FINRA provides the only venue for financially injured or wronged investors to seek redress and compensation from and between investors, security firms, and registered representatives. It is the largest and most active arbitration forum for the resolution of claims in the securities industry. A total of 72 hearing venues exist and include the entire United States, and Europe: London. If you reside in South Florida, Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, or West Palm Beach, the office in Boca Raton is the closest location for an arbitration proceeding. In arbitration a panel of three arbitrators is selected by the litigants. These three arbitrators serve as a panel to hear the dispute and ultimately resolve with an award... or a judgment of no award The prompt and efficient resolution of claims and disputes is the guiding mantra or principal behind the arbitration proceedings. Most disputes are resolved within the broker house; that is the brokerage firm and you will often resolve the matter without resorting to arbitration. These types of informal resolutions are most recommended due to the costs of arbitration. However if you feel your claim for broker misconduct, or a fraudulent act by an investment advisor has not been addressed satisfactorily, then you will retain an attorney to litigate the matter in arbitration.
Arbitration decisions are final, that is they cannot be appealed. The judicial resources provided to litigants in court, either state or federal, are not available to most disputes arise between a financial advisor, stockbroker, and an investor. Nonetheless there are procedures whereby you can litigate your matter in federal court outside of the arbitration proceedings but these are extremely expensive and time-consuming. Within the industry over 80% of the initial claims are resolved satisfactory without resorting to arbitration. Arbitrations resolve in a 60% or higher ratio of wins by investors against stockbrokers so the likelihood of prevailing against the stockbroker is statistically high.
What most claimants are interested in however are maximizing their recoveries and that only comes from a well conducted and aggressive position during the dispute resolution process. Arbitrations like courtroom litigations often are won by the most experienced litigator and the most prepared party. An alternative of mediation is also available on a volunt ary basis. Mediation means the decision of the mediator is final and not appealable. That is a fundamental difference between arbitration in the conventional sense and mediation. Mediation is a less formal procedure and lends itself towards resolution and accommodation. Arbitration is more formal; and is only undertaken, wisely, after all other avenues of dispute resolution have been exhausted.