FINRA Attorney

Erez Law exclusively represents customers in FINRA arbitrations. We have handled thousands of cases in FINRA Dispute Resolution and have recovered in excess of $150,000,000 for investors in FINRA cases. Erez Law lawyers have tried over 50 cases to award (which is the final judgment or verdict in an arbitration case) and possess the skills and experience to litigate FINRA cases successfully. Investors that have disputes with their brokerage firms are required to bring their claims in FINRA arbitration.

There are a number of different federal and state regulatory agencies that oversee the financial sector, but there are also number Self-Regulatory Organizations, known as SROs. These organizations are non-government agencies with the power to enforce and create industry regulations. The mission of these organizations is to protect investors by establishing rules of ethics and equality.

The largest and perhaps most powerful of these organization is the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). FINRA, like other SROs, is not connected to federal or state governments. It is an independent non-profit organization, and its mission is to protect investors from fraudulent or dishonest practices on the part of finance professionals and promote integrity throughout the market.

Many financial advisor agreements contain a clause that requires investors to use FINRA arbitration proceedings to resolve any disputes. While the arbitration process is not the same as a lawsuit, individuals often seek out the advice and representation of securities fraud lawyers who specialize in FINRA arbitration.

What is FINRA Arbitration?

Arbitration enables two parties to reach a resolution without formal mediation. The process typically includes up to three arbitrators who the investors and advisors in the dispute choose. An arbitrator’s role is to read each side of the case, listen to arguments, explore the evidence, and offer an award or outcome. In FINRA arbitration proceedings, and most other arbitration proceedings, the award is a legally binding and final decision.

The parties can choose to take the decision to court to appeal it if: the arbitrator(s) failed to uphold legal duties; if the arbitrators made the decision because of duress, fraud, or corruption; or if the decision was completely irrational.

Why FINRA Matters

Like most individual investors, you likely depend upon information and advice from your broker or advisor to make sound, informed choices when it comes to managing your investments. To be successful, you need to know that you can trust your broker, as well as the larger firm he or she works for, and you also need to be able to trust the companies that offer investments and securities to individuals.

FINRA understands how important the trust among individual investors, financial professionals, and larger firms, companies, and banks is to the financial industry. They utilize a variety of tools to protect investors from unethical practices by brokers, financial advisors, and firms. In its work, FINRA protects not only individual investors but also the integrity of the market as a whole.

What FINRA Does

FINRA works to achieve its goals in several ways. It sets rules that require brokers to be licensed and undergo testing, and it requires truth in advertising for investments. FINRA also helps to ensure that the securities sold on the market are suitable for individual investors, which is important, as some investors’ situations allow them to take on risky ventures, while other investors have lower thresholds for risk. FINRA also works to make certain that investors have ready access to all the information about the market they need to make an informed decision before they invest.

FINRA’s current oversight encompasses over 600,000 brokers and almost 4,000 firms nationwide. The organization assessed over $95 million in fines last year and secured payment to harmed investors in the amount of almost $150 Million.

What FINRA Can Do for You

FINRA’s requirements for registration and licensing are essential to the industry. They ensure those who work in the financial marketplace have the proper qualifications, and that a broker or firm who engages in fraudulent or untrustworthy behavior can be tracked down and held responsible. Your broker should be registered with FINRA – if he or she isn’t, that should set off a red flag. The law requires firms to register with FINRA as well as individual brokers and advisors.

To find out whether or not your financial advisor is registered or licensed, FINRA offers a free service for investors called BrokerCheck. In addition to telling you whether or not a broker is registered, the service provides investors with background information on brokers and indicates if FINRA has received reports of misconduct or criminal activities.

The FINRA Arbitration Process

Average FINRA arbitration proceedings can take around a year to resolve. Investors must pursue arbitration proceedings through FINRA if their investor arrangement includes a written agreement, if the advisor is a member of FINRA, and if the dispute involves an advisor’s or brokerage firm’s securities business.

The FINRA arbitration process typically includes:

If the claimant receives an award decision from the arbitration proceedings, the respondent must pay or challenge the award within 30 days of receiving the decision. Those who fail to pay an award may face FINRA sanctions.

How FINRA Arbitration Works

If you have a complaint about misconduct or an investment dispute with your broker, after hiring an attorney, the FINRA arbitration process is started by filing a claim statement with its Dispute Resolution department. There are a variety of different forms of misconduct or fraud you may encounter that could lead you to file a claim. An investor’s first step in restitution is filing an FINRA arbitration claim. Examples of common FINRA arbitration claims include:

The arbitration panel reviews pleadings, arguments, and testimonial evidence. Its decision (“award”) is final and binding to all parties. A party may challenge the award in court within the statutorily provided time based on very limited grounds. It’s important to understand that, during a FINRA arbitration, FINRA is not there to help the investor, rather, their role is to be neutral – like a clerk of a local court and to administer the arbitration proceeding.

Other Ways FINRA Helps

BrokerCheck isn’t the only service that FINRA offers investors. The agency provides quite a few other free tools aimed at helping individual investors select a qualified, licensed, and trustworthy broker or advisor.

Some of the other resources that FINRA offers to aid investors in their decision-making are:

How Your Attorney Can Help

The FINRA arbitration process requires precise communication, timeframes, and investigations. Most investors who file a claim against an advisor or advisement firm are not prepared to handle the legal considerations of the claim. An attorney can help claimants identify additional acts of misconduct or fraud, meet documentation submission timeframes, and protect a claimant from defenses against misconduct. Most respondents will hire an attorney to protect their professional interests. Claimants may increase their ability to secure a successful resolution if they retain legal counsel.

Arbitration claims commonly involve negligence, risk misrepresentation, breach of fiduciary or contractual duties, unsuitability, churning, and unauthorized trading. A FINRA attorney at Erez Law who specializes in securities arbitration will protect your rights to relief under FINRA standards. Erez Law will always try to obtain the best settlement possible prior to a final hearing, however, there are cases that cannot be settled and must be tried. Erez Law has a consistent record of trying FINRA cases and obtaining successful results. While we endeavor to obtain a settlement, we are always preparing for the final hearing and will be ready if negotiations are not successful.

As an investor, FINRA’s services are there as an oversight to protect investors, but during arbitration, they act as a neutral venue for investment disputes. Though arbitration is through FINRA, you should have a skilled attorney who understands investment law to guide you through the arbitration proceeding.

Trust Erez Law to help you file a FINRA arbitration claim. We recognize signs of unauthorized trading and other forms of misconduct, and we offer professional legal advice moving forward. Erez Law has a long track record of successful arbitration. Contact our office today to discuss your arbitration claim.

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