who have circulated case announcements to the membership.

Respectfully, Jeffery Schaff, President

Renewals

Annual membership renewals are now due. Once you log in, you will see the "Pay Dues" button on "Your Account" page. Please renew prior to the March 31st deadline to avoid the $100 reinstatement fee for lapsed membership. 

Annual Membership Meeting and Conference

This year's Annual Membership Meeting and Conference will be held at the Union League Club in Chicago on July 28-29. Save the date. Registration will open in May.

LinkedIN

Our LinkedIN page is now up to 88 followers. If you have not done so already, please log in to LinkedIN, find “Securities Experts Roundtable” and click the Follow button.

·         Click here to visit our page on LinkedIN, and to read all of our postings thusfar.

Website Statistics

  • ​January 2017: Unique Visitors – 1,277; Number of Visits – 2,302
  • The Unique Visitors metric was up 23% in 2015 and 10% in 2016
  • The Number of Visits metric was up 23% in 2015 and 30% in 2016

 
Update - January 2017
February 2, 2017

President's Perspective

Last month’s survey generated great feedback. I thank everyone who participated. I recognize that surveys can seem to be a useless distraction in one’s day, but the information is appreciated and put to good use.  When the SER Board of Directors met this month, we reviewed the survey results and referenced its contents in numerous committee reports and Board votes.

In the collective experience of our Board, supported by the survey results, our annual conference is the greatest source of benefit for SER members. At our conferences, attendees learn ways to improve their expert skills and garner valuable practice management tips. Equally valuable, attendance allows our members to enjoy the benefits of camaraderie and networking. Attendance is an investment in one’s expert business, an investment with far more reliable returns than any portfolio could provide.  After discussing the topic with many members, I can assure all that more cases are referred directly between our members than by membership-wide postings through e-mail.  It is a great group to know, share with and learn from.  In order to encourage first-time attendance, the Board has authorized a $100 conference credit to all members attending an SER annual conference for the first time.

The Board also recognizes that arbitration case filings have fallen dramatically over recent years. This makes it more difficult for Associate Members to cross the twenty-retention threshold to achieve Voting Member status. Therefore, the Board authorized a new path for Associate Members to become full Voting Members. In consideration of the fact that the SER annual conference provides expert education, Associate Members who attend three annual SER conferences over a four-year span will be promoted to Voting Member.

Our Board also focused its attention on our website. Our website receives considerable traffic, with 11,462 visitors last year. Based on member feedback, I am confident that our website succeeds in helping our members improve their visibility with the professionals who retain our services. The website is also useful as a resource for our members. In addition to being the place that members pay their dues and register for the annual conference, we have a robust and growing library of resources. If you have not yet visited our newly remodeled library recently, please log in and see the improvements. We will soon be soliciting additional content, and ask that you consider documents that you have to contribute. Our Board is also currently updating the home page, including the addition of a mission statement. Visit www.securitiesexpert.org to track our progress.

Respectfully, Jeffery Schaff, President

 

LinkedIN

Our LinkedIN page is now up to 84 followers.  If you have not done so already, please log in to LinkedIN, find “Securities Experts Roundtable” and click the Follow button.

·         Click here to visit our page on LinkedIN, and to read all of our postings thusfar. 

Website Statistics

  • ​December 2016: Unique Visitors – 989; Number of Visits – 1,971

 
Update - December 2016
December 29, 2016

President's Perspective

As 2016 races to a close, I find myself reflecting on the year.  It was remarkable, in that seeming impossibilities came to fruition. The DOL’s Fiduciary Rule was signed into law, despite opposition firmly committed to unhinging it. The Cubs won the World Series, breaking a curse and the longest dry spell in Major League Baseball. Donald Trump was elected President, although the New York Times assessed his probability of winning at a mere 5% on Election Day morning. Whatever opinions one has of any of these events, we can all agree that they were dramatic.  

For the Securities Experts Roundtable, 2016 was not dramatic in the least. We enjoyed consistently prudent management of our finances. Our annual conference was a smash hit. Our social media presence is now well established, and our website continues to evolve and improve. Personally, I enjoyed these consistent positives and believe that there has never been a better time to be a member of SER. 

Looking forward, it appears that 2017 will continue our trend of consistent positives. This is not an accidental happenstance, but rather the fruits of your Board’s dedicated efforts to enhance the benefits of SER membership. In order to help us better help you, we need your feedback. You recently received a survey designed to help the Board stay abreast of issues important to our members and to find ways to continue the trend of consistent positives. I ask that you complete and respond to the survey with your most candid and insightful feedback by Friday, January 6. Click here to access the survey. Thank you.

Respectfully, Jeffery Schaff, President

 

LinkedIN

Our LinkedIN page is now up to 82 followers.  If you have not done so already, please log in to LinkedIN, find “Securities Experts Roundtable” and click the Follow button.

·         Click here to visit our page on LinkedIN, and to read all of our postings thusfar. When you "share" SER's posts with your network, you help raise our profile!

Website Statistics

  • ​November 2016: Unique Visitors – 983; Number of Visits – 2,062

 
Update - November 2016
November 29, 2016

President's Perspective

Members who participate in the leadership of SER or regularly attend our annual meetings already know that we take the finances of our organization very seriously. Since the financial health and stewardship of SER is a topic of interest to each and every member, I offer the following as an overview for all of our members.

At each of our annual meetings, the Treasurer provides attendees with our Year End Financials. This report provides a snapshot of SER’s financial status. In reviewing them, I believe you will agree that SER is a substantial and well managed organization. Our financial strength did not happen overnight, nor did it happen without considerable care and commitment from a stream of dedicated SER Board members. The key to our stewardship is our processes. Our system is multi-faceted, each critical in its own way:  

  • Ongoing management oversight is provided by the Finance Committee (“FinComm”), which meets quarterly. The FinComm reports and provides recommendations to our Board of Directors. It established and updated a set of Financial Controls that provide procedures and oversight for all facets of our finances. The FinComm is currently chaired by Jack Herrmann.
  • Executive management of SER’s financials is provided by our Treasurer, who attends FinComm and Board meetings. Gerry Guild is SER’s current Treasurer.
  • Daily management of SER’s financials is managed by our Controller. This position is relatively new, and was previously performed by the Treasurer. Patti Koetting is SER’s first Controller, following years of serving as SER’s Treasurer.
  • Checks and balances are provided by the Chairman of our Audit Committee. This is a review of the financials and source documents by a Board member who is not on the FinComm, and is performed once a year. While not technically an “audit”, it adds an additional layer of review to the process. Hugh Cohen is the Chairman of SER’s Audit Committee. 

I offer my sincerest gratitude to Jack, Gerry, Patti, Hugh and all those who have committed such time and dedication to the management of SER’s finances through the years.

If you are not familiar with our Year End Financials report, then I encourage you to pull them off of our website and review them. Start by logging into our website (www.securitiesexpert.org); the Log In button is located at the top-right corner of our homepage. Once you have logged in, the Log In button will turn into a Member Tools button. If you hover your cursor over the Member Tools button, it will become a menu. Click on Library, and then scroll down to the Past Conferences link. By clicking Materials, you can locate the Year End Financials presented at that conference.  While you are in the Library, take a moment to also review its other offerings. It is a resource for our members, and we are continually looking for ways to help it better benefit our membership.

Respectfully, Jeffery Schaff, President

LinkedIN

  • Our LinkedIN page is now up to 79 followers.  If you have not done so already, please log in to LinkedIN, find “Securities Experts Roundtable” and click the Follow button. Click here to visit our page on LinkedIN, and to read all of our postings thusfar.

Website Statistics

  • ​October 2016: Unique Visitors – 976; Number of Visits – 1,951

 
Update - October 2016
October 31, 2016

President's Perspective

Depending on the member and the conversation, you can elicit a wide range of answers to the question of top benefits of SER membership. What you may not know, however, is that the member login portion of our website includes a Benefits tab with specific benefits for SER members. I would like to take the opportunity to throw a spotlight on three particular benefits of membership provided by Securities Arbitration Commentator, all of which I have received positive feedback on.   

Update: ARBchek is a weekly update, summarizing all of the FINRA awards released the prior week. It is sortable and includes the basic information about the parties, attorneys, claim and award. There is also a link to a pdf of the official award. By reading the awards summary each week, I am better able to identify and track award trends. As an SER member, you should be automatically signed up for this benefit. If you are not already receiving the emails, log in and navigate to the benefits page, then click on “View This Week’s Awards” and to find the button for signing up for a free subscription.

Entry in SAC’s awards database is a service to SER members, in which you may provide SAC with the cases in which you provided expert services. SAC will then associate your name with the award, and attorneys searching through SAC’s database will thereafter find your name on those cases even if the official FINRA award did not specifically name you in it. This only applies to cases that have gone to award. I have used this benefit for all of the cases I have worked on and went to award over the past 5+ years, which has led to new engagements by attorneys using SAC’s search services.

Discount on SAC’s Arbitrator Ranking Service allows us to offer our attorney-clients a discount through SAC that they could not avail themselves of without your referral. This discount gives them 25% off of the service if they are not already subscribers, and 10% off if they already are. I value SER member Mason Dinehardt’s description of how this service helps him and his clients:

“The ARBchek Report prepared by SAC provides the information that securities lawyers need in a compact form in order to make arbitrator ranking decisions. The report shows information in a standardized format about each of an arbitrator's awards

SAC's philosophy is to let the lawyer makes his or her own decision with respect to rankings. Its Arbitrator Comparison Report looks for conflicts such as whether two nominated arbitrators have appeared in a previous case together. The comparison report helps to take the Award data and cross-reference it to find useful items to aid in the evaluation. Finally, it limits the analysis by way of putting the information in front of counsel rather than telling them how the arbitrators should be ranked.

Attorneys that have utilized the analysis have found it very useful in providing the essential information needed to let counsel rank the arbitrators more knowledgeably.

In virtually every case where I have arranged for counsel to receive the report from SAC at a discount, attorneys have told me that the report has saved them hours of time in the arbitrator selection process. In short, it was invaluable.”

If you have not done so already, I encourage you to visit the Benefits section of our website and review the benefits that SAC offers. While you are logged into the SER website, please also take the time to check out our newly remodeled Library. It contains many links and documents that you may find helpful, and is open for submissions. More on that next month …

Respectfully, Jeffery Schaff, President

 

LinkedIN

Our LinkedIN page is now up to 71 followers! That is a significant number considering our membership size and over 30% are non-members, typically securities attorneys. If you have not done so already, click here to visit our page on LinkedIN and follow us to read all of our postings thus far. You can also log in to LinkedIN and search “Securities Experts Roundtable” and click the Follow button.

Website Statistics

  • ​September 2016: Unique Visitors – 977; Number of Visits – 1,830