The financial market of today is a complicated place and easy for one to become lost. Often times investors rely upon the experience of financial advisors, financial brokers and financial brokerage firms in the management of their money, however sometimes investors can be led astray. Sometimes this is purely accidental, while in other instances, fraud and wrongdoing are clearly at play.
Investors who have been misled or otherwise wronged by the broker or brokerage firm deserve the opportunity to present their case on the equal playing field. Buchanan Williams & O’Brien investment fraud lawyers who understand the complex natures of securities law can provide that high level of legal representation. Our attorneys have years of experience successfully fighting America’s large financial institutions on behalf of the investors we represent.
What is FINRA?
FINRA is the acronym for the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, formally known as the National Association of Securities Dealers, or NASD. FINRA regulates securities firms, as well as securities professionals, in the United States. FINRA has authority over 4,580 brokerage firms, 162,850 branch offices, and 630,695 registered securities representatives. See http://www.finra.org/.
Why Does an Investor Claimant Have to Bring a Claim with FINRA?
The overwhelming majority of claims investors have against their securities firm and/or securities professionals are adjudicated through the FINRA arbitration process, rather than in civil court. This is because the agreements investors assigned to open a securities account with a firm and/or security professional (oftentimes called registered representatives) provide that FINRA arbitration is exclusive means by which disputes arising under the agreements are decided.
How FINRA Arbitrations Work
As mentioned above, the financial services industry, most investment agreements require disputes to be resolved through FINRA arbitration. As the financial industry’s self-regulating body, FINRA provides arbitration services to resolve disputes between investors and brokers.
Listed below is a general chain of events for a typical arbitration proceeding.
- A statement of claim is filed by the investor with FINRA. Here, the investor agrees to be bound by FINRA’s rules.
- After this brokerage firm or other responsible parties may file an answer and defend the claim. These parties have 45 days in which to do so.
- After the 45-day period has elapsed, discovery and other procedures depending on the specific facts of the case occur. At this point in time, FINRA may ask for a mediation session.
- After all of this, you arrive at the arbitration hearing. Here, the claimant presents testimony and evidence to prove the allegations in the Statement of Claim.
- The panel of arbitrators (3) will make a decision that is binding and final.
The FINRA arbitration process can be expensive and time-consuming. However, with experienced counsel guiding you, the difficulty can be minimized as much as possible and the result can be the recovery of some or all of what you have lost as a result of someone else’s wrongdoing.
For insurance disputes or advice on how to handle questions regarding insurance disputes, contact Buchanan Williams & O’Brien today. Our firm has 40 years of experience helping clients solve problems, and can help you with your trust or will lawsuit.