The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority has reconstituted its board of governors, adding three new members and re-appointing three others.
The new members, elected on Monday at FINRA's annual meeting, will begin their terms immediately.
Kevin Carreno, the general counsel at Orlando, Fla.-based International Assets Advisory, was elected as a representative of small firms, defined as those with 150 registered employees or fewer.
In his bid for a spot on FINRA's board, Carreno articulated a platform of easing the burden of oversight for small financial firms, which he argued are disproportionately harmed by mismanagement at the regulatory body.
"Every day small firms are impacted by the lack of industry experience of the staff," Carreno said in a mission statement explaining his candidacy. "Small firms are detrimentally affected by restrictions on their growth and ability to raise capital. Arbitrary rule interpretations, unreasonable enforcement actions resulting in fines and overly burdensome regulations continue to drive up costs for small firms."
Carreno also argued that FINRA has evolved into "a surrogate for the SEC and other government regulatory agencies dedicated mostly to justifying its own existence for the benefit of its highly compensated staff."
Carreno beat out Stephen Kohn, president and CEO of Stephen A. Kohn & Associates, and Dock David Treese, vice president and chief compliance officer at Treese Financial Services Corp., to win his seat on FINRA's board.
W. Dennis Ferguson, executive vice president and director of Clearing, Sterne, Agee & Leach, has joined the board to represent mid-size firms. He ran unopposed.
Seth Waugh, CEO of Deutsche Bank Americas, was elected to represent large firms, defined as those with 500 or more registered employees. His candidacy was also unopposed.
Of the appointed members, FINRA renewed the term of Mark Casady, chairman and CEO of LPL Financial, who represents the independent dealer and insurance sectors. Additionally, public governors Richard Pechter and Joel Seligman also saw their terms renewed.
Under FINRA's bylaws, governors serve terms of three years, and cannot serve more than two terms consecutively. FINRA's board has 22 seats, held by 11 public governors and 10 industry governors, with the remaining spot held by FINRA's CEO, Richard Ketchum.
A spokeswoman for FINRA declined to comment on the issues that the new board will address ahead of the release of a formal agenda, but the organization has been dealing with a number of items that seem likely to command the attention of the board.
For instance, FINRA is at the center of a heated debate in Washington as it advocates for legislation that would empower the SEC to appoint a self-regulatory organization to handle examinations of investment advisers. The bill pending in the House that would give the SEC that authority does not expressly name FINRA as the organization to assume that role, but many backers of the measure argue have argued that it is the most logical choice, as it already oversees broker-dealers.
The organization also recently enacted a new set of "suitability" rules that have the potential to dramatically increase the number of enforcement actions regulators pursue.
Additionally, FINRA is proposing a 25% increase in the fees that it collects from its members, a proposal that has encountered widespread opposition from industry members.
The proposed fee increase comes amid a deep pool of red ink at FINRA, which reported a loss of $84 million in net income in 2011.
Kenneth Corbin writes for Financial Planning.