Where Are FINRA Arbitrations Held?
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The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) creates rules and regulations for professionals in the financial industry. FINRA also creates pathways for the victims of bad financial advising, negligent brokerage, and other financial harms to seek compensation for their claims. One of the most popular tools for this is to file a claim for arbitration with FINRA. The FINRA arbitration attorneys at Epperson & Greenidge explain what exactly arbitration through FINRA is, how it works, and where the hearings are held.
What is FINRA Arbitration?
FINRA arbitration hearings are a lot like trials. Instead of going before a judge, the case is heard by an “arbiter” or a panel of 3 arbiters who are all neutral members of FINRA. Instead of having a jury, the arbiters act as both judge and jury, deciding any factual issues as well as the legal issues in your case. Otherwise, the process and results are similar.
The decisions that come out of a FINRA arbitration case are binding, just as if the parties went to court. This is because, in order to get their licenses to practice, financial professionals such as financial advisors or brokers must submit to FINRA’s rules. This includes agreeing to be bound by FINRA decisions. It also means that FINRA has a very wide umbrella of authority which reaches most financial professionals in the US.
FINRA has other options for filing claims against bad brokers and negligent financial advisors as well. If you aren’t seeking compensation or damages for the wrongs you suffered, you may be able to submit a complaint against the financial industry professional, which may result in disciplinary measures. An alternative to filing for arbitration is filing for mediation. In mediation, you and the advisor/broker meet with a neutral third party to discuss your case and work out a solution. However, unlike arbitration, mediation is non-binding. This means the decisions do not have the force behind them and that either party can step away whenever they want, which fails to ensure results. Talk to a FINRA claims lawyer about which option is right for your case.
Where Do They Hold FINRA Hearings?
If you file a FINRA claim, where do you go? Hearings under FINRA’s authority are not typically held in courtrooms at courthouses across the country. Fortunately, they are not held at one, singular FINRA headquarters, either. In fact, there are dozens of locations across the country where FINRA hearings are held. This means you shouldn’t have to travel far to attend your hearing, no matter where you live.
Overall, there are 71 different hearing locations, and each state has at least one location. In most states, the location is in either the state capital or another large city. High population, large states like New York have multiple locations (i.e. Albany, New York City, and Syracuse), whereas states with lower populations have only one (e.g. Anchorage, Alaska). There are also FINRA hearing venues in San Juan, Puerto Rico and another in London, UK.
Because FINRA is a national organization, state lines do not usually affect it. FINRA’s hearing locations are managed on a regional basis, but beyond that, you are not necessarily limited to using the FINRA hearing location in your state. For instance, victims of financial negligence in Southern Georgia may have a long trip to get to Atlanta, but the hearing location in Jacksonville, Florida might be much closer and more convenient.
FINRA is setup to make it easier for investors to file claims, and will generally select the hearing location closest to the investor’s residence. This is different from court where typically an action has to be brought in the county where the defendant is located. Talk to your attorney about which venue is most convenient for you. In some cases, your case may be assigned to a different state’s hearing venue because it is closest. If this is a problem, your lawyer may be able to file to have the venue changed to somewhere else.
The location of your hearing should not affect the decisions FINRA makes. The rules FINRA uses apply nationally (and even internationally, in many cases). This means that differences in state law might not affect your case unless your claim deals with state law. Still, a FINRA hearing in one state can easily apply another state’s laws if the issue in question occurred in that state.
FINRA Arbitration Attorneys Offering Free Consultations
If you or a loved one was the victim of financial harm from a financial advisor or stockbroker, talk to an attorney today. The FINRA claims lawyers at Epperson & Greenidge represent victims of breach of contract, financial negligence, unauthorized trades, and other unsuitable investments. If you suffered financial harm from your investments, you may be entitled to compensation and other damages.
Talk to a FINRA attorney today to see if FINRA arbitration is right for you. While you may be able to file a claim in court instead, arbitration may be more affordable and still has powerful, binding results. For a free consultation on your case, contact our law offices today at (877) 445-9261.