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April 30, 2000

General Counsel Resigns From Small Firms Group

By William Hoffman

Bill Singer, regulatory partner at the New York law firm, Singer Frumento, has resigned as general counsel to the Independent Broker Dealer Association.

Singer told Traders Magazine that he tendered his resignation on March 1 in a dispute with IBDA President Alan Davidson over the demutualization of Nasdaq.

Davidson has vociferously opposed the current demutualization plan as a bad deal for small broker dealers. Singer said he favored the plan, with some reservations.

"It would be hypocritical of me to say that the relationship between me and Mr. Davidson remains cordial," Singer said. Davidson did not return several telephone calls seeking comment. But an e-mail question sent by this reporter to an e-mail address used by Alan Davidson, solicited the following return message:

Singer's resignation is "old news," the e-mail response stated. "Bill did a lot of good work for IBDA. IBDA was there before him. IBDA will be there after him. We wish Bill well."

Tip of Iceberg

Singer did not state whether Davidson's reputedly brusque manner contributed to his resignation.

Davidson waged a campaign berating the demutualization plan, sending messages and e-mails to people with such headlines as "The Betrayal." Davidson described three board members who disagreed with him as "the Three Stooges."

Singer noted that his name remains listed with three others on the IBDA Web homepage as one of the group's candidates for election to the board of governors of the National Association of Securities Dealers.

The IBDA homepage includes a link to a press release announcing a slate of IBDA candidates for the board election. The release is dated Nov. 14, 1995.

"I have complained to IBDA that they delete all reference to me on their website and in their materials, and I'm getting very frustrated with their unwillingness to do so," Singer said.

Election Process

Dan Jamieson, editor-in-chief of Registered Representative magazine in Irvine, Calif., said IBDA should also remove the listing of his name as one of its candidates for the NASD board of governors. The election in question happened more than a year ago, Jamieson noted.

Jamieson also criticized the NASD's election process. Announcement of candidates for the NASD board elections, which should have been made in September 1999, did not take place until February 2000, he said.

"You don't run an election that way unless you have one of those parliamentary systems where the leaders decide when they'll run," Jamieson said.

The NASD did not respond to a request for comment.