Two vie in runoff for Finra small firm advisory board

Deadline for ballots in race between Stephen Hart and Myles Edwards is Monday

Dec 13, 2013 @ 12:31 pm

By Mark Schoeff Jr.

Finra should design compliance programs that take into account the size and resources of the broker-dealers it oversees, according to one of two candidates for the regulator's Small Firm Advisory Board.

“Regulation should not be one-size fits all,” said Stephen Hart, chief compliance officer at Robotti & Company.

“I would encourage a closer look at firm sizes and [tailor] regulation that is targeted at them,” he said. “It's paramount to protect our clients' interests through appropriate regulation.”

Mr. Hart would have a platform for promoting his views, if he wins a runoff election for the New York Region seat on the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. advisory board. He is running against Myles Edwards, chief compliance officer and general counsel at Constellation Wealth Advisors.

The nearly 1,000 eligible small-firm broker-dealers in the area, which includes New York City and nearby Nassau and Suffolk counties, must cast their ballots by phone or electronically by Monday. A small firm is defined as one that has 150 or fewer registered representatives.

The original four-candidate race ended in a dead heat between Mr. Hart and Mr. Edwards. The winner will serve a three-year term beginning next month.

“It's pretty interesting,” said Mr. Hart, 34, who was a chief administrative officer and vice president at BlackRock Inc. before joining Robotti. “What are the chances of it being an exact tie?”

Mr. Edwards is the incumbent on the advisory board.

In a statement on Finra's website, he said he would provide a “practical and responsible approach to serving small firms.”

“Self-regulation and business practicability can be compatible, and I would seek to assist in the process whereby rules are formulated collaboratively, thus strengthening the relationship between the member firm, the district and Finra itself,” Mr. Edwards, who didn't respond to an interview request, said in the statement.

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