Florida Securities Arbitration Attorneys at Hanley Law, PLLC
If you have investments with a financial corporation or brokerage firm, it’s important to monitor your investments to ensure they are being handled according to your agreement with the broker. If you suspect that some fraudulent activity might be going on, including any activity you didn’t consent to, you might want to consider resolving the issue through arbitration. Arbitration is how the majority of disputes in the securities industry are resolved (as opposed to a traditional courtroom trial) because it is a quick and inexpensive way to solve complicated concerns.
The process will typically take anywhere between 12-14 months from the time the claim was filed, but the timeframe will vary depending on certain factors (# of involved parties, complexity of issues, personal schedules, volume of necessary discovery) and can be expedited in special circumstances (due to medical concerns or age). The first step is to file a Statement of Claim with FINRA. This will include the details of the dispute, including identifying the Claimant (who filed the claim) and Respondent (who the claim is against), and the type of damages requested. The Claimant must also file an Arbitration Submission Agreement and pay a filing fee, which depends on the amount of the claim, number of discovery motions, number of hearing sessions and any postponements. Next the claim gets served to the respondent(s), who then file an “answer” which specifies any relevant facts and outlines their defense.
After the answer is received, the arbitrator selection process begins. The Claimant and Respondent are provided lists of arbitrators (generated from FINRA’s Neutral List Selection System) and get the opportunity to evaluate their potential arbitrators and eliminate those they don’t want on their case. Depending on the dollar amount of the damages requested and parties involved, 1-3 arbitrators may be assigned. Next, you will have a prehearing conference with all parties involved including the appointed arbitrators to determine the timelines for discovery, briefing & motions, and evidentiary hearing dates.
After all discovery and any motions have been filed it is time for the actual hearing, which is similar to a normal trial where the Claimant will try and prove their claim and the Respondent will try to defend their position. The hearing will typically include testimony from involved parties and any witnesses, and reviewing any evidentiary documents. After the hearing arbitrators will then deliberate and render their decision of award, which is issued within 30 days. There is no appeals process offered through FINRA, but district courts do have the power to overturn an arbitration award under certain circumstances. Brokerage firms & brokers then have 30 days to pay you, or they risk suspension by FINRA.
This is a highly simplified version of the securities arbitration process, intended to give a general overview of how to collect damages through arbitration. To learn more or to have your case evaluated for free by legal experts, please contact The Hanley Law.