On Thursday, November 1st, 2012, FINRA Dispute Resolution issued guidance to attorneys who represent investors and those who represent non-FINRA investment advisers as to the availability of the arbitration and mediation services of the FINRA forum to resolve their disputes.
FINRA, The Wall Street funded watchdog, has long acted as the arbitration system in which investors and securities brokerages could, and were often forced by contract, to settle their legal disputes. However, until now, whether that system was open to registered investment advisers and individual investors was dubious and unclear.
Despite the fact that using FINRA arbitration might be more cost effective than going to court, most investment advisers are opposed to the changes. David Tittsworth, executive director of the Investment Adviser Association questioned the ruling, noting that there are few registered investment adviser account agreements requiring clients to forgo court and instead arbitrate any disputes.
Those favoring the changes say that using FINRA will be more cost effective than going through the expensive process of court and that for those investment adviser contracts which currently require arbitration, FINRA offers a much better financial deal than other arbitration services.
While the guidance provides some clarity as to how lawyers and investors can proceed, one thing to note is that FINRA does not regulate investment advisers. Therefore, FINRA can only do so much. Even with a ruling that goes against an investment adviser, unlike rulings against brokers, FINRA lacks the authority to suspend the adviser for failure to pay.
Carlson Law Firm is reviewing potential claims against investment advisers. To speak with an attorney regarding your, please call Carlson Law Firm 619-544-9300 for a free consultation.