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Update - August 2018
August 10, 2018

President's Perspective

So here’s what I was thinking.

Our annual conference should have a mix of topics that included issues its members confront routinely as well as an array of subjects of a somewhat broader and more contemporaneous appeal to add a bit of a spark. I believe we accomplished that.

Further, since the conference was in Washington, D.C., it should not only have had a healthy representation of member/expert presenters, but should draw upon the vast resources of eminent lawyers, regulators and especially former prosecutors and regulators who would freely speak their minds. And I think we did that too.

And finally, the conference needed to convey to its members not only that SER is a valuable source of knowledge, networks and friendship, but is a dynamic organization that will be what the preponderance of its members want it to be. And while the results of the survey are not complete, I believe we began that process as well..

In short, if you didn’t attend the conference, here’s what you missed. 

Rick Berry, FINRA’s Executive Vice President and Director of Dispute Resolution joined SER’s own George Friedman, FINRA’s former Executive Vice President and Director of Dispute Resolution to discuss the progress of existing and new FINRA initiatives. This is a conference staple that traditionally was co-chaired by Rick Ryder who has passed his torch to George.

Jordan Maglich, Esq., creator of the PonziTracker blog and a contributor to Forbes, joined SER’s Stuart Ober on a panel discussion of Ponzi schemes and the obligations of brokers and investment advisors to conduct reasonable due diligence.

In a comprehensive and compelling presentation, Professor Arthur Laby, the Co-Director of the Rutgers Center for Corporate Law and Governance, traced the history of fiduciary standards and provided a comprehensive analysis of the newly proposed SEC regulation that will require brokers to act in their clients’ best interests and the proposed interpretation for investment advisors. These proposals are already under attack.

Steve Crimmins, recognized as the 2017 Securities Regulation Lawyer of the Year for New York City was joined by Paul Kisslinger, Assistant Chief Litigation Counsel for the Enforcement Division of the SEC, to discuss not only what makes a good expert, but spent much of their time addressing specific questions about difficult situations faced by experts.

SER’s Ross Tulman, Peter Bulgar and Stan Meyerson provided a concise and thorough overview of damage calculations in a variety of circumstances.  Member comments were highly favorable.

Historically, one of the most popular sessions is on best practices where SER panelists provide their views on practical business and practice issues facing experts. This year’s panel, included Jerry DeNigris, Alan Besnoff and Bob Lawson who ably led the give and take and provided sound advice.

Paul Pelletier, the former Deputy Chief of the Fraud Section of the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice and Robertson Park, who also worked in the Criminal Division of DOJ, traced the evolution of anti-money laundering laws and their application.

Pelletier was also the keynote speaker at our Friday dinner.  With vast experience prosecuting drug lords, leading health-care fraud strike teams, investigating AIG and prosecuting Stanford Financial Group, Pelletier gave a gripping account of his frustration at the reluctance of the DOJ during of the Obama administration to prosecute major bank executives for financial crimes.  

And that wasn’t all. David Keough, Carrie Wisniewski, Jerry DiNigris, Elizabeth Falk and Craig Murray rolled out the Public Relations Committee plan to begin advertising SER and its website in the Securities Arbitration Commentator and discussed the use of advertising and direct participation at industry and legal group functions to raise our visibility in the securities industry.

Early results from our survey indicate that approximately 90 percent of our members believed the conference program was either extremely or very helpful and those percentages included members who did not attend this year. Approximately 95 percent of members rated the conference as excellent or very good and believed the value for money was excellent or very good.

Since I last served on the Board three years ago, some nine of the twelve Board members have turned over to allow new leadership.The new Board has fresh ideas and innovative approaches on how to connect with its members to make SER a better resource. If there is a direction you would like to take the organization or a conference idea, call or e-mail me, David Keough, the President-Elect, or any Board member.

And finally, this year four of the five new SER members attended the conference and their experience was enhanced by Jack Herrmann who graciously took it upon himself to host a dinner and who with Richie Leisner, hosted a breakfast for our new colleagues. SER could not have better mentors.

And with your help, next year can be even better!

Respectfully, Gordon Yale, President


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Next year's Annual Meeting & Conference August 2nd & 3rd, 2019 Saint Paul Hotel, Saint Paul, Minnesota.


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