In many cases, brokerage firms require clients to sign agreements that any claims against the firm or its agents must be settled in arbitration. In cases such as this, you are legally bound to that arbitration clause. Even in cases in which there is no arbitration clause, you may choose arbitration to settle your claim, rather than a lawsuit. The FINRA (formerly NASD) and the NYSE both allow for either option to resolve claims.
Arbitration is different from a traditional lawsuit in that the proceedings are decided by impartial arbitrators who have experience and knowledge with securities cases. In a traditional lawsuit, your case would be decided in a courtroom, by a judge, or jury.
The arbitration process can take some time-generally between six months to a year from your initial filing date.
The securities arbitration process begins when you file your claim with the FINRA (formerly NASD) or the NYSE. For their purposes, the party who brings the claim (you) is referred to as the claimant, and the party you bring your complaint against is referred to as the respondent.
Once your claim has been filed, the respondents-the broker and/or other parties named in your claim-have a specified amount of time to file their response addressing the claims you’ve made.
Once the claim and response are completed, the next step in the process is referred to as discovery. During this stage of the process, both claimant and respondent can request information and documentation from the other party that are relevant to the claim.
Once the discovery process is complete, you will have a hearing where both claimant and respondent will have a chance to argue their cases in front of the arbitration panel. This arbitration panel usually consists of three people-two public arbitrators, unaffiliated with the securities industry, and one affiliated arbitrator.
This arbitration panel will listen to arguments from both sides and will make a final, binding judgment as to whether you are entitled to reimbursement for your claims and for any additional damages.
If you or someone close to you believes you have been a victim of securities fraud, please call our securities arbitration claims attorneys today to speak with an experienced securities fraud lawyer. We have helped hundreds of people just like you recover their money in securities arbitrations. We can help you determine whether you have a claim and then fight to get your money back.