The attorneys at the Krause & Kinsman Law Firm represent individuals who have been defrauded or mislead by a financial advisor or stockbroker. Unlike most legal claims, which are traditionally settled in a court of law, many investment and brokerage agreements require disputes to be resolved through FINRA arbitration. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is the financial industry’s self-regulating body; it provides arbitration services to resolve disputes between investors and brokers.
Our firm puts investors on an equal playing field against large financial institutions. Although there is not a trial in front of a jury, attorney advocacy plays a very important role in making sure a client’s position is established and supported. Arbitration occurs in front of a panel of either one or three arbitrators selected by the parties. The panel member(s), once selected, then read the pleadings filed by the parties, listen to the arguments, consider the evidence presented, and then make a binding decision or award. A binding decision means that all parties must abide by the decision of the panel, unless it is successfully challenged in court within the legal timeframe.
On average, the arbitration process can take around a year from the time the case is filed to the time an award is given. During that year there are specific steps we must take in order to recover on your behalf. Prior to the arbitration hearing, we may discuss settlement negotiations with the other side, or FINRA may also assist in facilitating a mediation session.
- “Statement of Claim” – a claim, the Statement of Claim, will be filed with FINRA that specifies the facts to your case and what award or remedy you are seeking.
- Defendant Answers – after we file your claim the defendant broker or brokerage firm must be served with your claim. After serving the defendant, they have 45 days to respond. The defense will allege their own set of facts, deny any of ours, and allege any defenses. The defense may also raise their own claims or bring in other parties who are relevant to the dispute.
- Arbitrator Selection – after both sides have filed their initial pleadings (claims and answers) we will receive a list of arbitrators who we can choose from. Our attorneys will do an investigation in to the potential arbitrators in order to find the right arbitrator(s) for your position. We desire arbitrators who are impartial and fair to your position. Then, we will select the arbitrator(s) along with the defense.
- Prehearing Conferences – once the arbitrator(s) has been selected, we will have a phone conference with the defense and arbitrator to pick dates for the hearing(s) and resolve any preliminary issues we may have.
- Discovery – the discovery process is much different than a traditional civil case. FINRA arbitration discovery allows both sides to exchange certain documents and information before the hearing, depending on the facts to your case. Usually, however, depositions and interrogatories are not allowed. If during the discovery phase both sides cannot come to a settlement, we will proceed to the Hearing.
- Hearing – at the hearing, the panel of arbitrators and parties will meet in person. The arbitrators will hear both parties’ arguments, review the pleadings, and consider the oral and documentary evidence provided. As the claimant, you have the right to provide oral testimony and any documents that are relevant to proving your claim. Our attorneys will work hand-in-hand with you to provide the most advantageous claims to your position.
- Decision/Award – after the hearing, the panel members deliberate the facts and issues to your case. After they come to a conclusion, they will render a decision called an award.
If you believe you have been defrauded, misled, or taken advantage of by a financial representative or broker, call our offices immediately. When you have been financially taken advantage of, we believe you do not need to be burdened by more financial responsibility. Our firm will advance all expenses for your case and protect your rights. We don’t get paid unless you get paid. Call us today for a free consultation. Your hard-earned money deserves to be put back in to your pocket.