The FINRA Board of Governors election results are in. There were three vacancies among the 10 seats reserved for industry representatives: one Large, one Mid-Size, and one Small Firm Governor. John Thiel, head of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, who ran unopposed, won the Large Firm Governor Seat. Joe Romano, president of Romano Wealth Management, won the Small Firm Governor Seat. And, interestingly, Brian Kovack, president and co-founder of Kovack Securities Inc., won the Mid-Size Governor Seat.
Additionally, as reported by Bernice Napach of ThinkAdvisor, two new governors were appointed to the FINRA board. Kathleen Murphy, president of personal investing at Fidelity Investments, was appointed as an industry board governor. Randal Quarles, managing partner and co-founder of the Cynosure Group, was appointed as a public governor.
Kovack’s win stands out as somewhat of a coup, having defeated the FINRA-nominated candidate to represent mid-size firms FINRA’s Board. As we reported last month, with credit to Melanie Waddell of ThinkAdvisor, Kovack ran a “Dissident” campaign, calling for “immediate reforms” to FINRA’s arbitration system, the exam process, and U4 disclosures. Given Kovack’s victory last week and presence on FINRA’s Board for the next three years, we should expect to see proposals – or at least discussions – on reforming FINRA’s arbitration process, exams, and U4 disclosures going forward.