How is FINRA arbitration different than a lawsuit in court? If you have a dispute with your stockbroker or brokerage firm, you typically cannot bring that claim in court. Rather, you will have to pursue the claim in mandatory, binding arbitration before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, known as FINRA.
At the time you hired your broker, you were given many documents to sign, including a mandatory arbitration agreement that was contained within the customer account opening documents. Essentially, this provision means that you have waived your right to go to court and you must bring your claim in FINRA arbitration. Attorney Chad Kohler explains how your arbitrator or arbitrators are selected in the video below.
FINRA arbitration is different than court in many different ways. The case won’t be in front of a judge or jury; instead, it will be heard in front of an arbitration panel consisting of one to three individuals depending on the size of your claim. The arbitration panel is made up from a pool of professionals from all backgrounds. They might be lawyers or they might not be. They will listen to the testimony and evidence presented by both sides before reaching a decision. The panel’s decision is referred to as an award and it is final and binding. The FINRA arbitration process is streamlined and generally, is faster than going to court. If you win an arbitration award, it is generally paid to you within 30 days after the award is issued so long as the responsible party is still in the brokerage business.
There are only very few circumstances in which an arbitration award can be challenged as opposed to court cases that may be subject to years of appeals. Because it is a faster process, the costs associated with bringing a case are often much lower than court cases.
The broker or brokerage firm will most certainly have an experienced and sophisticated securities lawyer defending them. It is important that you have an experienced investment fraud arbitration attorney who knows the ins and outs of FINRA arbitration on your side protecting your interests and fighting for your rights. A lawyer who may be very experienced in other types of civil trial work but who does not have the extensive experience in representing investors against brokerage firms will face a big uphill battle to learn the law in this area and the procedures of FINRA arbitration.
You can learn more about the FINRA arbitration process by exploring our website and if you have a case against your broker or brokerage firm, contact us for a free consultation. Whatever you decide, hire an attorney with substantial experience in this area of the law in order to level the playing field in your fight against the securities industry to recover your losses caused by investment misconduct.
You can also learn more about the difference between FINRA Complaints and FINRA Arbitrations by watching this video from attorney Courtney Werning.