After waiting more than a year for face time with the NASD, a dissident group finally got the opportunity to air its grievances. Problem is, now it's required to keep quiet about the meeting.

The NASD Dissidents Grassroots Movement (NDGM), an affiliation of small independent firms looking for a larger voice in the huge NASD organization, sat down with NASD members January 31. But a precondition of the meeting was that the group members make no substantive comments about what transpired behind the closed doors. NDGM also agreed not to identify any participating NASD members.

The dissidents hope the meeting will be the foot in the door for their main issues: the NASD's alleged lack of objectivity, its nominating policies for board members and potential adjustments to its broker investigation policies.

Bill Singer, founder of NDGM and a Registered Rep contributor, said the meeting was “collegial” and lasted three hours.

“We felt the NASD conducted itself in good faith and appreciated the tremendous amount of work we put into the meeting,” says Singer, who is also a partner in the New York-based law firm of Gusrae, Kaplan & Bruno.

The NDGM is currently waiting to hear back from the NASD about a follow-up. The vow of relative silence is something the group is willing to abide, so long as things continue to move forward. “We've been exceptionally patient while waiting for that first meeting,” Singer says. “We're not going to muzzle ourselves, but we certainly want to keep things on the level.”

In the end, this discussion, like so many meetings, left the major NDGM members simply looking forward to the next one.

“It's just a matter of them hearing us out, and I feel that they did that,” says Daniel Roberts, founder of San Francisco-based investment firm Roberts & Ryan and one of NDGM's three representatives at the meeting. “The key meeting is the next one, where we find out what they took from the first meeting.”