Oh, Happy Days!! Non-Parties in FINRA Arbs May See Relief
The SEC agreed to a proposed change to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority's arbitration rules relating to subpoenas and orders directed towards non-party FINRA members and their associated persons. See Release No. 34-68404; File No. SR-FINRA-2012-041 (December 11, 2012), and http://www.finra.org/Industry/Regulation/RuleFilings/2012/P158171.
These new rules will allow FINRA arbitrators to issue orders for the appearance of witnesses and production of documents instead of subpoenas. Arbitrators will also be able to allow these non-parties the opportunity to object to subpoenas and arbitrator orders of production prior to their implementation. These rules would also institute procedures for the service of motions for subpoenas and arbitrator orders, service of issued, subpoenas and arbitrator orders, and time frames for responding to subpoenas and arbitrator orders.
In short, these new rules have seemingly broad support, and may make the FINRA arbitration process less onerous for non-parties. Although we probably will still hear about non-party complaints regarding appearances and document productions, since no one really likes to be bothered.