Thursday, September 6, 2018
FINRA recently appointed Jack Ehnes as a public governor. As the CEO of CalSTRS, he helps manage approximately $224 billion in assets.
Although Mr. Ehnes does not seem to have many of the same kinds of conflicts as other Public Governors currently serving on FINRA's governing board, he would not be my pick to represent the interests of public investors. CalSTRs has significant business relationships with entities associated with other board members. To illustrate, take a quick glance at this CalSTRS investment committee report. It shows CalSTRS investing with Bridgewater and Blackstone. Notably, persons affiliated with Bridgewater and Blackstone already serve on FINRA's governing board. CalSTRS likely has significant additional relationships with other large players.
If FINRA is serious about serving as (and not just portraying itself as) an investor protection organization, it should add investor advocates without these entangling business relationships to its board as public governors.