Public Customer Arbitrations

Over the years that I have defended financial advisors and their firms, I have frequently spoken and written about ways to avoid the risk of being sued. I prepared a guidebook a couple of years ago that detailed some common sense approaches to risk avoidance. I have updated that guidebook to take into account new

FINRA recently warned that firms could face disciplinary action if they enter into settlement agreements that bar customers or former employees from reporting wrongdoing at the firm.  Although FINRA recognized that confidentiality provisions were acceptable, it noted that they have to be written in such a way to authorize the individual to contact FINRA or

FINRA proposed amendments to the organization’s arbitration code would tighten the definition of “public” arbitrator for FINRA arbitration purposes.

In a release, FINRA said the proposed rule changes would provide that a person who worked in the financial industry “for any duration” during his or her career would always be classified as a non-public arbitrators. 

As a result of a couple high profile awards that were overturned because of issues with the arbitrators, FINRA has vetted its pool of arbitrators and has instituted new procedures to review arbitrators. Should you feel any better that this has happened?

Having defended broker-dealers and registered representatives over 16 years, I have, at times,

Both the industry and customers liked FINRA arbitration because it was a relatively cost effective dispute resolution forum.  With FINRA Notice to Members 13-21 and effectively doing away with having an industry person on the panel, FINRA has just made arbitration more expensive for everyone.

Without any industry presence on the panel, both customers and

In the 17 plus years of defending broker-dealers in FINRA arbitrations, I and my clients have relied upon the fact that at least one arbitrator would have industry experience.  In my experience, having that presence did not create an unfair advantage for the firm.  Instead, it provided the panel with a knowledgeable resource that would

idea.jpgThe North American Securities Administrators Association on behalf of state securities regulators, following 37 members of Congress, recently asked the SEC to exercise its authority under Dodd-Frank and do away with mandatory arbitration agreements.  Consumer groups have also jumped into this fray.

Does this signal the beginning of the end of arbitration clauses in

buyholdsell.jpgIn the years that I have defended broker-dealers and investment advisors from customer-initiated complaints, a common theme has emerged.  The bulk of the complaints seem to come from older clients.  Unfortunately, the aging baby boomers may exacerbate this issue.

In a recent Investment News article, Mary Beth Franklin reported on a recent study reflecting that